Mini-cranes improve office tower’s radiance in Montreal

Andrew Snook
January 22, 2019
By
A major hub in downtown Montreal’s central business district is getting a makeover, and mini-cranes are at the heart of the work designed to make the building radiant in more way than one.

At 1 Place Ville Marie, a wide variety of upgrades are being performed over a two-year span, including the installation of a hydronically heated snowmelt system. The piping for the glycol-based heating system is being laid on the ground with 10,000 square metres of concrete slabs being installed overtop – each one measuring 1.5m x 1.5m by 3 in. thick and weighing 1,500-lb.

Pomerleau, the general contractor for the project, sub-contracted Aménagement Côté Jardin to perform the installation of the slabs. Aménagement Côté Jardin started out using an excavator to perform the installations, but was having issues with the overall accuracy and efficiencies using this method. Jean-Patrick Blanchette, estimate director for Aménagement Côté Jardin, said the excavators could transport the slabs close to where they needed to be installed, but still required additional

movement after the lifts were completed. For this reason, they decided to try out using two Maeda MC305-2 mini crawler cranes for the installations, and the equipment change paid off immediately for the installers.

“The crane is more accurate, [the slab] goes right on where you need it to go,” Blanchette explains. “The mini crane is way more easy to use and the extra reach, compared to excavator, allowed them to work faster.”

Aménagement Côté Jardin rented the two Maeda MC305-2 mini crawler cranes from MFG Cranes on an 18-month contract. MFG Cranes’ Dany Mireault said the mini-cranes were an ideal choice since the company has restrictions on site.

“You cannot put big cranes there because of space limitations and weight limitations. They wanted to rent something that they could use on the jobsite that doesn’t take much space and was below the tolerances by the terrace surface,” he says. “They also needed boom reach… the mini-crane has all three requirements.”

Mireault added that the MC305-2 was the unit specifically needed for the jobsite, since the MC405 was too heavy and the MC285-2 was not strong enough.

“That’s why this is interesting, you have all the limitations there and you have to get that crane model specific,” he says.

Another potential option was to use a larger crane from the street, but this would have required the closing of streets in a busy section of downtown Montreal and would have been very costly to the sub-contractor, according to Mireault.

“With this type of crane they can do all the work from the source,” he says, referring to the MC305-2. “It’s a type of crane that is easy to operate. They put their crane operator on it and rent the crane for one-and-a-half years. It’s easy to do the maintenance since there’s almost nothing to maintain.”

This was the first time Aménagement Côté Jardin decided to try using mini-cranes for an installation, but after seeing a big uptick in efficiency it certainly won’t be their last.

“At the beginning with the excavator we could install about 20 slabs in a day, but with the mini-crane we were able to do 35 or 36 slabs,” Blanchette says, adding that there are other projects his company works on that could benefit from having a mini-crane on site, like curb installations and working in underground parking garages. “We’re looking into buying one, maybe; make some lifts without an excavator.”

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