Planning a Lift

By: Chelsea Giles

May 29, 2018

What is a Lift Plan?

A lift plan is a detailed, calculated plan used during a project in which a crane is required to lift heavy loads. The lift plan describes each detail of the lift, how the crane will perform the lift, and how each stage of the project will be carried out. This piece of engineering is followed by all crew members and supervisors to ensure everyone knows the game plan.

Crane preparing to lift a building

Why is a lift plan necessary?

Our first priority is safety at WM Services. The best way to ensure safety is to plan ahead and prevent any accidents that may occur when working with heavy equipment, like cranes and rigging.

Planning helps our team detect potential dangers and consider how to avoid these dangers and other unexpected obstacles. We carefully have planned each step of the project and have prepared the necessary equipment and crew to perform the task at hand.

To protect crew, equipment, and prevent accidents, many regulations exist and are encouraged to be followed. The lift plan abides by these regulations and leaves little wiggle room for sloppy, unstructured procedures. WM Services takes extra care to make sure all regulations are followed.

How do Engineers create a Lift Plan?

Cranes perfectly equipped for the lift job, it's important to have the right equipment for crane lifts

1. Assess the job

Before coming up with a plan, crane engineers assess the job at hand and take in data in order to make proper calculations and be prepared for the lift. This process is repeated with every job that comes across our engineers’ desks. Each job is unique and has different challengers, so no lift plan can be reused. Engineers will assess what unique challenges will be faced during a project.

To make the project easier to tackle, the process is broken down into stages.

2. Site Visit

After evaluating the basics of the project, engineers then visit the site of the lift to collect more data and assess potential hazards and obstacles. They view the ground condition and terrain, potential hazards, and restrictions of the area, such as if there are surrounding buildings to work around, overhead structures, or if it’s difficult to access.

It is important to assess the entire area to see what lifting conditions will be like and available room for the crane to move.

3. Compute Calculations

Calculations to prepare for a crane haul and lift

After collecting various data points at the site and in the job information, it’s time for the engineer to make a few calculations. Some numbers like load weight, shape, and center of gravity are computed to properly map out each stage of the lifting process and make sure we have the right equipment to carry out the task. It’s important to calculate how much the crane can lift at a time, how much space its arm needs to swing, and if the terrain can handle the weight of the equipment and load. If there are any apparent obstacles, like not enough room for the crane to move as it needs, the engineers will figure out a few feasible solutions during this process.

They’ll also calculate and state crane placement, lift area, swing radius, capacities, rigging required to stabilize the load, and how much ground area needs to be blocked off to protect pedestrians and crew.

4. Equipment

Based off their calculations, engineers then recommend which equipment and rigging to use for the project. Each project needs a crane that can lift its specific load weight, fit in the available work area, are compatible with the terrain, and have a boom long enough for the load. WM Services has a wide selection of cranes available to select for specific lifting needs.

 

5. Technical Drawing

Crane Rental Service engineering

After calculations are computed, the area is assessed, and equipment and rigging are decided on, the engineer pulls everything together in a technical drawing to display every detail. The technical drawing is a blueprint showing each stage of the project, where the crane will be placed, how each lift will be conducted, and how to avoid obstacles. The technical drawing unifies the team, educates them how to carry out the lift, and helps each person know their part in the project. View an example below:

6. Inspection and Supervision

 

The last part of creating a lift plan involves setting up a few safety precautions. A reliable method of communication is selected to allow crane operators to easily communicate with project managers and spotters. Communication needs to be easy to use and fail proof in times of crisis.

Site supervisors are selected to follow the lift plan according to specifications and to constantly supervise the entire lifting process. Both supervisors and crew members are trained on safety procedures and the technical skills required of them during the lift. Areas surrounding the crane are cleared for crew members, equipment, and civilians.

Crane Supervisor communicates with crane operator

Mandatory inspections of all cranes and equipment are conducted before any lift takes place. In the process of creating a lift plan, we make sure each piece of equipment selected for the job is inspected and thoroughly examined. This might be the most important part of a lift plan and prevents innumerable accidents a year.

 

The most important part of operating a crane is the planning process, but planning a crane haul and lift is not as simple as it may seem. With a lot of crew, massive equipment, expensive materials, and the success of a project on the line, there are a lot of details to plan for. WM Services Crane & Rigging has engineers on hand to carefully plan out each job and make sure the haul and lift are as safe, organized, and cost efficient as possible. Contact WM Services to learn more about our lift planning processes or for help with your next lifting project.