Fast-track Projects Receive a Lift From Potain

Fast-track Projects Receive a Lift From Potain

Published: April, 2016


It is easy to recognise a Madison Construction site in the country. Apart from the quick rate in which its buildings go up, all of the building contractor’s sites feature at least one Potain crane. This is the only tower crane brand that the building arm of Stor-Age, a specialist storage property developer, uses for all its lifting requirements.

And, one can expect to see many more Potains as Stor-Age embarks on a drive to double its storage facilities nationwide over the next five years.

Two of its projects are already well under way in strategically located suburbs in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

In Essexwold, Madison Construction is developing a storage facility comprising two basements and two floors. A Potain MCT 88 crane is being used to lift scaffolding and raw material in the preparation stages of the build. It will then move onto handling the formwork and building materials as well as help place the trusses and steel sheeting to complete the roof. In addition, it will be put to good use lifting pallets containing all the necessary finishings that will be unpacked inside the structure and installed throughout after the roof has been completed.

Like most of Madison Construction’s builds, this is a fast track project that is expected to be completed within eight months.

The sheer speed at which the contractor erects these buildings for its parent company means that it sticks to the business of building shying away from owning its own fleet of construction equipment. This includes all its tower cranes, which it rents from SA French, the local agent for Potain. “We did consider buying a few pre-owned cranes a while back, but decided against it. Owning cranes is certainly not our profession. We are adept at building, and definitely don’t want to start dabbling in the intricacies of storing, maintaining and transporting them. Apart from being extremely specialised, it is very costly and time consuming,” says Leon de Klerk, contracts manager at Madison Construction.

This is the fourth Potain that De Klerk has been exposed to working on various projects for Madison Construction, and he says every rental crane supplied by this division of Torre Lifting Solutions that he has worked with is in immaculate condition.

This is especially the case with the Potain MCT 88 being used on this site. “It is well maintained and in a really good shape. A lot of work goes into preparing them for their various rental projects,” says De Klerk.

The seamless installation of the crane has given the team some respite on this challenging site. It was erected and ready to use in two days. “By the second day, the electricians were able to commission it and all the load tests were done,” he says.

This professional service has been welcomed by De Klerk and his team considering the complex start to the project.

With the site completely water logged due to its proximity to a river, Madison Construction had to excavate up to six metres deep to remove the wet ground, spoiling about 15 000 m3 of material from the 2 500 m2 site. Meanwhile, a third of the site had to be blasted due to the significant rock outcrops in the large excavation.

This meant that an unusually large foundation had to be built to support the crane. It is 4,5 metres high and anchored into solid bedrock, and adequately designed to support the crane as it gets on with its activities. The Potain MCT 88 is being supported by a mobile crane due to the space restrictions; another significant challenge facing the contractor.

The site is sandwiched between the N3 highway, an Eskom high voltage transmission line and a river forcing the contractor to pump up to 6 000 litres of water a day from the site, and there is just not enough space to introduce a second crane as initially intended.

While this structure can be built without a crane, De Klerk says it will take up to three times longer, and he welcomes the Potain MCT 88, which is supplied with a competent operator.

The crane can lift 1,1 t at 50 metres and has a maximum lifting capacity of 5 t at 13,7 metres. It is equipped with a 52 metre jib and chassis and its hook height is 30 metres.

“These are very impressive features and one of the many reasons that we prefer using Potain,” says De Klerk. Initially, he only wanted a 100 t crane, but SA French did not have any available at the time so it brought a 160 t unit to the site at no extra cost to the contractor.

Werner Killian, also one of Madison Construction’s contracts managers, was involved in the design of the civil works on this site including the foundation for the crane. He is also overseeing 1 000 m2 of storage space being developed in Sunninghill, where a Potain MC85B is being put through its paces.

This is the third time that he has used a Potain crane from SA French and discloses that the value proposition the company brings to Madison Construction’s sites is a competitive rental rate and excellent backup service. “Price, quality and service play a major role in helping us decide with who we should partner,” says Killian. In general, Madison Construction insists that all its supply chain partners respond to its needs six days a week.

This building crew is also on an extremely tight construction schedule and is expected to complete the structure within the next four to six months. The building will comprise a basement and five levels.

The Potain MC85B can lift 1,3 t at 50 metres, and has a maximum lifting capacity of 5 t at 15 metres. It is equipped with a 50 metre jib and chassis and has a hook height of 34,5 metres.

The crane is lifting and placing concrete and formwork as well as the materials needed, such as bricks and reinforcing, for the build. The crane will also help place the trusses and sheeting for the roof, before being removed from the site by SA French, a much easier task than at the highly congested site in Essexwold, which De Klerk says “SA French will handle with ease”.

Both Killian and De Klerk agree that the building industry will always stick with the tried-and-tested and as such they look forward to working with SA French on more Stor-Age projects.