We are delighted to be featured in the latest edition of Access Point for our continuing work in the media sector. We would like to thank everyone at Scaffolding Association for their engagement on this, with a special shout out to Alison Hurman for her polished editing and guidance. The media sector continues to be a key focus of our service offerings to clients, and we embrace the varied and challenging nature of the projects that we are asked to be involved with. The reward comes from the positive customer feedback and unique environment in which they operate.
The full article can be read below or by clicking here AccessPoint.org.uk
Ultimate Access Solutions Limited (UAS), who are Assessed Members of the Scaffolding Association, continue to take centre stage as a partner of choice in the media sector.
It began in 2019 when UAS were drafted in to provide an advanced temporary structure for a major Netflix production. This project, which was the front cover story for our Winter 2019 edition, involved designing and erecting a bespoke crashdeck with 763 Apollo X beams, in excess of 7000 boards, 5650 fixtures and fittings and 2.3 miles of scaffolding!
UAS’s star quality shone through and paved the way for their future in the media sector, where they now undertake projects for a number of clients.
Understandably, working in media comes with a unique set of challenges with additional requirements and responsibilities. The structures are needed for various purposes – for example lighting rigs, rostrums and access.
All projects are bespoke, both to the environment and to the clients’ specific needs, and UAS work with their external design consultancy partner to ensure that they deliver the best solutions every time.
The whole process differs to normal, as Lee Graham, Owner at UAS explains:
“Projects in media, whilst being a mix of both external and internal, are unique in the nature of the collaboration with the clients. It is not like working for a main contractor for a typical construction project.
The process is more collaborative rather than predetermined. The ability to input and influence from design on is greater, and having a bigger role in the design of structures allows us to bring our expertise in.
In addition, futureproofing what the requirements will be over a number of years ensures that we create adaptable solutions. Working with clients usually means liaising with both construction and production so establishing points of contacts and clear communication lines is vital.”
Each structure is designed specifically for each location, and there can be multiple structures at a location. UAS also provide ongoing adaptations and inspections.
The very nature of the work provides additional challenges as Lee commented:
“Time is usually the primary factor. In a new build, this is governed by production schedules that have fixed timescales and deadlines.
Whereas if it is maintenance/adaption works, it is working in scheduled shutdowns or out of hours, such as weekends and/or nights. Such works sometimes have the additional complication of working around/above existing sets which poses logistical and access challenges, resulting in more manual handling than normal.
The environment is in many ways very structured, productions are calendarised well in advance, obviously these are dynamic, so the ability to be reactive to changing parameters is something we learn over time.”
The UAS team experienced this unpredictability recently, when their plans to relax over the festive period were abandoned when a last minute request from a valued client came in to undertake works on an existing studio rig for a two week period over Christmas and New Year as Lee explains:
“The works were time sensitive due to the break in production and had to be done whilst the studio was available, rather than when 500 people were inside working below.
We are delighted to say that the works were completed on time, and credit should go to the team that managed and delivered this with particular shout outs to Billy Rowley and Gary Christie. Thank you guys for your unswerving support and dedication for what was a challenging and time critical project.”
Despite all the additional responsibilities and pressure that come as part of working within the media sector, the jobs still have their appeal, as Lee concludes:
“Operating in bespoke environments and working with talented individuals from a different industry is a pleasure in itself. “Rather than the usual discussions with client project managers, we could be discussing options with set designers as an example, so it is always a fresh perspective to what is being carried out.
However, like any project, where there is a challenging time frame to begin with, then changes to the same usually means more stress and less sleep! Obviously, the better we know our clients, the easier this is. It’s amazing how these come together when a tight programme demands.”