Flying High in Texas

What do you do when there’s no way to execute a traditional crane pick? You heed the advice of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator: “Get to the chopper!”

During the month of April, Swinerton Builders Texas needed to set four RTUs on a packaging facility that is 286,000 square feet in a 500-foot wide building as part of the mechanical scope of work on a project for a Confidential Client.

After site surveys with the crane operators, the team determined that helicopter picks would be the best option. Due to the building's large footprint, the crane equipment size and set up time would heavily impact the client’s work schedule.

Swinerton worked with the Client's General Affairs and Security teams, and the building owner to coordinate a day and time that would be the least impactful to the client’s business operations. Landing and pick locations were then identified and signed off by all parties. Once the site plan and dates were approved, the city permits and FAA approvals were filed. All documentation, including insurance, aircraft certifications, pilot certifications, and rigging certifications were provided to Swinerton for approvals.

Swinerton arranged for the entire building to be completely unoccupied during the picks, including other building tenants. At 7:00 a.m. on flight day, Swinerton validated the site was cleared, and with the assistance of the client’s security team, was able to control access at property entrances.

The helicopter landed and began their rigging at 8:00 a.m. on the dot, with the 5 State Helicopter crew giving Swinerton’s four-man roof crew and four-man ground crew their specific instructions for signals, rigging and safety. Just 20 minutes later, the helicopter was in the air and starting its first RTU lift, and in less than an hour, all picks were complete and roof crews were making their way down.