A relic of Australia's naval past will soon be history, with confirmation that Garden Island's hammerhead crane will disappear from Sydney's skyline.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, David Feeney, announced on Thursday that the disused crane would be removed from the naval base, with $10.3 million allocated to do so.
“This is the right decision," Mr Feeney said.
"Removing this crane will eliminate the safety risk it currently poses to Royal Australian Navy personnel, it will allow navy to use Garden Island to its best possible advantage, and will save taxpayers around $700,000 a year."
Built in 1951, and one of only 15 still standing around the world, the crane has not been used since 1996.
The Department of Defence argued in May that there were "no prudent or feasible alternatives" to removing the 61-metre structure in order to free up berthing capacity for new ships due to enter service this year.
"By modern standards, even if it were to operate at full capacity, it would no longer be able to do the task required of it," Mr Feeney said.
Mothballing the crane at its current location on-site would cost $21 million, the report said, and restoring it to full working order would cost $31.1 million. This compared with an estimated $7.4 million to remove it.
The most expensive option – retaining the crane on-site and building a new dock east of Garden Island – was put at $123.7 million.
Salvaging heritage components from the crane was a condition of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities' approval to remove it.
Mr Feeney said an archival record will be made of the crane, and its history will be documented in a heritage interpretation plan.
“We are talking about having some of the steel honoured and recognised in various museums like the war memorial," he said.
"There are audiovisual opportunities, and we will have footage of the crane both in its heyday and in its dismantling so people can see both what it did and how it once looked."
The National Trust of Australia's NSW conservation manager, Graham Quint, said it was extremely disappointed but not surprised by the decision.
The deteriorating crane was added to the trust's "heritage at risk" register in 2007, when a piece of corroded iron also fell from the structure.
Mr Quint said the trust had received little or no response from Defence to heritage concerns and alternative proposals.
"It's not as if they can't be done, but they've just ruled it out of order all along the way," he said. "Every time we've tried to suggest something to them, they just won't look at it."
The Defence report in May ruled out the idea that the crane should be retained at Garden Island as a tourist attraction – such as the proposal for its "adaptive reuse" as a restaurant lodged by the Luxcon Property Group in March – as "not viable without severely compromising the security and operations of the base".
"At this stage, no mature business case has been put forward," it said of publicly mooted commercial ventures, adding that suggestions at the time to relocate the crane off-site were "largely speculative".
Mr Feeney said it was not yet clear when – or how – the crane would be removed.
"At this stage we're talking about a contract being in place and I'm hoping that work could commence perhaps as early as the start of next year," he said.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/garden-island-crane-to-be-removed-20130808-2rj80.html#ixzz2tSNXSXJK
A Tower Crane Mast Section is set into a foundation with steel pedestals. The Mast Section is plumbed to a degree of 1:500 (ie It must not deviate more than 1 inch from plumb for every 500 inches vertical) . Concrete is poured and then the crane is ready to be erected after the curing of the concrete.
A 40’ Tower crane base is being set. 16 bolts are installed. The bolts have nuts that are 2 5/16” and are torqued with a hydraulic wrench to as much as 4300 ft lbs. By comparison, the lug nuts on most cars torque to 115 ft lbs.
The process continues as mast sections are added until the needed height is achieved. The turntable (operator cabin included) is added in the same manner and is often the heaviest piece of the crane. In some applications this section is split to reduce weight on the mobile crane. This may add two hours to the crane erection process, so it is avoided when possible.
After the Turntable is installed the Tower Top is added and four large pins are added as the connecting members.
While the bolts on the Mast Section bolts are tightened, the jibs for the crane are assembled.
The Counter Jib is erected as one piece. It is connected by large gates or pins at the turntable. After this connection is made it is elevated by the mobile crane to around 15 degrees above horizontal. The pendants are connected by pins with cotter pins. Then the Counter Jib is lowered to horizontal. Sometimes the Machine Package with Electrical Panel and Hoist is with the Counter Jib and other times it’s installed separately. After this, any needed Erection Ballast is installed in the Counter Jib
The Working Jib of the crane is installed at the turntable and elevated with the Mobile Crane. After it is elevated the Tower Crane hoist is connected to the pendant attached to the jib and pulled up to the Tower Top and connected with a pin. Then the Jib is lowered back to horizontal. The trolley is now installed if it wasn’t on the ground.
The installation of the Outer Section of the Jib is installed with the installation of three pins. Finally the Ballast (up to 60,000 lbs) is installed on the Counter Jib and the structural erection of the tower crane is complete. In most cases this end of the first day.
To make the crane operational, the ropes must be installed on the crane. The hook is moved along the Working Jib with a Trolley. Ropes are attached to the trolley and a winch. This work can take between an hour and three depending on the size of the crane and its design. The Load Line that hoists the rope is installed after the trolley lines. It runs from the back of the crane, through the tower top and out under the jib to the outer tip of the crane and is pinned in place either through a thimble or through a wedge and socket.
The final process to make the crane operational is to set the motion limits for the hoist and trolley, followed by performing a load test to 100% of the cranes capacity. You now have a functional Tower Crane.
The entire process includes up to 13 trucks, can include seven crane erectors, three crane operators, two mobile cranes. If no problems occur, most cranes can be erected in one day by a competent crew. The installation of the ropes and load testing can take up to a full day as well, but on small cranes, it can be done in the same day. Erecting a tower crane costs range between $15,000 for the smallest of the fixed base cranes to over $60,000 for crane erections requiring large mobile cranes
Nice quiet morning in the tower crane, just sitting back in the cabin and then i notice reflections on the crane windscreen... someone else is up at the top of the crane!
He is pretty friendly but just be careful, sometimes they chew through things...
A "leaning" crane on a building site in Sydney's east has been declared safe, after WorkCover and police agreed it was not dangerous.
Residents at five heritage-listed apartment blocks and a boutique hotel in Springfield Avenue, Potts Point, were evacuated about 11.15am (AEDT) on Monday due to fears the large construction crane might fall.
The alarm was raised by a resident, who told emergency service operators the crane was "leaning".
However, WorkCover said after inspecting the 35-metre tower crane it posed no threat to public safety.
Residents and hotel guests have returned to their buildings.
A WorkCover spokesman said an inspector was carrying out additional tests to guarantee the crane's safety.
Prominent debt collector Mick Gatto of Underbelly fame and business partner Matt Tomas have staved off the collapse of their crane hire business by the last minute payment of a $67,057 debt.
Brooklyn-based Elite Cranes was facing insolvency over a long-running debt to subcontractor APAC Crane Hire, which the Supreme Court had ordered must be paid by August 7 or the company would be liquidated.
Mr Gatto and Mr Tomas kept control of their business after the dispute was settled on the court house steps ahead of the scheduled hearing.
The money will go to the creditors of APAC Crane Hire, which was placed into administration in 2011 with debts of more than $1 million. Administrator Philip Newman of PCI Partners confirmed Elite had paid its bill in full and the legal proceeding had been discontinued.
But Elite Cranes’ financial problems have been overshadowed by revelations that a secret recording of Mr Tomas providing assistance in a police murder investigation has been widely leaked to Melbourne’s underworld, potentially putting his life in danger.
Mr Tomas, who was acquitted of murder charges in the 1996 bashing death of a teenager, was himself the subject of alleged murder plot in 2003 by Tommy ‘‘Little Tommy’’ Ivanovic.
Mr Gatto and Mr Tomas did not respond to requests for comment.
‘‘It’s all been sorted – we’ve agreed to a payment plan. We all have debts. We pay them, we pay everyone,’’ Mr Gatto told Fairfax Media in late July.
Mr Gatto resigned as a director and secretary of the company in December 2012, but remains a 50 per cent shareholder in the business.
A worker has died after he was struck in the head by a crane at a steel distribution facility in Sydney's south-west.
WorkCover NSW has launched an investigation into a 30-year-old's death at Southern Steel Supplies in Milperra early on Monday morning.
Paramedics were called to the facility on Horsley Road at 6.30am after reports that a man had been critically injured when he was struck by a large magnet that was attached to a crane.
Colleagues of the man, who was bleeding heavily, performed CPR until emergency services arrived.
The man was taken to Liverpool Hospital, but died a short time later.
A WorkCover NSW spokesperson said inspectors were at the facility and had launched an investigation.
"Initial enquiries indicate the 30-year-old male worker sustained critical head injuries when he was struck by a crane magnet device. The worker later passed away from his injuries," the spokesperson said.
Police have been contacted for comment.
If you don't do the tower cranes weekly service...
The weekly service is done to reduce wear and tear and ensure that there is nothing loose or broken on the crane. Apart from the visual inspections you have to grease the hoist rope, trolly and slew gears. Its not a particularly hard job and shouldn't take more than 30 mins on the typical crane.
The following is required for the weekly check
Grease slewing ring and lubricate open gears
With the grease gun apply grease to the grease nipples for the slew ring, if no nipples apply directly to the gears
Visual check of slewing ring bolts
The slew ring bolts usually have a line that has been marked across them and onto the crane, this allows for easy identification of movement of the bolts
Oil levels of luff checked
On a luffing crane check the oil level on the luff motor, there is usually a clear circle that allows you to see the oil level without opening anything
Oil levels of hoist checked
Check the oil levels on the hoist motor, there is usually a clear circle that allows you to see the oil level without opening anything
Oil levels of travel gearbox checked
Check the oil levels on the travel motor, there is usually a clear circle that allows you to see the oil level without opening anything
Oil level of luff/hoist secondary brake
Check the oil levels on secondary brake, there is usually a clear circle that allows you to see the oil level without opening anything
Weekly load test of a known weight
This is done by picking up a know weight and checking the weigh on your gauges to ensure the crane is still correctly calibrated
Weekly moment test
Testing the bending moments, this is done by picking up a load and carrying it out to 100% capacity. The crane will bend and set off the alarm, if the alarm does not go off you might have problems. This is caused by the moment plates not being in the correct position or being tampered with.
Crane base area is clean, tidy and free from water
Keeping the base clean and free from water helps reduce the risk of slip and falls
The area around slew ring and counter jib are free from debris and any loose items are secured
You should not have anything sitting on the crane that can come free, its usually a long way up and its bad for objects to fall on people
Check the reeving system (2/4)
Change the reeving from 2 part to 4 part and check the hoist rope is traveling properly through that reeving system
Check structure and waterproofing of electrical cabinets
Make sure the cabinets are locked, there is an unbelievable amount of stuff in those electrical cabinets, take my word for it
Fire extinguisher present and current
You should have one in your cabin, usually a nice small dry powder firey
Ensure ropes are sufficiently greased
With the grease gun apply grease to the grease nipples for the hoist drum and trolly drum, if no nipples apply directly to the rope on the drum. If you are having trouble reaching the lower lay of cable change the reeving from 2 part to 4 part then lower the hook, this will use up more hoist rope and get you deeper into the drum. This is very important, if this is neglected the ropes will rub against each other without grease and fray
Inspect generator is free from damage
This applies to diesel cranes, if you are on a non luffing crane your not likely to have a generator but if you do... inspect it
Visual inspection of connecting pins of upper structure
Check the pins, I have had a tower crane that had pins move, the crane had quite a lot of deflection and I suppose all the movement caused them to loosen
Visual inspection of the power board
Just visually check the fuses are all at the on position DONT TOUCH ANYTHING there are wires and plugs everywhere and the only person who will be able to make sense of it is a crane electrician familiar with that crane so dont give yourself troubles, look don't touch!
The isolator is the on/off switch, you should be using this everyday and know if it works or not
The construction industry has a high suicide rate compared to other industries.
The overall suicide rate of the general population is 12.3 per 100,000. A 2006 study by the Australian Institute for Suicide and Prevention found that Queensland Commercial Building Construction Industry employees aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 58.6 deaths per 100,000.
This is higher than even Russia which leads the way with 34.3 per 100,000
One reason for the high rates of suicide could be attributed to many of the workers belonging to the high risk age group of 15-24, as it is a job that employes many young apprentices as well as school leavers. Another factor I believe is the irregular work and downtime, a lack of stability is not good for mental health.
Also a high divorce and separation rate caused by strain on the relationship from long work hours can lead to problems.
There is also the problem of drugs and alcohol, this is a problem across all society but I believe it to be more prevalent in the construction industry.
Suicide is a big issue in our society however its not an often spoken about subject. The fact is that you are over three times more likely to kill yourself than be murdered, it is the leading cause of death of men under 44 and women under 34 in Australia and it causes more deaths than road accidents
Mates in Construction was introduced after a study into the high rate of suicides in construction workers, whilst I hope that this program will reduce the number of deaths and increase mental health I think more needs to be done to address this problem. If construction workers were a country they would have almost twice the rate of suicides than the next highest country.
If you think more should be done for the people that build our dwellings please contact the health minister its easy you can just click on the inquiries form
If you prefer pen and paper write to
Department of Health
GPO Box 9848,
Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
or you can freecall 1800 020 103
The inaugural mental health conference for construction industry will occur this month on 20th February, if you are interested in attending or for more the details are here
I cannot write this article speaking for every industry that every union represents, even for every industry that the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union represents, only for the crane crews specifically tower-crane that the construction union represents.
In Sydney Australian, well actually the whole of Australia the CFMEU is the union that covers construction workers including the tower crane crews. They provide support for the workers should they get injured, loose their job and by negotiating wages and conditions with employers.
The main reason to join the union is for the higher negotiated wages that are provided, the extras are exactly that.
Here are a few arguments against unions that I have heard over the years...
The higher wages are passed on to the customer ect, the higher wages cause companies to go broke
The majority of construction I see occurring in Sydney is for apartments, almost all are sold prior to being constructed to foreign (Chinese, Japanese) investors with many being held and uninhabited by the investors to take advantage of property capital gains, tax free exemption for foreign investors and low cost of lending particularly in Japan. The developers and businesses and their charter is to maximize profit, if costs on their project were reduced by 5% or 50% that cost saving will not be passed on to the consumer, the same as if costs are increased by 5% or 50%.
FACT Apartments are sold for the maximum price the market will bear regardless of costs.
If a company goes broke often you will hear the same thing from the business owner "its the fault of the government/unions. The real reason is almost always the company was run poorly. When companies go broke work doesn't just disappear, more efficient companies take their place if the opportunity is there.
I can assure you that when the money from overseas apartment buyers dries up, the construction will slow down and people will be out of work. Make the most of it whilst it is there!
I remember a stage when cafe/restaurant workers wore no longer being paid extra for working weekends. Did prices for meals at these cafes and restaurants go down? Don't be stupid!
Unions promote mediocrity by making everyone be paid the same amount
True on an EBA every tower crane operator is paid the same rate.
On a non EBA site the better workers are rewarded with higher pay than the mediocre workers.
Here is a real life example.
A dogman working for a non union company gets paid $22 per hour, he has close to 10 years experience and is rewarded for that experience with higher wages, the other dogmen are paid $20 per hour.
On the union site all the dogmen are paid $38 an hour + higher allowances and benefits such as 24 hour accident insurance. So at the end of the day it is up to you, are you ok with being paid the same as everyone else or do you want to be a superstar on a mediocre team. There are a lot of Kobe Bryant's out there happy to work for less as long as they are paid more than all their team mates, perhaps its for their self esteem.
The union workers have a gang mentality
This makes me laugh, it doesn't make much sense but I had to add it, it was said to me by someone who wanted to work for a union company but he couldn't get a start due to 'racism'
Here is some good free advice, If you want to work for a union company where all the workers are union, make sure you are too otherwise you wont have work for long. As for a gang mentality I think he is mistaking gang for group or orginisation.
Unions take all your money in fees
The union fees are $290 for 6 months and for apprentices the costs are between 11 cents and $1.62 a week. Do the maths for yourself, if it is worth more that $580 a year to be in the union do it, if its not than dont. According to the CFMEU in the past year they have recovered $15.4 million in unpaid wages for their members, to those members it is probably worth the fees.
The main argument for joining the union is that 'the union is there to look after you'
I think the union could do a lot better in this regard. They look after workers in certain situations. The union should do more to help their members find work, unemployment and underemployment is a big issue in construction due to the cyclical nature of the work, most if not all jobs are projects of a limited duration and much of the work is casual with no job security. Ironically it is the people building the housing of tomorrow that are unable to purchase property due to the problems mentioned above.
At the end of the day, unlike a lot of other people I personally couldn't care less if someone is in the union or not. Its their individual call to make. Make your own call and do what is best for yourself, there are a lot of people that give advice so long as it benefits them, you have to look at the motives behind what people are saying.
If you have looked up at a building and noticed temporary colorful balconies extending out of buildings and wondered what they are you have come to the right place and I'm going to tell you... They are loading platforms!
Loading platforms are essential for bringing materials into and out of a building on a work site. Without loading platforms the only place accessible would be the top level and ground.
Loading platforms consist of a cantilevered platform the extends from the building on one half and the other half going into the building with columns that are secured to the floor and roof of the building.
Some platforms are able to be raised between levels although the majority are stationary. Some are fixed and other platforms are able to be retracted or extended to enable lifting to platforms or the ground directly below.
Platforms have a Safe Working Load that should be marked clearly on the platform, the one pictured here has a SWL of 2.5 tonnes and is currently retracted (it extends along rails until the face is at the end of the rails). It is important to know that the Safe Working Load assumes an evenly distributed load across the platform, as most loads wont be evenly distributed it is a good idea to work a bit under the SWL.
Here we can see the loading platforms in action, for the higher level all loading platforms can be extended, however to load into lower levels obviously the platforms above have to be retracted.
The loading platforms here are supplied by Everwilling Cranes. To my knowledge they are the largest supplier of loading platforms in Sydney currently.
Also loading platforms are pretty heaving as they are made of steel, this one here is 2.9 tonnes and just remember there are bigger platforms. If you have to install a platform just make sure you have a big enough crane or you will have problems.
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