As Leicester awaits the opening of the city’s brand-new King Richard III Visitor Centre, one local business prides itself on being part of a project that celebrates Leicester’s rich heritage.
Lift Mini Crane Hire, based in Aylestone, have been crucial to the construction of the new attraction, which is to open in St. Martin’s on the edge of Leicester city centre on Saturday 26th July.
Recruited by Norman and Underwood, a national glazing specialist, Lift Mini Crane Hire were asked to consult on the equipment needed to successfully complete the installation of the new Visitor Centre’s glass entrance and viewing box; both with regards to lifting glass into position and the transportation vehicle required to deliver glass to the site.
Given the King Richard III Visitor Centre’s location – set between the narrow streets and built-up areas of Friar Lane, close to De Montfort University and St Nicholas Circle – planning for delivery vehicles and installation methods provided a challenge.
However, the design of Lift Mini Crane Hire’s equipment eased any concerns, with the company’s mini cranes purpose-built for working within restricted space.
Kevin Concepcion, who oversees lifting operations at Lift Mini Crane Hire, said:
“We used a small spider crane and a vacuum lifting attachment to lift and hold the glass into position, while the fixers secured it in position. In using the small UNIC/095 mini crane, we were allowed to reduce the space taken up because the outrigger legs can be set in different increments to allow manipulation around obstacles when setting up. The glass was installed over a period of two days for the entrance area.
“The courtyard entrance was an obstacle course in itself, with a wall and feature brickwork already started to form when we arrived. We had to manoeuvre the spider crane around the workers and brick and stone area, set up the mini crane and glass-lifting attachment, lift the glass from stilliages before turning it round in mid-air before lowering it down into position.
“The viewing box was slightly different in that the weight of the units was in excess of 500kg. This meant that we had to upgrade the crane’s lifting capacity, and the vacuum lifting attachment had to be powerful enough to lift and suspend a heavy screen eight metres in the air, while fitters used a Mobile Elevated Platform to reach the area safely. The narrow body of the MAEDA mini crane used allowed us to track through the stonework safely. The versatility of these spider cranes on rubber tracks also allows them to turn in a complete circle, ideal for this type of lifting scenario.
“The glass was lifted under the watchful eye of site management and tradesman, as the screen was hoisted up slowly to the platform on the front of the building and manoeuvred into position for fixing.”
As the King Richard III Visitor Centre prepares to open its doors to the public this weekend, visitors will now be able to walk out into the glass viewing box and look over the exact location of the car park in which the remains of King Richard III were discovered in 2012.
Darren Palfrey, owner of Lift Mini Crane Hire, added: “As a family-run Leicester-based business, where we’re from is important and we are delighted to have been able to assist in the construction of the new King Richard III Visitor Centre. The discovery of Richard III’s remains drew the world’s attention to Leicester and will continue to do so when the centre opens on Saturday. We’re incredibly proud to have been able to play a part in this project.”
Lift Mini Crane Hire Ltd operate all over the UK on a 24-hour emergency service, as well as tendering and planning for a wide range of lifting operations involving spider cranes, lifting equipment, trailer cranes and much more.