• Signage at height.

    Posted by Hugh Potter on June 21, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    Hey guys,

    One of my larger clients has asked me to look at supplying the signage as in their mocked photos (attached), while I have installed small trays somewhere near this height, I’ve not installed what I imagine will be built letters (we haven’t discussed whether illuminated yet). I don’t think I’d trust any kind of push-fit locators at this height and size of the letter so I’m discounting flat-cut compo or acrylic for the time being. Ali with welded locators may be an option but won’t be fun trying to do all those brass fixing up!

    Does anyone have any images of similar work they’ve carried out at height, ideas and methods of fixing? I’m due a site visit next week where I’ll have access to the terrace and roof, so I’ll have a better idea of what the cladding is then, but I’d like to take some ideas with me.

    Personally, I’d like to make up a box frame on the terrace and roof, with letters attached to that, negating the need for what will be pretty serious access plant/equipment, and hanging off of said access equipment, but it would be nice to be armed with some options.

    Budget generally isn’t a major issue with this client, it just needs doing right, and this is a little out of my comfort zone, with regards to the secure fixing of such letters. particularly on the side of the road, where there looks to be pedestrian access!!

    Oh yes, the quayside location so needs to be a decent material to cope with salt corrosion.

    Hugh Potter replied 9 months, 2 weeks ago 10 Members · 23 Replies
  • 23 Replies
  • Simon Worrall

    June 21, 2023 at 8:42 pm

    All I can suggest, Hugh, is to work off a scaffolding.
    Those boom lifts are pretty scary at that height, and you will do a better more relaxed job from a solid surface.

    • Hugh Potter

      June 21, 2023 at 9:05 pm

      I do prefer scaffold to boom lifts, but I’m considering the time it’s going to take getting all the required gear and signs up 4 or 5 lifts of scaffold!
      If I have my way the signage will be mounted on the roof, Hollywood style!

  • Gary Barker

    June 21, 2023 at 9:17 pm

    We have not long ago installed some built-ups aluminium letters, they have 19mm back trays, and they were fixed with long tech screws through the face of the foamex to cladding, then the letters were fixed through the returns with small screws into the 19mm, worked well.

  • David Hammond

    June 22, 2023 at 3:53 am

    Done these previously as Gary said using a foam PVC back fixed onto the cladding then screwed through the letter in the side.
    Personally, I’d be looking for a sub-contract fitter on that job, there should be plenty in the job to cover it.

    • Karen White

      June 27, 2023 at 3:00 pm

      Nice work David, very posh. 🙂

  • Robert Lambie

    June 23, 2023 at 1:05 am

    Hi Hugh

    Obviously, I am doing this all blind mate, but looking at the job on the whole, it is not over complicated. But the best advice I can give you would be to “Project Manage” the job, and have everything else done by others.

    To simplify what you need first:

    • 3D Stainless steel letters powder coated

    • A cherry picker

    • A two-man installation team for one-to-two full days.

    The 3D letters will need outsourced.

    Look towards the likes of Smiths, Signfab, or Vinnie at 3D Signs for your quotes and turnaround times. They will also be able to best advise you on the type of fixings you need for the substrate you are fitting onto. Give them as much information about the letters and the location they are going.

    I would also state they are at the “sea-front” and if they can perhaps better advise you on a specialist coating of sorts, for this type of location.

    Also, if your customer wants the letters illuminated, I would offer a rimless front illumination because the rear halo lit won’t work well against the grey background. Again, if the customer does want this effect, I would get advice from your supplier as I would imagine they are faced with this scenario a lot and may have pictures or video to help explain to your customer the dos and don’ts.

    Cherry Picker

    I always prefer a rough terrain cherrypicker with an articulating boom. But based on the height and distance the signs are at, particularly the one on the side. I would advise on a stick boom cherry picker with a reach of 30 metres at least.

    Again, the supplier of your machine will best advise you on this, if you can give him the height and the distance of stretch for the side letters.

    Get a quote for one, three and a five-day hire. I only say that because it can sometimes be more cost-effective this way and you aren’t under pressure should the job overspill onto a second day. Something you should allow for in your quote.

    Installation Team

    I would sub the installation out to a professional two-man team.
    They will give you a day rate that must include all the necessary paperwork for them to carry out the job. Things like IPAF licence, Public liability insurance, risk assessment and so on.
    Remember that the weather will play a big part in the installation going ahead. So you need to find out how much notice for cancelling and rescheduling due to weather.
    The same applies to the cherry-picker hire. Just be careful there aren’t any caveats in the bookings, and if there are, you at least know about them!
    Maybe contact a company like Midi Sign Services, but I would certainly post on Linkedin asking if anyone can recommend or volunteer their services for a two-man installation team that will be working at height.

    Make no mistake, for this type of project, your customer will want to at least know licences, insurance and all else that will be available if required. The cherry-picker company will also want proof of the IPAF licence before hiring it out. This is where your installers should be armed with all the necessary paperwork, licence etc. As it will be the norm for their day-to-day working activities.

    As I said at the beginning, this is not a complicated job, but there is a lot to be aware of, which is why I am suggesting overseeing the whole project, from ordering the signs, arranging installers, and cherrypicker to making sure all is going to plan on-site and more. Ultimately you are distancing yourself from being directly involved, but still in the thick of it, so to speak. The best part is you personally will learn lots from it and will be paid for doing so. So it is a win-win.

  • Robert Lambie

    June 23, 2023 at 1:39 am

    I located your site on Google Maps.
    You can see two entrances for the cherry picker. It is always best to measure the gate width to make sure turning into it with a cherrypicker is possible. The last thing you want is a low-loader and cherrypicker on the back and it can’t get near the site. a sore hit in your pocket for nothing!

    I imagine your customer maybe have all the building dimensions if it is a new build renovation.
    If not, the fact you have access to the roof is very helpful because measuring the distance the furthest away letter is on the side and the height of the area at the front can easily be done on the roof terrace.
    give the cherrypicker company them or work it out yourself, the “minimum” length the boom needs to be.

    A word of caution, there is a sort of levitated Boardwalk alongside the tarmac from of the building.
    Your cherrypicker “must” not sit near the edge and never on top of it, even if just turning. The weight of these machines could easily collapse the boardwalk and topple the machine with your men in it.

    • Hugh Potter

      June 23, 2023 at 10:24 am

      one of these platforms could work, agreed, might be better than scaffold, just need to check the access.

  • Robert Lambie

    June 23, 2023 at 1:46 am


    You can see from this picture, just how high the sign is when you take into account the guy in the high-viz jacket shown and the scaffold is six tiers high and will require a seventh to do the front side, but would be useless to access the side. Hence why I would advise on the cherry picker.

    You can also see that there is “nothing” under the Boardway. So I would Cone this off while the cherry picker is in operation. Not just for the public but to keep it in mind for the machine operations.

    If you look closely where the arrow on the roof is pointing too. There appears to be a pipe or something where the letters need to be fitted. Just to make life easy for you! 🤨

    • Hugh Potter

      June 23, 2023 at 10:23 am

      Thank you for such a comprehensive reply Rob, much appreciated.

      I will see what we have around here in the way of installation teams. I was tempted to go with a wrapped scaffold, rather than a cherry picker, purely because even on a reasonably nice day it is windy up on that roof, also it costs no more to have it there for two weeks than a few days, so inclement weather shouldn’t be an issue, but I can see which the installation team prefer.

      The side with the containers may be problematic, it’s mostly just grassed over beach cobble/shingle, outside of those containers, There is some concrete but access is limited with a cafe now occupying some of that area where those tanks are shown, I don’t think they were there when I visited yesterday.

      I will read through your comments again and see about making the arrangements.


  • Pane Talev

    June 23, 2023 at 1:24 pm

    Personally, I refused a similar job like this in Geneva yesterday.
    This is too much planning for me. Easy waste of time for a one-man band like me.

    • Hugh Potter

      June 23, 2023 at 3:04 pm

      This is for one of my longest standing and best clients, “No” isn’t an answer I’d like to give them.
      Priced correctly this should still be profitable and be a bit of a landmark with regard to what we are prepared to do for clients.
      I see this as “The big boys” signage, so to get a foot in the door of this kind of work is good for the ego!

      • Pane Talev

        June 26, 2023 at 9:17 am

        I should to be thinking like you Hugh. Many years ago I did. I should be learning from you. That is a good approach and thinking. Over the year on a project like this I will be spending a lot of hours, that all go unpaid at the end. But refusing such work, this is how I lose clients. Once they to to the “bigger company” for the mega jobs, then they stay with them for smaller jobs too. Good luck with the project!

  • Robert Lambie

    June 26, 2023 at 12:00 am

    Cost-wise, I see your logic in considering a scaffold tower, Hugh. But weather conditions will still dictate the job going ahead, and your savings will only be on the actual tower hire, itself.

    Erecting a tower of that height and width may take the best part of a day.
    Certification/licences etc. will still be required, so you also have the labour of two men building the tower.
    You then have to consider the time taken to dismantle the tower and move it to the side of the building and start the process again. If not hiring in a second tower, at extra cost. But you still have the additional labour costs on top.
    So just on building, dismantling and moving the tower processes, you could be looking at 2-3 days for two qualified men.

    I don’t like working on towers. I will only use them as a last option.
    A full day working on a tower “is exhausting” and can be troublesome, from damage, scratches and dings to the sign while passing them from platform to platform, to small accidents like jamming a finger or whatever due to constantly climbing up and down the tower all day.

    All of the above is removed, if you use a cherry picker. It turns up, position it and just start installing the signs.
    As I said, I would reckon 1 to 2 days of labour installing the letters for two men.
    Using a tower, from erecting, dismantling erecting again and installing the signs, your labour could easily be 4-5 days for two men.

  • Jeff

    June 26, 2023 at 11:33 am

    At that height, rather you than me Hugh! 🤨

  • Robert Lambie

    June 26, 2023 at 11:21 pm

    Remember Hugh, subbing the installation to certified freelance installers… They normally work with blank vehicles and it’s common to ask them to put a couple of magnetic panels on the vehicle with your company logo on it. Also, give them a couple of hi-viz vests and hard hats with your logo on them too. Cheap as chips to do and looks so much better. Also, some steal fold-out road signs with some H&S icons along with apologising for the disruption while work is in progress, all add to your company’s presence and professionalism on site.

    • Hugh Potter

      June 27, 2023 at 6:45 am

      Thanks Rob, I have hi-vis etc. they can use. Good thinking on the roadside frames, I have a handful kicking around awaiting repurposing! Do you have an example of the kind of H&S blurb you’d put on said sign?

  • Karen White

    June 27, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    I was looking at the picture of the size of the man in orange next to the building and scaffold and shaking my head thinking, no way! 😳

    Best of luck Hugh, very brave working that high up, i hope you get the job and it all works out great.

    • Hugh Potter

      June 27, 2023 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you!

      I’ve roughly scaled it to around 16m max working height, can’t say I’m overly comfortable on cherry pickers, much prefer scaffold, but I’ll get an installation team to do this I think, just saves loads of hassle!

  • Mark Johnston

    June 29, 2023 at 11:49 am

    It will be an impressive job for your portfolio if you get it and would be great to hear how you get on with it mate.
    best of luck Hugh.

    • Hugh Potter

      June 29, 2023 at 1:54 pm

      Thank you Mark,

  • David McDonald

    June 29, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    Hi Hugh

    Not much to add on top of the other comments but if we were doing this, and you had the space, we’d most likely go for a truck mounted boom. With the distance you’d be coming in there’d be much less ‘bounce’ when you’re in the basket.

    Look forward to seeing the photos when done.



    • Hugh Potter

      June 29, 2023 at 1:55 pm

      I’m chatting to the access hire people later today, hopefully they have something suitable!

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