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  • Writer's pictureMAREJ

PennMed Tower Construction Cantilevers Crane Innovative building technique is simple & safe

Philadelphia, PA — Philadelphia’s building boom has made rooftop construction cranes an integral part of the skyline. But, as any kid with a passion for construction sites will tell you, the 200-foot cantilevered crane attached to the side of a tower on Civic Center Boulevard is rare and awe-inspiring.

“It’s called a Gantry Crane,” explains Ted Jeffries, project director for IMC Construction. “Typically, the crane would be located in an elevator core or on the ground outside of the building, but here the street is narrow and highly-trafficked. Having the crane system located outside of the building foot-print, and then ‘jumping the crane’ is perfect for this operation. Installing the crane above the access road is also perfect for this tight site. It allows us to move materials under the crane without obstructing traffic on a busy road.

”Ultimately designed as a 19-story tower for Penn’s medical campus, the Center for Healthcare Technology topped out Phase 1 at 10 stories in early January. Originally planned to be an eight-story phase, the crane set-up allowed some fluidity in design; ultimately Penn Medicine chose to add an additional 2 floors during this phase but construction was not compromised by the change.

The crane system is simple and efficient: large steel girders that protrude from the main core of the building support the 115-ton crane. The crane inserts tower sections above to continue climbing, or “jumping” as the floors are constructed. When the façade is complete in May of 2018, a hydraulic dismantling crane will remove the tower crane and thread the support beams out of the building. For the future build, provisions are in place to reinstall the crane on the 11th floor in the same configuration.

The Gantry crane is controlled by one operator in the 10 x 26-foot house at the intersection of the boom and the shaft. Two-hundred feet from the centerline of the crane, the boom is able to lift 16,000 lbs of precast concrete panels into position on the façade of the building, much heavier than the steel substructure that supports the crane.

IMC Construction worked with steel erectors Grossi & Sons as well as structural engineers O’Donnell Naccarato to develop the cantilever for this project. The architect for the project is Perkins & Will.The 540,000 s/f project will house offices for human resources and IT, a daycare, the Investigative Drug Services pharmacy and more of Penn Medicine’s Bio Bank Freezer Farm.

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