Potain Crane Assists in Pittsburgh Expansion Project

Posted by on 29 December 2009

November 19, 2007 – A tight, urban jobsite prompted a local lifting services provider to specify a Potain HDT 80 self-erecting tower crane for a department store conversion project in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa. Known as the Piatt Place, the commercial site recently underwent redevelopment to transform it to a high-end condominium and retail complex.

The HDT 80 worked for sub-contractor Century Steel Erectors and helped add two stories to the existing five-story building. Local Potain dealer American Contractors supplied the HDT 80 to Century Steel.

Chuck McKee, project manager at Century Steel, said a lack of space forced the company to look at alternatives to its normal lifting choices. “We chose
the HDT 80 because lifting work had to take place in a narrow street. Space was very limited,” he said. “But with the small outrigger footprint, we could set up the crane and keep pedestrians moving.”

Construction work took place in 30’x30’ bays. The heaviest loads were header beams, weighing up to 4,500 pounds each. The crane also lifted 1,500-pound infill beams and bundles of metal floor decks weighing up to 4,500 pounds.

Chuck McKee said the crane’s performance was exceptional. “We were very impressed with the line speed of the crane and the chart was fabulous,” he said. “It picked exactly what it said it would.”

Century also took advantage of the crane’s remote control. McKee said it allowed them to save on labor costs. “By using the remote control, we were able to eliminate the radio man,” he said.

Portability was also important for the job. “At one stage we had to move the crane to another location which took just five or six hours,” McKee said. “If you look at that versus a normal top-slewing tower crane there’s no comparison in terms of speed and ease. They are definitely an attractive prospect especially somewhere like Pittsburgh with its tight, narrow streets.”

Century Steel was involved in the construction of the original department store back in 1998. The 150’x150’ square building was initially 70 feet above street level. This has increased 35 feet with the addition of the extra floors. Reinforcement work started in June, while the crane handled construction work during September.