An Engineered Solution: Placing Five Air Handlers into a Commercial High-Rise in Seattle, WA
- GMK 6300L 350-ton crane with full CW
- engineered lifting platform
- and multiple OM transport trucks and trailers.
Just north of downtown Seattle, contractors were at work on tenant improvements for a newly constructed commercial high-rise building. Five floors required additional air handling units to meet the occupants’ increased ventilation needs. However, the elevators were too small and headroom within the building was limited—which meant landing the units through typical crane or machinery moving installations was impossible.
Fortunately, the onsite mechanical contractor—a frequent customer of Omega Morgan—knew just who to call for innovative, full-service solutions. In addition to utilizing our Seattle-based crane services team for the move, we provided convenient storage of the air handling units during the planning phase.
INNOVATIVE CRANE SERVICE ENGINEERING
Preparation began by receiving and unloading the five hefty two-segment units—the heaviest of each weighed 6,500 pounds—into our Fife warehouse. Through innovative engineering, our crane services crew determined that with an engineered platform, the units could be lifted to their designated floors, offloaded through modified window openings, and skated into place.
With that solution in mind, Omega Morgan’s crew met with the General and Mechanical Contractors onsite to facilitate scheduling, layout, and the equipment specifications and dimensions. Over numerous site visits, the team developed the platform design and the required window opening modifications to secure the platform to the building for safe receiving. During this planning process, our crew coordinated with outside general contractors to ensure the crew would have parking lot access on our crane dates. We also met with the City of Seattle to obtain street use and alley permits for the scheduled weekend.
For the final piece of planning, Omega Morgan’s team returned to our Fife warehouse with the Mechanical Contractor to perform test lifts with the 11-foot by 20-foot platform setup. Testing with one section of the air handler to get balance points for weight, our expert riggers built the necessary rigging and spreader bars for the crane lifts. OM engineers then modified the platform with additional safety features for the tie-down and roll-off in preparation for the real deal.
SAFE, PRECISE, RELIABLE CRANE SERVICES
Omega Morgan’s crane services team—composed of eight crew members and one project manager—began at 5 a.m., mobilizing our 350-ton crane into position in the adjacent, blocked-off parking lot. Safety always comes first with our teams; after the pre-lift safety meeting, the components and equipment arrived on site, thanks to a coordinated delivery by OM’s crane services team and rigging division. The first lift included placing the HVAC equipment onto the roof—a height of about 175 feet—before moving onto the air handler lifts.
Each of the five floors—the second, fourth, sixth, eighth, and tenth—needed to receive both sections of one air handling unit. Together with the platform and equipment, the weight of each lift equaled about 22,000 pounds.
Omega Morgan provided one Certified Bellman and one Certified Rigger at each window opening, where they could signal to the crane and assist the Mechanical Contracting (MC) team. After OM removed each section from the platform, the MC’s crew was responsible for placing them into their final locations. To verify the effectiveness of the platform’s layout, the team began with the 30-foot-high, second-floor window in case any adjustments were needed.
The lift, securement, and rollout went according to plan, and our team finished offloading the first two sections. Next, the crew lifted the following two sections 150 feet high to the tenth floor, where they were unloaded. In the final lift of day one, our team loaded the platform with two more segments and lifted it to a height of 120 feet for offloading onto the eighth floor.
The following morning, our team began with the sixth-floor window opening, lifting and offloading two sections at a height of 90 feet. The final two air handler sections were unloaded at the fourth-floor window opening, 60 feet up. With the platform back on the ground, OM’s crane services team completed the last crane lift to place additional HVAC equipment—stainless steel ducting sections—on the roof. After disassembly and cleanup, Team Green left the job site, concluding two successful days of crane and rigging work. The General and Mechanical Contractors were pleased with our coordination, communication, safety protocols, and the quality of our work—all of which made for a very successful project.