Tower crane utilization on the rise

04 December 2017

High-rise construction has surged throughout North America, and tower crane utilization has followed suit. American Cranes & Transport invited members of our TowerCrane50 list of North America’s top tower crane-owning companies to submit job stories about projects on which their cranes are working. Following is our tower crane project roundup.

Hudson Yards

Started in 2012, Hudson Yards is claimed to be the largest real estate development in the United States, and it is the largest development in New York City since Rockefeller Center. The site will include more than 18 million square feet of commercial and residential space, office towers, more than 100 shops including New York’s first Neiman Marcus and a collection of restaurants curated by Chef Thomas Keller. The urban development will include approximately 4,000 residences, a new center for artistic invention; 14 acres of public open space; a public school and a luxury hotel. Constructed on 28 acres over a working rail yard, two platforms bridge over 30 active train tracks, three rail tunnels and the new Gateway Tunnel.

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Four of the five towers at Hudson Yards are being built with the help of New York Crane & Equipment’s Favelle Favco tower cranes.

The grand platform will weigh 37,000 tons and cover 30 tracks between 30th and 34th Streets. It will support three of the first five towers as a part of Phase 1 and requires drilling 250 concrete caissons into the bedrock underneath the rails.

But the most amazing part is that the trains continue to run in and out of Penn Station. The engineering and decisive planning on this job is almost inconceivable, according to New York Crane & Equipment, which has provided Favelle Favco tower cranes for the project.

Once the eastern half is complete the work will begin on the western half, which is Phase 2 of the project and is estimated to measure out at 17 million square feet. The West Yard at 34th Street will be at street level with access to ground transportation at the Number 7 subway station.

Four out of the five towers were built exclusively with the Favelle Favco tower cranes. New York Crane & Equipment leased the cranes to Tutor Perini, who specifically requested these units after seeing them construct the transportation hub at the new World Trade Center. This project is providing many jobs for the construction industry, offering positive aspects for all companies included, according to New York Cane.

“We look forward to this project’s finish and all the advances and jobs that it will bring,” said New York Crane.

The project is being developed by Related Companies and Oxford Properties.

Seattle Biospheres

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Morrow Equipment provided three Liebherr tower cranes to erect the Seattle Biospheres.

On the opposite side of the country in Seattle, the Biospheres are part of $4 billion urban campus that has buildings stretching across three city blocks. The spheres are five stories tall with approximately 65,000 square feet of green space. The largest sphere is more than 90 feet tall and 130 feet in diameter. The spheres will have room for more than 800 people inside at one time without enclosed office space, and will be filled with more than 400 plant species. Plant occupancy began in May 2017, and people occupancy is scheduled for early 2018.

To erect the spheres, Morrow Equipment provided a Liebherr 542 HC-L 18 luffing boom tower crane with a 164-foot hook radius, and 6 by 550 foot HC tower sections for a 115-foot freestanding crane tower height for the project.

Morrow said the luffing boom crane was selected for operating clearance with an already erected Liebherr 630 EC-H (high-rise) and Liebherr 540 HC-L (mid-rise) cranes provided by Morrow. The primary structural steel elements were prefabricated offsite with universal connections and delivered to the jobsite where they were erected accordingly.

Apple in Chicago

One of the world’s most innovative consumer electronics companies, Apple, recently completed a new flagship location in Chicago. A Potain MR 608 tower crane was at the center of the project that sits in close proximity to the Chicago River.

Central Contractors Service, a division of the ALL Family of Companies, provided the 35.3-ton capacity luffing jib crane. Paul Urbanski, sales manager for the Alsip, IL-based company, said that the MR 608 was the ideal lifting solution for the cramped work environment.

“The restrictions on this jobsite were challenging from the start,” he said.

“Since we’re working so close to the river, the entire area surrounding the site is vaulted, which required careful planning of the assembly and delivery of the crane. The MR 608’s frequency driven hoist, with LVF technology, helped us to cut down on maintenance and keep to our schedule.”

The MR 608 was erected in September of 2016. It was rigged with 131 feet of jib and hovered 32 feet above the ground. The crane was first used to lift 34-ton steel beams to a height of 16 feet. Its final month on the job, the MR 608 helped contractors to install roof segments, which are constructed of a lightweight material traditionally used in the hulls of yachts. The $27 million retail store encompasses approximately 20,000 square feet. n

Marina Heights

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Five Terex Peiner SK-575s assisted in the construction of five State Farm office buildings that now stand overlooking Tempe Town Lake.

The Marina Heights project in Tempe, AZ ran from September 2013 to April 2017. In that time period, Stafford Crane Group, in collaboration with Ryan Companies, erected five Peiner SK-575s to build the five State Farm office buildings that now stand overlooking Tempe Town Lake.

In addition, Stafford rented a Peiner SK-415 to Suntec Concrete for the project, as well as provided five dual construction hoists.

It was the largest office development project in Arizona history, according to Stafford. In what used to be an Arizona State University parking lot, now stands a beautiful complex with offices, parking garages and restaurants, bringing economic growth to Tempe, and Arizona as a whole, the company said.

Such a big project did not come without obstacles. Due to foundation constraints, the SK-575s had to be erected and dismantled from a podium deck, two levels above the parking garage. The podium deck was built so that a fire truck could drive onto it if need be, which allowed Stafford to drive its 10-axle Demag 350 onto it for erection and dismantling. In addition, the parking garage had to be shored up underneath the outrigger points.

The Marina Heights project also ran the entire length of the job without a single safety incident. This was in great part thanks to Kyle Schoenberger, who was the safety superintendent at the site, and is now safety director at Stafford Crane Group.

“The Marina Heights Project was a great success for Stafford Crane Group and all parties involved,” said Stafford. “It is one of our largest jobs ever and has produced some breathtaking photos of the five SK-575s that overlooked Tempe. As the Arizona economy continues to grow, Stafford hopes to bring more quality tower, mobile and self-erect crane service to projects around the state.”

Overture Kierland

Greystar selected Chasse Builders as the general contractor for its $40,000,000 Overture Kierland project, a 170-unit apartment complex being constructed in Phoenix, AZ. Started in January of this year and with an expected completion in August 2019, the project is located at the Northeast corner of 71st Street and Tierra Buena in the district commonly known as Kierland Commons. The project is targeted as an active adult age-restricted community designed to serve the needs of active seniors still vibrant and engaged in life. Because of this, the overall design concepts and amenities differ somewhat from traditional market rate apartments. The building is designed as a Type V wood frame structure over an on-grade parking podium with a small area of underground parking.

Compass Equipment provided a Wolff 6031.12 tower crane for the project. The main components of the crane include a 98-foot basic jib with trolley gear and extensions up to 213-feet radius in 8-foot steps.

Keeyask Hydro Dam

Linden Comansa America has supplied five tower cranes to BBE Hydro Constructors LP for use on the Keeyask Hydro Dam project in northern Manitoba, Canada. The project is in a remote location, It’s a two-hour drive to the nearest town and 100 miles south of the Hudson Bay. The difficult-to-access location means BBE needs performance and reliability from the tower cranes as well as easy serviceability. The cranes have not let them down. according to LCA.

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Five Linden Comansa tower cranes are working on the Keeyask Hydro Dam project in Manitoba, Canada

The five tower cranes include three 21 LC 750 models with a maximum lift capacity of 36 tons (79,360 pounds) and two 21 LC 550 with a maximum lift capacity of 24 tons (52,910 pounds). The cranes are all mounted on 32-foot travel bases. Anti-collision is installed for effective monitoring of the cranes when traveling to prevent accidental interference between them. Three cranes are freestanding at 281-foot heights, and two are at 263-foot heights on their respective travel bases.

The temperature in Manitoba varies from summer to winter with extremely cold winters reaching 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit and the ground freezing to 10 foot depths. A special dense hoist cable helps prevent problems with the cable, providing extended wear in this harsh environment. Plus, the modular design of the tower cranes feature interchangeability of components between models, which reduces the need for ordering multiple sizes and provides significant cost savings, LCA said. This is especially beneficial on a remote site in a difficult climate.

The dam is slated for completion in 2020.

Moynihan Station

Approximately 600,000 people commute in and out of New York City’s Penn Station every day, and for many, the yellowing halls of the transit terminal are one’s first glimpse of New York City. As a result, many New Yorkers have long declared that Penn Station does not do the city justice. New York City is known for being fast-paced, modern and trendy, but Penn Station would not be accused of any of these things. The solution? Moynihan Station.

Moynihan Station is the new extension of Penn Station that will support both Amtrak and Long Island Railroad customers. In addition to the 225,000-square-foot train hall, there is also 700,000 square feet devoted to retail and dining. The goal is to have a transit area that is aesthetically pleasing, welcoming and an iconic destination in and of itself.

In late summer of 2017, JK Crane began working in partnership with Skanska USA and provided two tower cranes, both Potain MR-295 models, to work on the Moynihan Station project. The cranes were erected two weeks apart to help transform the New York City landmark, at the north and south sides of what is currently the James A. Farley Post Office, located just across the street from Penn Station.

“JK Crane is thrilled to be a part of a project that seeks to update and elevate one of New York City’s largest transportation hubs,” the company said.

The Coloradan

The Coloradan is a new $200 million development project at Union Station in Denver, CO. The project includes 334 exclusive condos as well as 19,000 square feet of ground level floor retail and a 447-space parking garage.

RMS Cranes was awarded the crane contract by the general contractor GE Johnson Construction. Work began in January of 2017. RMS Cranes currently supports the crane portion of the project with a 22-ton Potain MD 485B tower crane as well as a Manitowoc 888 crawler with luffing jib. The Coloradan is estimated to be completed in September 2018.

One City Center

The southern tech center of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, N.C. is known as the Triangle, and that region is booming. Multimillion dollar construction projects loom large in all three cities, and some estimates indicate 140 commercial projects are either under construction, proposed or recently completed.

All 1580

ALL Erection provided a Terex Peiner SK 415 on the 27-story One Durham Center in Raleigh, NC.

Keeping busy with all the work is ALL Carolina Crane and Equipment of Raleigh, a member of the ALL Family of Companies.

One of the biggest projects ALL has been involved with is downtown Durham’s One City Center, a long-awaited high-rise that will be the city’s tallest structure upon completion next spring. Work on the $88 million, 27-story multi-use building began in summer 2016. It mixes two stories of parking, four floors of retail and office space and 21 floors of apartments and condominiums, priced from $630,000 to $1.8 million.

The project got off to a rocky start when work stalled for a year after developers excavated a four-story deep pit that took up a significant portion of a city block. The pit became a source of aggravation for residents, and even earned its own satirical Twitter page. In July 2016 ALL’s Peiner SK 415 arrived on the jobsite.

“With an initial hook height of 272 feet, the Peiner gave us the greatest freestanding height,” said Brandon Owens, ALL’s sales rep.

Erecting the crane posed some unique challenges.

“You’ve got the tight spaces you get with any downtown project, but we also had a hotel directly across the street, separated by only a two-lane road,” said Owens. “We had to install the climber, climb it over the hotel, then take the climber off. We also had to carefully plan for the ground bearing pressure of the bordering streets. In all, the erection process took three days. These projects live and die by the hook in the sky.”

The Triangle has seen nearly $10 billion in major commercial construction projects begin in the last 18 months. Owens said ALL has booked seven major projects for the first quarter of 2018. Five of these are slated to be high-rises exceeding 20 stories, including a new 25-story hospital on the campus of Duke University.

Louisville Omni Hotel

Started in the spring of 2016, the $289 million Louisville Omni Hotel is being built with the help of a Terex SK575 tower crane and two Terex SK415 units on rent from Maxim CraneWorks. Maxim was awarded the project by Brasfield & Gorrie based in Atlanta, GA.

With the busy streets of Louisville, all tower climbs had to be done on weekends, according to Maxim’s Scott Gerding. Two of the three cranes had to be climbed multiple times, with the tallest reaching a height of over 460 feet.

“We are proud to be a part of this project, which has become the centerpiece of downtown Louisville,” Gerding said. “The challenges of working on a downtown project with such high visibility, always brings out the best in our company. Brasfield & Gorrie with their professionalism and wealth of experience, has always been a pleasure to work with.”

The 30-story project will feature 612 hotel rooms, 70,000 square feet of event space and several restaurants. The hotel will also feature a bowling alley, 20,000-square foot urban lifestyle market and grocer, spa, fitness center and swimming pool

The building topped out in July 2017. The hotel is slated for completion in March of 2018.

Houston Methodist Hospital

A new $697 million patient wing addition is currently being constructed at Houston Methodist North Campus in the Texas Medical Center located in Houston, TX. AECOM Hunt Construction is the general contractor building the 650,000-square foot expansion. The project required the work of three 500-metric ton capacity tower cranes to construct this structure. The building will house 378 beds and will rise to 22 stories.

P&J Arcomet has supplied two Terex Peiner SK5757s and one Zoomlion T-8030 to handling all the lifting assignments at the crowded jobsite. The cranes are working at heights of 457 feet, 418 feet and 273 feet under hook. The cranes are slated to be on the job for more than 18 months. 



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