Whether you are building a single-story house or a multistory apartment complex, your construction project will require you to lift, haul, and move (transport) heavy materials.
One of the easiest ways to move heavy stuff within your construction site is to use lifting cranes. In other words, choosing the right type of crane is essential for the success of your project.
Even a simple crane-related mistake can stop your construction project in its tracks. However, given the vast array of choices, choosing the right crane is easier said than done. Usually, each crane is designed to serve a specific purpose in a construction project.
Depending on the complexity, duration, and scale of your project, you may need to choose more than one type of cranes. Here are a few tips that will help you choose the right type of crane.
1. Know the weight and size of the load
First, you need to find out the weight and the size of the load to be lifted or moved. Based on this information, you can choose a crane of the required lifting capacity and the necessary rigging accessories such as hooks, shackles, ropes, and slings.
Crane manufacturers often provide load charts which provides you with the load capacity features of the crane. The rated capacity mentioned in these charts is the total gross weight that the crane can lift for a given distance (or radius).
You need to deduct the weight of rigging accessories from this gross weight to find out the actual load-bearing capacity of the crane.
Also, you must consider the type of load you are lifting. For example, lifting oddly-shaped loads may require special rigging equipment and highly skilled workers. If necessary, you can hire a consultant or a specialist to help you make the right decision.
2. Understand lift height and horizontal distance
The second factor you need to consider is the lift height, especially for multi-storied construction projects. Depending on how high the load needs to be lifted, you will need to choose a crane with the appropriate boom length.
Usually, you can find the boom length and capacity details in the load charts. Boom is the inclined spar or strut supporting the hoisting tackle. The angle of the boom and its radius, along with the load weight and the resting support, play a critical role in maintaining the stability of the crane.
Along with the vertical movement, you will also need to move heavy equipment and material horizontally. So, you need to know the horizontal distance a boom can cover. Different types of cranes will have different boom lengths and, therefore, different lift heights and reach radiuses.
For example, lattice boom crawler cranes often have a capacity ranging from 40 to 2000 tons. They reach lift heights of up to 700 feet with a radius of 500 feet. On the other hand, Hydraulic Truck Cranes (HTC), usually have a relatively lower capacity ranging from 30 to 600 tons, featuring a hydraulic boom with a reach of up to 200 feet. Make sure you choose the right type of crane with an appropriate boom length.
3. Check the on-site conditions and access
You will need to choose a crane depending on the location of your construction site and how you can access it. Some of the cranes used in the construction industry need to be assembled on-site.
For example, while lattice boom crawler cranes have the largest of the load-bearing capacity, you often need to transport and assemble them on the site. As a result, they are often more suitable for long-term projects requiring extreme lift heights and load reach.
Similarly, tower cranes, the tallest of the cranes, also need to be transported and assembled on the site. You can use them in tightly confined areas. However, you need a proper access road to the construction site as mobile cranes have to be used to assemble a tower crane.
For small and easily accessible construction projects, however, you can use HTCs. You can operate them with a small two-man crew. They are also street legal, which means you can drive them directly to your site. You can use them for virtually all small-sized material lifting tasks on a construction site.
4. Crane rental
Whether it is a small or a large-scale project, crane rental is always a more affordable option. You don’t have to spend on maintenance and repairs of a fleet of cranes when they are sitting idle.
Today, you can get crane rentals at the most competitive rates. However, you should always hire the best, but locally available crane suppliers. A simple online search of rigging supplies near me or crane rentals near me should help you kickstart your research.
Once you have shortlisted a few top local suppliers, inspect the available type of cranes, rental costs, and services offered by them to see which is the most affordable. The most significant advantage of hiring local suppliers is that you can save considerably on equipment transportation costs to the actual site.
Plus, you can call the supplier immediately in case of an emergency. Further, local suppliers can help you plan your project considering the local weather, laws, and other conditions. Parting Words Almost all construction projects have to rely on more than one type of cranes for a smooth and scheduled turnaround.
From determining the required lift height and load reach to checking the on-site conditions and site accessibility, you need to consider a variety of factors when selecting the right crane.