In the busy city of London, the construction of high-rise structures is a complex and carefully choreographed process that combines engineering expertise and logistical precision. Construction companies in this urban environment must carefully plan and execute each step of the process. The challenges they face are as varied as the city itself, requiring constant attention and expertise.

Lifting operations can be particularly hazardous. The great number of variables and potential risks call for highly experienced professionals to assess, plan and carry out each project. With over thirty-five years of experience alongside industry-leading personnel and equipment, Emerson Crane Hire provides trustworthy services for lifting operations throughout London.

Building Amongst Giants: The Complexities of Using Mobile Cranes for High-rise Construction in London

Some of the main challenges faced during high-rise construction projects in densely populated cities include:

  • Limited Space for Operation: London, with its tightly packed streets and densely populated neighbourhoods, leaves little room for error. The available space for construction cranes and other heavy machinery is often scarce, forcing firms to innovate and adapt. In such a confined urban environment, the selection of the right type of construction crane becomes crucial.
  • Close Proximity to Existing Structures: The iconic buildings that already define London’s cityscape stand as both a testament to architectural achievement and a logistical puzzle for new building projects. Constructing high-rises within close proximity to existing structures requires pinpoint precision. The risk of damage to neighbouring buildings must be minimised, and this calls for cranes that can be operated with finesse and control. 
  • Concerns for Population and Pedestrian Safety: In the heart of a thriving metropolis, ensuring the safety of both construction workers and the general public is paramount. The sheer volume of foot traffic demands a level of vigilance that extends beyond the site itself. 
  • Navigating Critical Infrastructure: Beneath the busy streets lies a complex network of infrastructure, including bridges, roads, underground rail tunnels and power supplies. High-rise construction projects must navigate this labyrinth with care and precision. Understanding the hazards of what you are working over, around or in between is of vital importance.

The nature of building in congested cities has forced engineers to adapt construction crane design to the multifaceted challenges presented by high-rise construction in London. These versatile machines include mobile tower cranes, heavy all-terrain cranes, city cranes and spider cranes. As we explore their functions and capabilities, it becomes evident that the success of high-rise building construction in London hinges upon the expertise and innovation that mobile cranes bring to the forefront of the urban stage.


Types of Cranes Utilised for High-rise Construction in London

Although there are numerous makes and models of cranes used for different functions, some of the types of construction cranes you might see on a high-rise project could include:

  • Mobile Tower Cranes: One of the standout stars in the world of high-rise construction is the mobile tower crane, exemplified by models like the Spierings SK1265-AT6. This crane provides a maximum lift capacity of 10 T, a lifting radius of 60 m and a maximum lifting height of 64.2 m. This construction crane combines the stability of a tower crane with the practicality and versatility of a mobile crane, as it is simple to assemble and disassemble and can be moved around a site.

Mobile tower cranes are designed with stability in mind, crucial in London’s crowded urban environment. Their compact footprint allows them to fit into tight spaces, and they can be easily manoeuvred into position. In addition, these cranes are equipped with advanced safety features to ensure the protection of pedestrians and nearby structures.

  • Heavy All-Terrain Cranes: When it comes to lifting massive loads in the heart of London, heavy all-terrain cranes like the Liebherr 1450-8.1 play a pivotal role. These colossal machines possess the strength and versatility to handle the most challenging construction tasks. Whether it’s lifting heavy steel beams, prefabricated concrete sections or mechanical equipment, these cranes excel in delivering power and precision.

With a maximum lift capacity of 450 T, the 8 axle Liebherr LTM 1450 8.1 features an 85 metre telescoping boom. The VarioBase® outrigger system is of great benefit on sites with space restrictions. Despite its size, the Liebherr LTM 1450 8.1 is apt for travelling to and from sites on public roads.

  • City Cranes: Urban construction in London often demands the use of specialised equipment like city cranes, such as the Demag AC-40. These construction cranes are engineered to thrive in tight urban spaces, where manoeuvrability and precision are paramount. 

The Demag AC-40 City Crane is the ideal choice for lifting projects in tight spaces, offering a great power-to-weight ratio. This compact city crane offers a maximum lifting capacity of 40 T, with a 31 m boom length and an additional 13 m swing round fly-jib. Its compact design allows it to access narrow streets and confined areas with ease.

  • Spider Cranes: 

For high-rise construction projects that require precision in extremely confined spaces, spider cranes like the UNIC URW 706 are indispensable. These compact cranes can fit through doorways and into lifts, allowing them to be easily transported to upper floors of buildings under construction. Their versatility extends to tasks like glazing, steel erection and HVAC installation.

Spider cranes are prized for their ability to work within the confines of an existing structure without causing disruption or damage. Their outrigger system provides exceptional stability, even on uneven surfaces, making them a preferred choice for intricate tasks in urban environments.

With a width of only 1.6 m, the UNIC URW 706 Spider Crane is the largest of its kind. It has a 6 T capacity at a height of up to 3 m, and a maximum hook height of almost 20 m, permitting some impressive lifting operations for a machine of its size.

Choose Emerson Construction Crane Hire in London

High-rise construction in London presents a myriad of challenges, from limited space and proximity to existing structures to safety concerns and the need to protect critical infrastructure. Emerson Crane Hire are well-equipped to meet the unique demands of high-rise construction in the heart of the city. For more information on mobile crane hire for your next project, contact Emerson Cranes on 0208 548 39 00.