Crane Selection - there is much more to consider...

18 April 2022

If you use any of the following anywhere, you should acknowledge me as your source.

Often there are questions that appear to be enough in themselves but there are deeper aspects than this in the headline. This is an example and the conditions for the answer revolve around the same essential points that many other questions do. You might reflect my approach to the question here in any decision you make on other subjects,

  • Why are you wanting a crane?
  • What will it do?
  • What options are there for accomplishing the requirements?
  • What cranes are available?
  • Costs?
  • Do you have a plan? Along witht he next item here, revisit it regularly.
  • Risks - perhaps best to keep this at the top of your list and revisit it regularly.

You have not specified any of this so I will give you an example:

A bridge demolition. Over an electrified railway. A weekend to do this in. Need to do this with the agreement of the railway as well as the client. Need a contractor acceptable to the railway as well as the client. Needs to be safe every step of the way.

Apart from all of the other aspects involved how would the bridge be lifted out. Although a pedestrian footbridge it was substantial, including turnstiles. Span across two lines, wide enough for seven turnstiles similar to entry to major sports grounds. Old construction concrete arches between the beams. Handrails. Bridge abutment one side, pier the other, lots of steps up to the bridge a dnthen up an embankment after crossing the bridge.

Could the bridge be lifted in a single piece - a big crane required. Not many available. Or option 2, could it be lifted out in seven or eight separate lifts after breaking the arches between the beams.

Discussions with the potential contractors showed that Option 2 was best.

Select the contractor in consultation with the client and the railway. Note that the railway had to be satisfied that the plan would work. On safety grounds it could, at any stage, stop the work.

There was a lot of preparation, ensuring that the site was completely ready for the crane. The railway had to be closed for the work.

Midnight on a Friday, the area was handed over to the contractor. The real work began. Rail protection, electric services protected, signalling protected. Bridge beam arch cutting. Crane positioned. Space available for all demolition materials including the lifted beams ready for removal.

By 4pm on Sunday, 8 hours ahead of schedule, the bridge had gone.

This leads me to the last point. Apart from risk management you must have a plan. In my example the plan worked better than expected - but we always wanted to finish early so that the rail line would be ready for checks and opening on the next day at 5am.

So, there is more to this than having a crane. You need a plan. You need risk management. Worst case? The crane is not there, or is there and cannot do the work…. Without a puprose and a plan and risk management, having a crane will not be enough.

Does you company need a strategy, a plan, considered risks, or a review of any of these? A half day could help ensure success. Please contact me A sounding board, impartial, drawing on a broad range of experience and ideas. 

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