How to build tower cranes

Written by harvey birdman
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How to build tower cranes
Tower cranes are an integral part of any urban construction projects. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Tower cranes are large girder based cranes used to build skyscrapers and other large structures. Because of their large size and power they are subject to many regulations. In addition the cranes need substantial prep work for the ground beneath to take the weight of the tower crane. The crane itself has an built-in jack to raise new girder sections. Additionally a second tower crane can assist the crane with it's own construction.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tower crane
  • Tower crane certified operator
  • Grader
  • Crane
  • Work crew

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  1. 1

    Obtain construction permits from the county or city that the work site is in. To use the tower crane you must first be engaged in construction at the side. Then you need to obtain permission to use a tower crane. Because of the height and the danger that tower cranes bring many jurisdictions impose specific regulations on the tower crane. You will need to have crane operators in good standing with National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators when you do obtain the permits.

  2. 2

    Prepare the ground for the tower crane by grading it first. Then dig out a pit for the base, prepare a seating layer with gravel, set the tower base section in, and then fill in the pit with concrete. Then anchor the base section down with steel tie cables anchored around the perimeter.

  3. 3

    Have the work crew build up the first three sections of the tower crane by hand. Have a mobile crane lift in the girder sections and then have the work crews bolt the girders in. Once the first three sections are in have the second crane lift the top of the tower crane in and on to the top of the tower. Then let the crane top jack itself up and install the new girder sections.

  4. 4

    Add on lateral supports as the tower crane grows. Lateral supports secure the tower crane to the side of the high rise it is building. This helps spread the weight of the unit and helps the tower resist torque from winds.

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