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JK Rentals ‘flies’ two tents to the top of a cruise ship

Project Briefs | December 1, 2011 | By:

When JK Rentals, Milwaukee, Wis., was contacted to provide tenting to fully enclose an area on a dry docked cruise ship in Norfolk, Va., the design and installation crew knew they were in for a challenge. Tight time constraints and staking and assembly restrictions required ingenuity and efficiency from the five-person installation team.

The purpose of this 2011 IAA Award of Excellence winning project was to cover an area on the ship’s top deck so that a new flooring system could be installed without having weather affect the construction. Towering 140 feet above ground, the top deck could only be reached by crane—and there was only one crane in the area tall enough for the job. The cruise line was completing other renovation projects at the same time in an effort to reduce the days the ship would need to be in dry dock; additional time out of water would mean millions of dollars in lost revenue. And since the crane was in high demand for the other renovation projects, each lift needed to be efficiently executed to keep its use-time down and keep the installation on schedule.

To that end, two clearspan tents were preassembled on shore where they waited for favorable wind conditions so they could be “flown” in one complete piece (minus the vinyl) to the deck. Clearances for setting the tents were less than six inches at several points, which meant a lot of coordination on all sides of the tent was necessary as it was lowered onto and lifted off of the deck.

No legs or uprights were used in the installation, and the tent could not be staked because no part of the tent could touch the floor. Instead, the crew built custom fixtures, custom-mounted the sidewall from a suspension cable, and used parts of the ship frame to secure the structure. Vinyl roof panels were pulled in by hand, with less than two feet of pulling room in some cases.

Two of the installers remained on the ship during the flooring installation to make any needed adjustments, and in the end the project deadline for refurbishing under the tents was met with two full days to spare—which meant a very satisfied customer.

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