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Modular construction company, Polcom Modular, used spreader beams from below-the-hook equipment manufacturer and lifting engineering specialist Modulift, on a high-profile job installing bedrooms at the citizenM Tower of London hotel in London, UK.

According to Ben Paget, structural director at Polcom, modular construction is fast becoming a popular building method for organisations looking for rapid project completion, assured quality standards, and minimal impact on the environment or the local area. On this job 260 pre-fabricated structural modular bedrooms were installed at the central London hotel over an 11-week period, all at night. The modules had bespoke lifting eyes integrated into the structural framing, which were used by the rigging team. A standard bedroom-corridor module weighed approximately 8 tonnes, while the heavier bedroom-corridor-bedroom modules were around 12.5 tonnes.

Modulift said it provided standard MOD 24 (24 tonnes capacity at 5 metres) and MOD 50 (50 tonnes at 8 m) spreader beams, slings and shackles. These were used in either single or one-over-two configurations, depending on the lifting points on the modules (some were four-point lifts and others eight-point), said Modulift. Below-the-hook equipment totalled up to 1.25 tonnes in weight for each lift.

Polcom also used a tower crane, leased by Balfour Beatty, the major contractor, which was already on site for other lifts relating to the construction project. Paget explained that as the crane was sourced prior to completion of the module design, limited height was available for the top floor bedrooms. “We had to modify the top floor lift with shortened chains and tighter angles to accommodate the final lifts,” he said. “The centre of gravity on some of the modules was not quite central and so we had to manually compensate for this with sand bags. Modulift’s design service was critical to the successful delivery of the project, giving us access to high quality drawings, specifications and expertise, which was particularly beneficial in offsetting the centre of gravity positions during the design of the lifting frames.”

During the day the spreader beams and lifting equipment were stored in a purpose-built cage that slotted onto the top of a module, located by the lifting eyes. Polcom moved the cage up each time work started on a new floor level.

Prior to installation the bedroom modules were transported from Poland to London Thamesport, a container seaport on the River Medway, where they were placed in storage. Most could be moved under normal transport restrictions but the widest had to be accompanied by special escorts. The entire modular installation crew consisted of between six and 10 people, which included resources for site bolting of the modules as well as rigging and traffic marshalling.

Following the success of the project, Modulift said Polcom has employed its below-the-hook equipment and expertise on further installations in the UK, USA and Canada.


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