Awkward Access

GOWINGS Sydney &
STATE Theatre Sydney - for QT Hotel

gowings state theatre signs

The Gowings neon signs in Sydney which now sit on what has been converted into the world renowned QT Hotel which is one of our most prized clients and our most intricate heritage signs we have on our books.

The neon sign was built and erected in 1979-1980 and since then has been maintained by multiple companies before and after several building renovations. Our first commitment to the maintenance of these two heritage neon signs came in 1985 when our Founder George Askaro was contracted by a principal management company to perform all the onsite rope access solutions for the signage services. After years of subcontracting maintenance through a principal we were approached by GOWINGS in 1999 to become the direct principal maintenance company of the two GOWINGS signs which we gladly accepted and then enjoyed a successful 11 year service period where we kept the signs in excellent condition.

In 2010 Built was appointed by Amalgamated Holdings Limited to complete a major refurbishment of the heritage-listed Gowings and State Theatre buildings transforming them into a boutique hotel, restaurant and bar. Complex services upgrades and the reinstatement of key architectural heritage features including the two vertical GOWINGS signs and the STATE Theatre neon sign were included and done internally, that project was completed in 2012 and it wasn’t until early 2014 that we were re-appointed as the principal maintenance company once again for these heritage signs which now included the STATE Theatre Neon sign.

This sign is currently our most difficult abseiling neon service we perform; it involves a rigorous abseiling process and requires extreme caution when performing any work close to the signs making it a challenge for even the most experience abseiling technicians. Starting from the roof of the building two steel wire cables are connected to a monorail system which sits underneath the overhang on the roofs top level, this monorail was set up to provide the abseiler with close proximity and movement next to the signs. Once the cables are set a block and tackle or single rope access system is attached for an abseiler to then attach and descend down the building, in some cases coming from the bottom up is found to be easier.

Both the Gowings and State signs are covered with exposed neon around all fascias unlike new convention sky sign designs which have faces protecting the neon units from contact. This means our rope system cannot touch the sign without potentially breaking a unit, it requires the abseiler to watch ever foot step and every placement of the hand. The monorail enables a 2nd man who is harnessed on the roof to move the abseiler from side to side while he watches his contact on the signage façade. All services require frequent radio contact to constantly communicate the needs of the abseiler and the signage components needed to complete the service.

Enjoy the gallery to see just how much precision this sign requires to complete a successful service.