What Are the Best Cranes to Use When Building a Skyscraper?

What Are the Best Cranes to Use When Building a Skyscraper?

Cranes are well-known for their use in erecting taller structures, and some of the most popular here are skyscrapers. What are the best cranes to use when building a skyscraper, and what else do you need to know about this process if you're involved in planning or construction?

At Mountain Crane Service, we're here to offer a huge fleet of crane rental options for various needs, plus various other crane rental services and additional solutions like wind turbines and more. Here are some basics on how skyscrapers are built, the role cranes play in them and the crane types often used for them.

Defining a Skyscraper

Some of our readers might be asking: What's a skyscraper? The basic definition of this term is any building that reaches at least 100 meters into the sky, and most experts agree that height is the defining factor. In many cases, you can look to local laws or regulations for exact numbers.

For the purposes of this blog, though, we're counting any building that's in this range as a skyscraper, with the upper limit often being around 300 meters. Some of the world's most famous structures, like the Burj Khalifa and the Empire State Building, are well over this number - but many others, especially in smaller cities or towns, come in under it.

Role of Cranes in Skyscraper Construction

Cranes play several important roles in the construction of skyscrapers, and often have a part to play from start to finish. Here are some of the key areas where cranes are utilized during this process:

  • Foundation work: Before any building can go up, you need to construct the foundation that will keep it stable. Cranes are used here for both digging trenches and placing concrete.
  • Structural framing: Once the foundation is in place, cranes are then used to lift and place large steel beams or other materials for the structural frame of the building.
  • Facade installation: After the skeleton of the building is complete, cranes come back into play for installing exterior elements like windows, walls, and balconies.
  • Interior finishing: As construction continues upwards, cranes are often used to transport materials and equipment like scaffolding, tools, and building materials to different levels.

Types of Cranes Used

Now that we've covered some of the basic roles cranes play in skyscraper construction, let's go over the most common types used for this purpose:

  • Tower cranes: These tall, fixed cranes sit on top of the building as it rises. They're designed to reach high heights and lift heavy loads while still maintaining stability. They have the highest lifting capacity of any crane type and are often used for the bulk of skyscraper construction.
  • Mobile cranes: These versatile cranes can be moved around the job site, making them useful for various tasks in different locations. They are often used for foundation work and installing exterior elements.
  • Crawler cranes: These self-propelled cranes have a track system that allows them to move on rough terrain. They're often used for heavy lifting during structural framing.

Methods for Getting a Crane On Top of a Skyscraper

For readers involved in new build projects for skyscrapers from the ground up, you can stop reading here - this section only applies to existing buildings. If you need to get a crane on top of a skyscraper that's already been built or is in the process of being built, here are some of the methods that can be used:

  • Use of a second crane: In some cases, a second crane can be used to lift the first one onto the top of the building. This tends to be a more expensive option, but it's also often the safest and most efficient.
  • External climbing method: In this method, the base of the crane will be fixed to a concrete slab in the ground while the crane tower is placed against the building. The tower then expands upward along the outside of the building using steel collars and a metallic sheath. This format also allows the crane to be moved back down using the same method in reverse.
  • Internal climbing method: In this method, which is only for jobs currently in construction, a corridor will be created within the building's frame for the crane to go through. This method is often more complex but can be useful in tight spaces.
  • Heavy lift helicopter: In other cases, a large helicopter can be used to lift the crane onto the building's top. This method is often very expensive and only used in specific situations.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing the right crane for a skyscraper construction project. If you're unsure about which type of crane is best for your needs, don't hesitate to contact us at Mountain Crane Service – our team of experts can help guide you through the process and provide you with the perfect solution for your project.

outline Logo black


Mountain Crane offers one of the largest fleet of cranes in the Mountain West! Our diverse fleet has the right crane for your job!