Successful Crane HVAC Rooftop Installation Tips
Lifting these heavy objects to their installation points, often high on roofs, is a tricky and dangerous job that requires the expertise of a trained crane crew. Even compared to other lifts of similar height and weight, there are some additional safety concerns to take into account when planning. Whether you operate your own crane or use a rental, here are our top tips for installing rooftop HVAC units.
1. Inspect the Rooftop Installation Site
It doesn’t matter if it is a new construction or an existing building. Perform a thorough inspection of the roof area on which you are installing the new HVAC equipment. Look for leaks or weak spots that might factor into not only your lift and installation but could cause problems quickly.
A roof with compromised structural integrity risks endangering your crew right at the end of a lift, and installing heavy equipment on a damaged roof can leave you with an unhappy customer in a few months.
2. Pay Special Attention to Weight and Rigging Balance
An unbalanced load runs an increased risk of shifting during a lift, endangering the surrounding crews and structures.
If the HVAC unit is for a commercial building, it is designed with everything built into one single piece, which leads to a heavy item with a deceptive center of gravity. It may seem square or rectangular, but the visual center of the HVAC unit is seldom accurate due to the internal layout of components. The manufacturer should provide a diagram with specifications for the specific model.
3. Perform a Test Lift
Once you think everything is rigged up appropriately, take the time to perform a test lift of the equipment. Just a short lift of one to two feet can help you determine if something is off balance and whether the rigging can handle the weight of the HVAC unit.
It might be tempting to skip, but just a quick test can ensure your rigging is up to the task. You may need some additional types of rigging to ensure everything is secure such as synthetic web, round slings, or spreader bars.
4. Mark a Large Safety Zone
Part of the prep for any lift operation on a work site is determining a safety zone for the crane's operation. When it comes to performing heavier lifts or higher lifts, you want to extend this zone at least for the duration of the HVAC installation. This zone should mark an area to keep workers clear of the site in case the load was to shift or fall.
But also pay attention to any environmental hazards that could impede the lift. The HVAC is likely being installed towards the end of a construction project, which means some things may have changed from the initial safety review. Take the time to note and address any changes in power lines, poles, or pillars toward the upward range of the lift.
5. Get a Qualified Crew
Any lift over 2,000 lb. requires not only a qualified crane operator but signalers and riggers as well. Most modern HVAC units, especially commercial models, fall well above this weight limit. To avoid any hefty fines and risk of injury or property damage, make sure the crew you have or pick has the proper qualification and experience to perform these complex lifts.
It is also helpful to ensure that other workers and the HVAC installation crew are all familiar with working around a crane and can use standard hand signals. Units designed for large buildings are complex and will require a certified technician for proper installation or to keep the warranty valid. Having a well-rounded crew means installation will go right the first time, saving you time, money, and stress.
6. Plan Out Your Schedule
Scrambling to get anything at the last minute always comes at an increased price. When it comes to renting cranes, this is true from several angles. Last-minute rental means you may be selecting from a smaller pool of currently available cranes and get one poorly fitted for the job, or that is more than what you really need.
Renting in advance means you can have the crane there precisely when you need it to keep your project moving along on schedule. Delays can quickly become costly, and having a plan in advance can help you work around poor weather, utility shut-offs, and permitting. For HVAC installation, preparing as best you can for an installation on a specific day can keep vehicles, pedestrians, workers, and residents out of harm's way.
Crane Rental for HVAC Installation
The best tools for operating a crane safely are experience, communication, and proper training. With over 40 years of moving and using cranes, Parker’s Crane Service has the expertise you need for safe, reliable crane operations, no matter the job site or weather.
We pride ourselves on safety and our Zero Accident Philosophy and conduct many detailed safety measures when performing a job to ensure that no project carries unnecessary risk. We perform the following for every single job we take:
- Pre-lift Job Assessments
- Daily Risk Assessments
- On-site Hazard Analysis
- Routine Management Audits
With a fleet of well-maintained hydraulic truck cranes, we offer not only the best equipment but can also help with site installation, maintenance, and operation. Our crew is OSHA and MSHA compliant to ensure your site and crew safety.
Contact us today If you’d like more information on how we can help you with your current or planned job throughout the Carolinas and the East Coast.