NZ’s Tallest Crane Under Construction

Fletchers has announced the introduction of a new state of the art tower crane that will make operators jobs even easier. What will become the country’s highest crane has gone up on the central Auckland site where New Zealand’s tallest tower block is being built.  

The German Liebherr 357 Luffing Crane was erected as part of the construction of the 39-level Commercial Bay tower on the corner of Albert St and Custom St which is scheduled for completion in 2019.

The initial height of the crane is 97m to the tip of the jib; however, it will climb to a final height of 225m by the end of the project. 

Fletcher Construction constructed the super crane using a number of mobile cranes including NZ Crane Hire’s 450 Grove GMK7450, which is New Zealand’s largest hydraulic crane. With a maximum load capacity of 450-tonne, the mobile crane has a telescopic boom of 60m with a further 79m of lattice jib extension giving it the capability to lift up to 7.2 tonne at a height of 130-metre height (or place 2.4 tonne at over 100 metres radius).   

Deane Manley, Managing Director of NZ Crane Hire, which is the longest running crane company in New Zealand, says it has done many large-scale jobs in its 60 years and while helping to build a crane of this size may seem a big challenge, the fundamentals of all of its jobs remain similar.

“Although cranes are still based on simple geometry and we are forever creating leveraged points of balance, which we’ve been doing ever since the Egyptians, a job like this highlights the need for careful planning, a high level of skill from the crane drivers and team work to get the job done.”

Mr Manley explained that the final stage of the crane build, where the boom was constructed, required two mobile cranes with the larger 450 Grove crane doing the majority of the high lifting and a smaller crane “helping out”.

“The 450 is perfect for this job because it has the capability to lift heavy weights to an extremely high level but because it’s highly mobile it’s able to work in a reasonably confined central city space.”  

At the heart of Commercial Bay will sit a stunning new 39 level office tower that will transform Auckland’s skyline.  It will be anchored by PwC and be known as the PwC Tower.  At the base of the tower sits a three level retail precinct with global flagship brands, diverse food and beverage and the highest concentration of quality retailers in one central, easily accessible location.   Commercial Bay’s world-class retail environment is due to open in late 2018 with the landmark office tower due for completion in 2019.

Commercial Bay is a project that’s indicative of the huge growth Auckland is currently undergoing, says Manley and there are many more years of construction work and development to come.

“We have played a major part in this growth and will continue to do so.  To meet demand we are constantly investing in our fleet with new cranes and new technology to ensure we’re providing the best machinery for our team to be able to get job’s like this done safely and efficiently.”

The new addition to the fleet marks a step in the right direction for both Fletchers and making the Precinct PWC tower a far easier prospect. Considering the project has already been set behind 6 months, the new tower crane should hopefully speed along the delay.

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