Tower Crane: The Top 6 Skyscrapers Built With Cranes

How did we get the Burj Khalifa or the Freedom Tower, you ask? With a tower crane of course. Here’s a list of the top six buildings built with cranes.

Without a doubt, skyscrapers are impressive feats of engineering. In cities around the world, incredible buildings stretch up to the heavens.

A building enters the category of a skyscraper if it stands 150 meters (492 feet) or higher. Of course, many skyscrapers stand much, much taller as you’ll see in a moment.

Have you ever wondered how the workers get up there to build these incredible buildings? It would be impossible to build skyscrapers without the use of a special piece of equipment. This aptly named piece of equipment is the tower crane.

There are so many amazing structures builders can create with the use of a good tower crane. Let’s take a look at some of the top buildings cities around the world have built with tower cranes.

Tower Crane Inspection

Burj Khalifa

You cannot create a list of the world’s tallest buildings without mentioning Dubai. The city is home to the luxurious and impressive Burj Khalifa. This mammoth structure dwarfs the rest of a city already full of skyscrapers.

At the time of this writing, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. It stands at 829.8 meters (2,722 feet) high. The Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia is poised to usurp that coveted title. But until construction is complete the Burj Khalifa has it.

In a city known for its extravagance, the Burj Khalifa does not disappoint. As you can imagine, it’s possible to pack a lot into a building this tall.

The Burj Khalifa boasts 30,000 homes, 19 residential towers, 9 hotels, and a 30-acre manmade lake. There’s also a shopping mall and space for offices.

The rest of Dubai is nothing to sneeze at either. Imagine what the view from up there is like.

Shanghai Tower

Shanghai has quite a few impressive structures, but the Shanghai Tower takes the cake. This building stands 632 meters (2,073 feet) tall. As elegant as it is tall, the building twists in a graceful way up to the sky.

It creates a trio with the Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Tower. This trio represents China’s past, present, and future.

The building houses 320 hotel rooms and space for 1,100 cars. There is also retail space, cafes, restaurants, and gardens.

For a breathtaking sight you’ll never forget, visit one of its 360-degree public spaces. Shanghai is an impressive place and it seems even more so when viewing it from so high up.

Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel

The Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel stands at 601 meters (1,971 feet) tall. Thus it is not the tallest building in the world. But it does have the largest clock tower.

The building is in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. But a German architect, Mahmoud Bodo Rasch, designed the gigantic clock. How big is that clock? The face of the clock is 43 square meters (141 square feet).

It is also called Abraj Al-Bait Towers. This building is important to Saudi Arabia’s culture and society. A large part of the building’s purpose is to offer services to Islamic pilgrims. Located not very far away is the Masjid al-Haram, the largest mosque in the world.

Inside, the building contains apartments, hotel rooms, a conference center, and shopping mall. It also has a huge prayer room (10,000 people), an Islamic museum, and a Lunar Observation Center. Visitors can go to the Observation Center during the Holy Months to view the moon.

In keeping with the Islamic culture, there are 21,000 green and white lights on top of the tower. These lights flash to signal prayers 5 times a day. They serve as a reminder to anyone within a 19-mile radius!

Ping An International Finance Centre

China makes the list again with the Ping An International Finance Centre. This sleek beast resides in Shenzhen and towers over its neighbors. It stands 599 meters (1,965 feet) tall.

In the original design, it was going to surpass the Shanghai Tower. That would have enabled it to claim its spot at the tallest building in China. During construction, however, a 60-meter antenna was removed from the design.

The reason? The builders were concerned about it being in the way of airplanes.

Ping An Insurance has their headquarters in this building. And there is ample room for more office space, hotels, retail space and a shopping mall. The top of the building boasts an observation deck from which you can see the whole city.

Lotte World Tower

Seoul, South Korea gets in on the action with their Lotte World Tower. This brilliant building stands 555 meters (1821 feet) tall.

This may be the most fun building on the list. It contains a theme park, movie theaters, and a huge shopping mall.

Of course, there is also ample space for residences, retail space, and offices. At the top, there are public access floors and a great observation deck.

One World Trade Center

The One World Trade Center holds great significance for the United States. The building is both a memorial to 9/11 and a statement of hope for the future.

Even the building’s height holds significance. It measures 541 meters or 1,776 feet. Remember that the Founders signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Lots of forward-thinking technology was added to this building. Of course, an innovative new security system was very important.

Plus, there are great bits of technology like life-safety systems and sustainability. The building also uses renewable energy, reuses rainwater, and has heavy fireproofing.

The building holds office space, restaurants, and antennae for broadcasting facilities. The transportation hub for the World Trade Center is there now. Plus the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

The Importance of The Tower Crane

None of these buildings would exist with the tower crane. It is a very important piece of equipment for construction, especially of this type.

We exist to ensure that these cranes are in good working order. We also offer training to ensure that the operators know what they are doing.

Tower crane operators need to be properly trained to ensure safety. Between 1992 and 2006 roughly 22 workers died per year in crane accidents. The right training and proper inspections can prevent most of these accidents.

Contact us today! We’ll be happy to provide more information about our training or inspections services.

Have you ever wondered how the skyscraper your working in was built?

New heights are possible now with updated tower cranes and their technology

You see tower cranes every time you drive around. These massive structures that help build other massive structures are impossible to miss. They inspire both awe as to how something that tall are constructed and fear that they might tip over at any moment.

When you take a moment to really look at them and how they operate, you are left with more questions than answers.

How can these structures be so thin yet able to pick up those weights? It’s the same type of amazement you feel watching a 100 lb woman lift a ridiculously heavy barbell in Olympic weightlifting.

And how do these things ‘grow’ like vines sprouting out of a block in Super Mario? If your curiosity is killing you, this article will shed light on these questions.

Tower Crane Inspection

Breaking the Tower Crane into Parts

To understand how these monstrosities work, let’s look at the important parts.

  1. The construction crew prepares a concrete pad weeks in advance to serve as the foundation for the crane. The pad typically measures 30 feet by 30 feet and four feet in depth. The weight is about 400,000 pounds.
  2. The base is bolted to the concrete pad.
  3. The mast is the tower-like structure that gives the tower crane its height. It is secured above the base. It is made up of sections that are stacked on top of each other and bolted together. Each section usually measures 8 feet by 8 feet and twenty feet high.
  4. At the top of the mast is the slewing unit. This houses the gears and motor that allow the ‘arms’ of the crane to rotate.
  5. Tower cranes stand like a person extending both arms to the sides, with one arm longer than the other. Both arms are part of the slewing unit. The shorter horizontal arm is called the machinery armwhich contains the motor, gears, and electronics of the crane. It also carries the counterweights.
  6. The jib is the longer horizontal arm. It is also called the working arm because it is the one that bears the load. It has a trolley that can move the load from the crane’s center to the outer segment back and forth.
  7. The third part of the slewing unit is the operator’s cab. This is the ‘cockpit’ where the pilot controls the movements of the crane like a giant mecha robot. Tower crane operators require extensive training.

Don’t Sway

A tower crane looks a lot like a toddler’s building blocks. You can stack blocks on top of one another and watch the tower grow. But there will come a point where just breathing on it will cause the whole structure to crash.

How does the tower crane avoid the fate of its little counterpart?

There are several differences between a tower crane and a tower block. The first factor that gives the crane stability is the strong base of support. The whole thing is essentially fixed to the ground due to the base being anchored to the heavy concrete pad.

The mast of a tower crane has sections much like the building blocks of a block tower. The difference is that the construction crew attaches the sections together with heavy-duty steel bolts. The mast itself has a lattice structure that contributes to its strength and stability.

A Balancing Act


The two arms of the tower crane are like a balance scale or a seesaw. In essence, it is a lever simple machine with the fulcrum in the middle.

Because the jib or working arm is longer, it has a mechanical advantage over the shorter machinery arm. This is why the machinery arm holds the heavy motor, gears, and additional concrete counterweights.

A free-standing tower crane is actually slightly off-balanced in favor of the machinery arm. The strong base foundation handles the additional stress. Adding load to the working arm and adjusting the distance of the trolley from the center put the crane into a balanced state.

From this, you can surmise how important load testing these machines are. The safety and stability of the whole structure depend on how carefully the weights are balanced. This is also the reason why electronic sensors are present to prevent overloading.


Tower Cranes Soaring into the Sky


How do tower cranes grow to gargantuan heights? The method is actually an ingenious one that uses various applications of physics.

Mast sections are added or rather inserted into a tower crane. A climber or climbing frame surrounds the section just below the slewing unit.

Here are the steps that pull off this feat.

  1. The construction crew loads a weight on the jib. This is important because of the next step.
  2. The crew then detaches the slewing unit which consists of the two arms and the operator cab. Remember when we said that a free-standing tower crane slightly favors the machinery arm? If weight is not hanged from the jib as a counterbalance, the slewing unit will tip over to the side of the machinery arm.
  3. The climbing frame will then lift the slewing unit using hydraulic rams, pushing it upwards a distance slightly above twenty feet.
  4. The mast section to be inserted is picked up by the crane. The crew then attaches the twenty-foot section into the gap created by the climber.
  5. Congratulations, the tower crane is now twenty feet higher. Repeat as needed.


Some Numbers

So what can these bad boys do? Here are some specifications of your average tower crane.

  1. The maximum unsupported height is about 265 feet. To achieve heights greater than 265 feet, the crane needs to be fastened to the building with steel collars.
  2. The maximum reach is 230 feet.
  3. How much weight can it handle? Tower cranes are typically rated for weights of 18 metric tons or 39690 pounds. This maximum weight can only be safely carried by positioning the trolley as close to the center as possible.
  4. The counterweights on the machinery arm weigh about 20 tons or 40000 pounds.


The Importance of Knowledge and Training


Tower cranes are wonders of engineering that require extensive training to operate. We discussed the importance of the load chart and this is part of the curriculum that we offer.

Contact us now. We are happy to provide answers to your questions and any additional information you may need.