UK tower crane rental and sales firm Bennetts Cranes is in the process of erecting a Raimondi LR 213 tower crane at a site in Fulham, London, that will stand at 105 metres freestanding when finished - making it one of the tallest freestanding luffing jib cranes operating in the UK.
Although tower cranes that are tied to buildings can go much higher than this, freestanding luffing jibs are rare at this height, Bennetts said.
The first phase of erection took place with the help of a 350 tonne mobile crane at the beginning of May at Chelsea Creek, in Fulham, where a selection of one, two and three bedroom homes are being built by St George, part of property developer Berkeley Group.
The LR 213 currently has a 55 m mast for the initial construction phase, however the final height of the crane will be 105 m later this year as the buildings reach 32 storeys. Typical freestanding luffing jib cranes would be between 30 – 60 metres tall for residential developments, with some occasionally reaching 70 metres or more, however there are none known to be operating in the UK freestanding at over 100 metres, said Bennetts.
In anticipation of the final height, the large base specific to this job has already been concreted into place. The photos convey just how big the base is, with what would be a normal mast looking small in comparison on top of it. Typical tower bases for tower cranes are 1-2 m squared, however this tower base is 4.5 m squared to give enough stability for the crane to withstand the forces at such a tall height.
Edward Seager, managing director of Bennetts Cranes, explained, “When you double the height of a tower crane, the forces don’t just double, they square. Further to that, the wind is stronger the higher you go and so, the taller the crane the more force upon it from the wind. The tower that has been installed for this crane is very large and needs to be extremely strong for the 105 m mast.”
Mr Seager explained that over the last few years there has been a steady trend towards using taller freestanding cranes, driven by changes in cladding systems, which has meant it is difficult to apply cladding while the crane is tied to the building.
“Developers also favour free-standing cranes because they give more flexibility on site, and result in a quicker build time because you don’t need to climb the crane and tie it to the building - the cladding can be put on as the building is constructed, rather than waiting for the cranes to be removed,” Seager added.
The LR 213 has been joined onsite by the LR273, one of Raimondi’s newest luffing jib cranes with an 18 tonne maximum load capacity.