Have you ever uttered the fateful words “How hard can it be”? Usually, this little phrase gets employed when you are contemplating doing something you have never done before, something that just doesn’t seem that difficult at first glance. 

In the world of heavy lifting and intricate manoeuvres, the lift and shift process is one of those things that sounds like it should be easy on paper. After all, it’s just lifting something and moving it (shifting it) somewhere else right? Sure, you might need a crane or heavy equipment but really…how hard can it be? 

In reality, the lift and shift process is intricate and complex. 

This meticulous operation requires careful planning, technical expertise, and precision execution to ensure the safety of both personnel and the valuable cargo being transported. 

In this blog, we’ll delve into the fascinating details behind lift & shift services, exploring the key elements that contribute to its success and the critical role cranes play in these complex operations.

Understanding the lift and shift process

Meticulous planning

The lift and shift process begins long before the crane arrives on-site. Diligent planning is the cornerstone of a successful operation. 

Engineers and project managers collaborate to assess the weight, dimensions, and centre of gravity of the object to be lifted. This information is crucial for selecting the appropriate crane and designing a lifting configuration that ensures stability and control throughout the operation. 

All of this is pulled together by the AP (appointed person), who is then responsible for writing a lifting plan. 

Crane selection

The type of crane or equipment chosen for a lift & shift service depends on various factors, including the weight and dimensions of the load, the available space, and the distance the load needs to be moved. 

Do you need a mobile crane, a tower crane, a luffing crane, city crane or heavy lifting equipment? 

The selection process involves considering the crane or equipment’s lifting capacity, boom length, and outreach capabilities to match the unique requirements of the lift.

Rigging and lifting configuration

Rigging is a critical aspect of the process regarding lift and shift services. It involves the use of slings, chains, and other hardware to secure the load. Engineers carefully calculate the angles and configurations of the rigging to distribute the load evenly and prevent any imbalances during the lift. 

Safety precautions

Safety is paramount in any lift and shift operation. 

Rigorous safety protocols are established, and the entire team, including crane operators, riggers, and ground personnel, undergoes comprehensive training. 

Pre-lift meetings are conducted to review the lift plan, discuss potential risks, and establish clear communication channels. 

Safety measures, such as load monitoring systems and emergency procedures, are implemented to mitigate any unforeseen challenges during the operation. You must be sure that your lift & shift services company have all the correct safety accreditations and abide by the Health and Safety Executive at all times. 

Communication and coordination

Effective communication is the linchpin of a successful lift and shift process. The crane / plant operator relies on signals from ground personnel to ensure precise movements. Clear and standardised hand signals, two-way radios, and other communication tools are employed to maintain constant contact between the crane / plant operator and the team on the ground. Coordination is essential to synchronise movements and execute the lift with accuracy.

Execution and monitoring

With meticulous planning in place, the execution of the lift and shift operation begins. 

The crane / plant operator follows the lift plan and carefully manoeuvres the load according to the predetermined path. 

Monitoring systems track the load’s position, and adjustments are made in real-time to maintain stability. Factors such as wind speed, weather conditions, and the stability of the ground must be carefully considered. Wind, in particular, can significantly impact the stability of the crane / plant and the load. Constant vigilance is maintained throughout the lift, with the entire team working in tandem to ensure a smooth and controlled operation.

The benefits of a well-executed lift and shift process

As technology continues to advance, the lift and shift process will undoubtedly evolve, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the world of heavy lifting and transport. However, for the moment, we at Fortis are at the top of the game when it comes to professionally executed lift and shift services. Get in touch today to find out more. 

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