Biggin Hill reaches for the sky

By Richard High02 March 2009

UK-based rental company Hewden has supplied REIDSteel with two 100-tonne mobile cranes, five 80-ft (24,38 m) mobile access platforms, a 13 m-reach telehandler, lighting towers and fuel bowsers during construction of the main, 90 m span trusses for Biggin Hill Airport's new aircraft hangar.

Working for main contractor Civils Contracting, REIDSteel started work in January this year on the new hanger, which will be used to house jets for private charter.

Before each truss was lifted in to place the Caterpillar TH360B telehandler steadied the beam at ground level allowing the supports to be removed. The TH360B was also used to transport cables and other materials, including lifting them to the fixing points.

The two cranes - Demag AC100s - then worked in tandem to lift the 40 tonne truss to a height of 10 m, matching them to the bolt positions on the columns at eaves level.

Once this was completed four Genie S85 access platforms - one positioned at each side of the two supporting end posts - allowed REIDSteel's engineers safe and easy access during the fixing phase, with the two AC100s continuing to support the trusses.

REIDSteel's erection manager Simon Jeffs said, "By definition, working with such heavy loads requires carefully planning to identify the potential risks and ensure the lift is carried out safely and efficiently, helping to minimise our hire times and reduce costs.

"Despite having to cancel the lift a number of times due to the recent run of bad weather, Hewden remained totally flexible - organising for all the equipment and the crane operators to be on site at short notice as soon as site conditions improved.

"Hewden has been involved from the outset of the job, helping us to plan our complete plant requirements. This included factoring in the site's ground conditions, the weight of the beams and the lift height to specify the ideal equipment type, size and reach," added Mr Jeffs.

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