Cranes are essential to any major construction project, providing safe and efficient on-site transportation of heavy materials. In fact, most major construction projects would either be too dangerous or outright impossible without the help of cranes.
However, the success of your construction project can only be guaranteed if you choose the right crane. Remember that there are different types of cranes available, and each of them are designed to be used for specific circumstances. There may also be cases wherein you’ll need to choose one or multiple types of cranes, depending on the construction’s duration, scale, and complexity. Choosing the wrong crane for the job could adversely affect your project or, worse, pose a serious hazard on the construction site. On the other hand, selecting the right crane will help avoid delays or damages in your project.
To ease the process of crane selection, here is a basic guide to help you choose the right crane for your project.
1. Determine the weight and size of the load
The weight and size of the materials will determine what type of crane you will get and how it will be set up. Crane manufacturers or crane hire companies like Franna Crane Hire can provide you with a crane chart and the corresponding load charts that state how much load capacity each type can handle. So, assess your current load, materials, and other lifting needs to avoid buying or hiring a crane that has more or less lifting power than you intend to use.
Additionally, you must take note of the type of load you’re moving or lifting. For instance, lifting loads with odd or peculiar shapes may require you to use special rigging equipment and proficient crane operators. If necessary, you can consult your local crane specialist to assist you with each crane type’s capabilities and load capacity and eventually help you pick the best crane for the job.
2. Understand the horizontal distance and lift height
You’ll need to know the minimum lift height of your project, especially if you’re working on multi-storied construction projects. This will help you narrow down your list of crane choices to those with a suitable boom length.
Aside from the vertical movement, you will also have to move and lift heavy loads horizontally. Hence, you also need to determine the horizontal distance that a crane’s boom should be able to cover. Crane hire companies like Franna Crane Hire and others can show you their crane charts that show their boom length, rated capacity, and reach radiuses, so you can use this as your guide in finding which one suits your project needs.
3. Check the accessibility and conditions of the worksite
You’ll also need to check your worksite’s conditions and accessibility before finalizing your selected crane. If the access roads going to the site are too narrow or filled with tight turns, a truck crane or hydraulic crane may not be able to pass through. In that case, a pick and carry crane or crawler crane may be more suitable.
If you need to use large or heavy-duty cranes for your construction site, but the access is limited, you may opt for a crane that can be assembled on-site. For instance, a lattice boom crawler crane can be perfect for lifting heavy and large loads, and at the same time, you may transport and assemble it on-site. Similarly, tower cranes, which are considered the tallest among other types, have the immense stability to handle the most complex lifting operations, and you can also assemble them on-site.
Besides accessibility, see if there are any tall trees, buildings, or power lines near the construction site. Keep in mind that these obstructions can affect the ease and performance of your crane while carrying heavy loads.
The quality of your construction site’s ground can also play a role in choosing the crane for your project. If the construction is located on a site with unstable or rocky ground or if it’s a rainy season, some cranes may not be able to function or travel to these areas due to the soft ground. During these cases, a rough terrain crane or crawler crane may be required. But to be safe, it’s best to stop all crane operations when it’s windy, raining, or lightning to maintain the safety of the construction site.
4. Ensure that your crane has passed the safety standards
Although cranes have made it easier for construction workers to deal with heavy loads, they can still encounter problems that can pose a serious risk to people and property, like incorrect assembly or poorly secured loads. Any crane-related incidents can result in costly damages and delays to the project, or worse, fatal injuries or death to crane operators and nearby construction workers.
Thus, when choosing a crane, ensure that it has passed and has complied with the OSHA crane safety standards. Furthermore, you must also observe the crane safety practices during selection, such as a thorough visual inspection of the machine, rigging, stability zone, and proper load security. Most importantly, remember only to buy or rent a crane that’s within your certification of a specific crane type.
5. Consider the ease of repair or maintenance
Like other construction materials, your crane must be repaired or maintained regularly to keep it in its functional shape. So, when selecting a crane, ask the crane specialist about the repair or maintenance methods of each crane type in case it encounters a malfunction and see if it’s something you can do. Additionally, you can also find out the availability of the spare parts from the nearby shops. If you invest in a crane that will cost you more to maintain and import its parts somewhere else, this could affect your budget. Overall, it’s best to choose a crane that meets your project needs, fits your budget, and is easy to maintain.
6. Check the cost
Finally, after considering all the steps above, you need to check the cost of each crane type and see if it’s within your budget. For example, if you regularly handle construction projects, you can buy a suitable type of crane as a long-term investment. Alternatively, if you only need the crane once or twice for a particular construction project, it may be best to get a rental crane from a crane hire company. You can do a price check on multiple crane rental services to compare their prices and services and find which suits your budget.
Choosing the right crane isn’t less about getting the biggest or strongest machine you can find and more about ensuring that you chose the safest, most cost-efficient, and most reliable machine for your construction project. Don’t hesitate to collect as much information from the crane specialist or the crane hiring company, and let these tips help you choose the most suitable crane for your project.