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Crane Rentals, Warehouse and Logistics

Society Hill Towers

Society Hill Towers

HVAC Equipment Replacement

Society Hill Towers, Old City, Philadelphia PA

Project: HVAC Equipment Lift
Critical Crane Lift: Yes
Equipment: 500 Ton Liebherr All Terrain Crane

Project Overview

Summary: Society Hill Towers located in Old City Philadelphia, is a historic and architecturally significant complex containing three 31-story skyscraper buildings on a 5-acre site. The complex is constructed of poured-in-place concrete with each apartment / condominium unit featuring floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

The Challenges: Delicate Cobblestone streets, underground parking garages and tunnels and a crane equipment requiring an extra distance set-back long reach the building was constructed high atop a hill made an ordinary construction crane reach impossible. Adding to Thackray Crane’s constraints and challenges was the occupied towers, limited street closures blocking a neighboring hotels parking garage entrance, and a limited work staging area required for crane assembly, operation and large HVAC equipment haul-away and deliveries. A strict time schedule requiring that the entire crane related activities, including crane assembly and disassembly, equipment picks, removal of old equipment and the delivery and lifting of new equipment be completed within an 18 hour job window. Because work was performed during a weekday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, there was also added traffic conditions and street closures to contend with throughout the day.

The Workday: The top priority for the day was job site, worker and public safety. Spectators, building occupants, and neighboring business traffic was redirected throughout the workday by a team of individuals that included members from Society Hill Towers, General Contractors, Philadelphia Police, Thackray Crane and others. Thackray Crane’s work began in the early morning well before sunrise. As planned and coordinated by Thackray’s project planning and dispatch team, the streets were closed off by the Philadelphia Police Department. Officers remained onsite throughout the day to redirect traffic and pedestrians. Crane equipment assembly was finished just before sunrise. By first daylight, as the General contractor and others began arriving on site, the crane’s engines roared to life for several test runs and final testing and boom positioning.

Critical Crane Lift: This lift was considered a critical lift because of several factors, including a congested job site and neighboring businesses that remained open during the work. This required further safety precautions including manpower to redirect traffic and pedestrians near a neighboring hotel. Adding to the challenges was the dynamic range each crane pick required in order to avoid the possibility to the surrounding foilage and structures.

Throughout the day, many picks were made to remove the aging equipment, piece by piece from the 31 story roof top. While teams of contractors worked top side on the roof, others worked simultaneously at ground level to add the finishing touches, safety rails and other components to the new HVAC equipment. Once ready, the HVAC equipment was gently lifted off the cobblestone ground and lowered onto the rooftop where construction crew members used tag lines to help guide equipment into final position. Communication with the crane operator was maintained via radio and hand signals as the new HVAC equipment was lifted to a position well over 400 feet in the air and then lowered gently and precisely into position.

At the end of the day everyone was satisfied by the safe, smooth symphony-like operation as the Thackray Crane team disassembled equipment, loaded the Thackray tractor trailers with crane lattice and counterweights, and gracefully pulled away into the sunset at the end of the day.