Got questions about spider cranes and mini cranes? You have come to the right place.
Cranes are fantastic machines for lifting and transporting heavy objects and it is not unusual to see them towering over buildings, especially in the inner cities, where there is usually a lot of construction going on. Mini cranes are — as the name suggests — built to do the same job, only in places where the larger cranes cannot operate.
Mini cranes are perfect for those smaller construction sites, when space is limited, or where a bigger crane simply will not fit. In fact, mini cranes are so small that even the most powerful machines can fit through doorways and in elevators.
However, there is surprisingly little information online that really explains the basics of mini crane hire. For example, what a mini crane “is”; what the difference is between a mini crane and a spider crane and, importantly, how much the mini crane hire rates are.
Here is everything you need to know about mini cranes, spider cranes, and mini crane hire in general:
What’s the difference between a mini crane and a spider crane?
The short answer is: there is no difference. Take one look at a mini crane, and it soon becomes apparent why: mini cranes have legs (known as “outrigger legs”) that make then look a little like spiders. Having two names for the same product can be little confusing for people unfamiliar with the industry, but it is important to remember that both a “mini crane” and a “spider crane” are both small cranes; and actually two names referring to the same thing.
How much does mini crane hire cost? What are the crane hire rates?
It is not possible to give an exact number, because the circumstances for every job will be different. If a specific quote is required, the best option would be to contact the company that hires out the mini cranes, so they can properly examine the demands of the job and come up with a specific figure.
Mini crane hire rates will be affected by the following:
- The type of mini crane needed
- The time and date of the operations (i.e. for example, weekends and bank holidays will almost always attract premium rates)
- Additional labour requirements
- Ground conditions at the site
- The needs of other equipment (such as glass lifting pads, or a fly jib)
However we can give an approximate number, for the purpose of this Q&A. For example, for a very typical job, the hiring of a mini crane for one day may cost several hundred pounds. It is very difficult to say how much exactly, but usually around an average of £400 – 700 before tax, assuming the work is carried out on a weekday.
Is it necessary to hire mini crane personnel? Is a crane supervisor really needed?
It is absolutely necessary to have the right people overseeing the operation of a spider or mini crane — and not just a properly qualified crane operator.
Crane supervisors are required to co-ordinate and oversee the lifting activities of the crane and to brief the lifting team members.
More importantly, a crane supervisor is there to make sure all operations comply with the law; for example ensuring the ground conditions are safe the cranes, in order to protect the health and safety of team members onsite.
Confusingly, crane supervisors are also known as lift supervisors. As with the mini crane/spider crane example above, it is best to think of lift supervisors and crane supervisors as essentially the same thing.
A slinger banksman is also necessary to properly sling and protect loads, to calculate the weights and balances, and to communicate clearly with the crane operator (and again, confusingly, the banksman slinger is known by another name — the “slinger signaller”).
To summarise, keep in mind that you will need:
- Site fitters
- A crane operator
- A crane supervisor
- A slinger banksman
- The proper qualifications
What qualifications are required for lifting equipment hire?
In order to comply with regulations and the law, and to ensure the health and safety of everyone around, the following industry-recognised accreditations are required.
- Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
- Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS)
- International Powered Access Federation (IPAF)
- Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
- Safety Pass Alliance (SPA)
All crane operators, slinger banksmen, and crane supervisors must have the necessary qualifications to do the job. In some cases, depending on experience, training for these qualifications can be achieved in a matter of days. Most mini crane hire companies will be able to provide training, or will have their own expert personnel fully qualified and ready to assist with the operation of a hired spider crane.
How much can spider cranes lift, and how high? Can they be used for glass lift?
The different models of spider crane all have different lift capabilities and radiuses. The beauty is that even the largest and most powerful mini cranes are still narrow enough to fit through a standard double doorway.
The Lift 706, for example, has a hook height of almost twenty metres and a 6-tonne capacity — and yet, can still fit through an opening 1600mm wide.
Mini cranes are commonly used for glass lifting and often in shopping malls or office buildings, where a larger crane simply could not operate. For example, here is an image of one of our cranes fitting glass at the 02 area in London:
But mini cranes are also used for domestic glass work, too.
It is worth remembering that in order for glass lifting to be carried out, addition equipment will be required. The size and type of this equipment is dependent on the shape and the size of the glass being lifted. For example, this lifting attachment can carry a load of up to 300kg, but for some very heavy glass panels stronger equipment may be needed, such as this one: the LIFT-UPG 600-2 which can lift up to 600kg.
These extra requirements could increase mini crane hire rates.
Can mini cranes be hired all over the country? Hiring a mini crane for use in Birmingham, Cardiff, and nationwide.
Most mini crane companies should be able to distribute their mini or spider cranes for services nationwide, but a lot of popular demand seems to be calling from Birmingham and Cardiff in 2017/18. Birmingham is enjoying record levels of construction, the most in a decade; and large parts of Wales are also undergoing major construction developments.
Much of these developments are office spaces. For example, in 2016, in Birmingham, there was 1.45 million square feet of office development alone. That is plenty of limited space — and plenty of glass lifting — waiting for a spider crane hire to assist.
How can the process run as smoothly and effectively as possible?
Hiring a mini crane can, at first, seem complicated — but it doesn’t have to be. Any reputable mini crane hire company should offer to “take the lift” for peace of mind. This includes providing expert and qualified staff; handling all of the procedures; handling the planning, organisation, and getting the necessary insurance cover.
The planning and organisational approach would include the following:
- Surveying the site
- Selecting the right equipment
- Completing a lift plan and risk assessment
Additionally, providing the mini crane hire company with plenty of information at the moment of enquiry would work a great deal to help them effectively assess the project. Information such as:
- The radius (i.e. the distance between the crane and where it is the load will be placed)
- The maximum weight of the load to be lifted
- The maximum height the load needs to be lifted to, including any height restrictions
- The overall size: the height, width, and length of the load being lifted
- The site itself: how the spider crane will access the site, what type of floor it will travel over and set-up on, and any site restrictions.
If there is some uncertainty about any of the above, it is always best to just ask the mini crane hire experts for a qualified opinion.
This Q&A was written with the intention of being a no-nonsense, clear, and easy guide to the hiring of a mini crane: clearing up any confusion and answering the most commonly asked questions in the process.
If you have any further questions, or if you feel there is a question not apparent that should have been answered, then do not hesitate to contact us.