High-rise condos built with no cranes
November 8, 2018
Building multi-storey condo buildings without using a crane or scaffolding is possible and practical, according to Upbrella Construction, a Montreal firm that is adding six new floors atop the 17-storey Hotel Le Germain in the city’s downtown.
Instead of a traditional crane, the additional storeys for the hotel are being built with the use of the innovative crane-less construction technology devised by Upbrella.
The system creates a protective enclosure with a peripheral work platform that uses elevator-style lifting actuators to construct one floor at a time.
Unlike traditional open-sky construction, the enclosure enables structural and cladding work to be completed while sheltered from inclement weather, such as Montreal’s cold winters.
The technology was first used to build a 12-storey building with 47 rental apartments in Montreal in 2014. It will also be used on the upcoming Villa Nova condo development in the Montreal borough of Lachine and in several other projects in the city which will soon be announced, according to Upbrella.
In Toronto, Upbrella is in discussion to have its technology used for a condo project on King Street in which 15 additional storeys will be built over an existing four-storey heritage building—a project that makes the use of cranes tricky and very expensive.
Last year, Upbrella won PWC Canada’s 2017 Vision to Reality Innovator of the Year in the under-$25 million disruptors category. PWC noted, “Upbrella high-rise construction starts with the roof and doesn’t need a tower crane. The workers, the building and the neighbours are fully protected all the time, allowing the finish and delivery of the first floors much faster.”
Aside from limiting the disruptive impacts construction can have on an area, Upbrella contends a 15-storey building can be completed 25 to 30 per cent faster than with traditional crane and scaffolding.