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  • Writer's pictureDD Construction

Raising the Roof and the Bar: How We Use Construction Cranes for Metal Building Erection

You stand in awe, watching steel girders and trusses rise into the painted sky — like a testament to human innovation. Clients talk about the satisfaction they get watching our team efficiently craft their building. They enjoy watching large and small equipment and teams all working together to achieve a goal.

It’s easy to see why more and more clients are choosing to work with a metal building contractor for commercial and industrial projects. It’s such an optimized process. Metal buildings are an increasingly sustainable building solution, and you get the added benefit of quicker construction times than conventional construction.

“Pre-engineered metal building” refers to the process of designing and pre-punching building components to make it easier to build on-site. So, even the method we use to design and create the structures is optimized for speed and safety.

When your building system arrives at the job site, the pieces are pre-arranged in the order they should be erected. This is when the good stuff starts. We’ll use specialized equipment and advanced procedural training to safely and quickly complete your metal building erection.

You get to sit back in awe as your building system grows from a foundation to a covered building in no time. Cranes are critical to your project and will be hard to miss on-site.

Our cranes keep your project on track. They keep our crews moving massive and heavy materials all around the job site, and they help do it safely.

We choose the cranes needed to achieve top-quality construction based on your project scope and the actual building site. Our main focus is keeping all employees and visitors safe during construction while accurately and quickly completing the project.

Cranes Used in Metal Building Erection

You’ll see a few different cranes on construction sites, but Mobile Cranes are the big workhorse most of us think of first. The first “mobile” cranes were mounted on railways and ran on steam.

A mobile crane is often used on a metal building erection project to lift and move heavy steel beams, columns, trusses, and other parts into place. Specifically, mobile cranes are used to hoist these heavy materials from the ground and gently place them onto the building's foundation or structure.

We find that mobile cranes are particularly useful in metal building construction because they can easily maneuver around the site, as opposed to a crane on rails for instance, and they easily move heavy loads to great heights. That perfect combination of skills makes them a necessity for any good crew.

As well as lifting and placing heavy materials, we also use mobile cranes to position prefabricated sections of your metal building, install mechanical and electrical components, and remove debris from the site.

There are 3 main types of mobile cranes you’ll see on a DD Construction site:

● Boom Trucks

● Hydraulic Cranes

● Rought-Terrain Cranes

Boom Trucks

A boom truck has a boom or telescopic arm mounted on a truck chassis. The boom can be raised, lowered, and extended to different lengths using hydraulic cylinders. The crane is usually operated by a trained operator from a control station located on the truck.

They’re all about power and are great for carefully maneuvering building pieces. We use boom trucks to lift and place steel components like beams and trusses into position during construction.

We’ll typically use a boom truck for its superior maneuverability, as compared to something like a tower crane or just larger crane trucks.

Hydraulic Cranes

Sometimes called a “Hydro Crane,” and as their proper name suggests, these cranes are powered by hydraulics. These are the big dogs, the workhorses. Hydraulic cranes lift massively heavy objects easily, carefully, and safely.

Able to lift heavier loads and reach taller heights, hydraulic cranes are also weighted to be more stable than boom trucks. Counterweights on the crane provide a solid footing, keeping the crane firmly attached to the good, solid ground.

While there are some boom trucks with greater lifting capacity than some hydraulic cranes, most hydraulic cranes can lift more weight higher, more safely, and are the go-to choice.

Rough-Terrain Cranes

You also might catch sight of a rough-terrain crane on a DD Construction job site. These cranes are well-named and are built for heavy lifting in less-than-ideal terrain.

Great for early site work and some of our remote sites, we use these less often than the other two types but they are pivotal when needed — no other crane can do what they do where they can do it.

Rough-terrain cranes have built-in counterweights and also often have stabilizers for extra balance. Their counterweights are usually adjustable to the job at hand. This assures you’re not carrying more weight than you have to across uneven or rough ground.

Is Your Contractor Building Safely? What You Should Know.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a safe way to erect a metal building system without cranes. When your contractor arrives on site, take a good look at their equipment. Does it look substantial enough? Are they operating it safely? Is it in good working condition?

Any reputable metal building erection company or supply and erect contractor should be willing to walk you through their safety measures. They should be more than comfortable answering your questions and they should take the time to do so.

Trust your instincts! Safety is a top priority on a DD Construction job site. Watching each other’s back and using the most appropriate equipment is the only way we do business.

Ready to build? Get in touch for a consultation about your next metal building system: call us at (303) 536-6074 or email

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