Van Andel Institute

300 North Division Ave. Grand Rapids, Michigan
8 Storeys
General Contractor: Erhardt Construction
Architect: Rafael Vinoly Architects
Pro-Bel services provided: Design, Engineer, Manufacture, Supply and Install, Load Testing

Van Andel Institute’s 240,000 square-foot (22 080 m²), eight storey Phase II building expansion opened in December 2009. Phase II nearly triples the Institute’s laboratory space, allowing for growth of current laboratories and expanded research into neurological diseases. This means more researchers will be dedicated to finding ways to help fight cancer and other diseases. Phase II means more hope for patients and families around the world.

This cancer research facility, set into a steep hill at the edge of the town center, evokes the rapids of the nearby Grand River with its three segmented convex glass roof descending in a stylized cascade along the eastern face of a narrow concrete slab building. Working around so much glass and narrow roof areas required window cleaners/exterior maintenance personnel to work in very close contact with the building under highly restricted conditions.

Pro-Bel Technical Approach

A total of eleven Pro-Bel HLL “Hands-Free” horizontal cable lifeline systems were employed on this project. The systems consist of permanently installed multi-span, anchored cables that serve as an attachment point for travel restraint or fall arrest lanyards. The cables are used for horizontal mobility over extended distances while working close to a vertical drop e.g. within 6’-0” (1.8 m) of roof edges. Many of the systems allowed workers to turn corners without disconnecting via 90 degree corner fittings.

In addition to the Pro-Bel cable systems, a variety of safety u-bar anchors were used for both bosun’s chair suspension and separate independent lifelines. Types of anchors employed included wall, roof, concealed, epoxy adhesive (for existing concrete walls). A bosun’s chair with descent control equipment is one of the most popular methods of window cleaning due to ease of use, practicality and efficiency.

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