Guest blog: Don’t make creativity a risky game – Symphotech

hands1jpgSymphotech, a specialist event health and safety consultancy, was on hand to support Sketch and nhow hotels as they made creative history by becoming the first people to install temporary infrastructure in the form of a colour-changing 8m chameleon, onto the Old Truman Brewery chimney.

Creating spectacular brand experiences carries the responsibility to manage the potential hazards related to an activity or installation. Identifying and managing the risks around transforming a creative concept to a live experience is not generally the skillset of the creative agency.

They carry out risk assessments to ensure the health and safety of their workers from these hazards, not always aware they are a legal requirement and the implications if you don’t take them seriously.

Sketch wisely decided that to safely hang the luminescent chameleon onto a listed building 49m above Brick Lane in central London, they needed an independent company who are experts in risk assessment and management. Their insurance company supported this view.

hands2Symphotech was brought in as principal safety advisors to undertake the risk assessment, safety strategy and oversee the procedures on site. They analysed the potential hazards and applied their experience and better understanding of niche details such as wind loading speeds, regulations and cranes to ensure all aspects of this installation were safe.

Symphotech company director Will Hodgson explains their role in more detail:

“We used a structural engineer for accurate calculations around wind loading and the load-bearing strength of the chimney and to help us with a contingency plan in case of strong winds. From the outset we knew no physical alterations to the listed building were allowed, so we used strapping to attach the chameleon onto the chimney rather than any hard fixings. There was careful scrutiny as two cranes in sync with each other precisely manoeuvred the giant reptile into position onto the chimney.

“Directly underneath the chameleon was the venue’s event hall, with an expansive 3mm thick glass skylight. We decided to hire this space out so we could guarantee the hall was empty during the build and de-rig. The weather was fine so from an event safety perspective our weather contingencies weren’t called in to play and the Sketch team adhered brilliantly to best practice for a safe installation, protecting the integrity of the building.”

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