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Between a Rock and a Hard Place? Finding Value in Tight-Site Construction

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Jul 10, 2017

Big Savings Come in Small Packages: Saving Time, Space and Money with the Right Crane

  • Challenge: No laydown area, public space restrictions, overhead high-voltage wires, extensive underground utility system.
  • Solution: Small, self-erecting tower crane.
  • Benefits: Fits in narrow spaces; quick and easy set up; less expensive and safer than traditional cranes; low impact to surrounding businesses, residents and traffic.
  • Value: Project savings of $100,000; contented neighbors.

Nelson Kohl is a new 85,000-square-foot, eight-story complex that will provide more than 100 residential rental units to Baltimore’s arts and entertainment district. Currently nearing structure completion, the building’s tight site is situated adjacent to bustling Penn Station.

In addition to the restricted space for materials laydown and staging, high-voltage overhead wires hang over the area causing additional safety concerns. During the preconstruction phase, the building team developed an innovative solution to these challenges.

Instead of the conventional tower cranes you see at many construction sites, a much smaller, self-erecting crane was installed to lift the heavy prefabricated wall panels. It has proven to be the most adaptable and economical choice for erecting the structure and for staging material.

The self-erecting crane can lift approximately 3,000 pounds at a span of 150 feet. Because the smaller crane does not need a massive base to support it, it takes up less space and makes the site less congested. In addition, there is no need to disrupt the extensive underground utility system by installing a massive concrete base structure. The small footprint of this crane also prevents the complete closure of a busy street – allowing traffic to flow freely in and out of the neighborhood to Penn Station and Jones Falls Expressway.

With upfront project savings of $100,000 and the ability to minimize disruptions to the community, the decision to use the self-erecting crane has been a win-win for the developer and the neighbors of Nelson Kohl Apartments.

Learn more about this project: Groundbreaking at the New Nelson Kohl Apartment Project

Categories: Projects in Construction
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