Hammerhead Crane

LOCATIONWoolloomooloo, NSW
DURATION8 months
CLIENTDepartment of Defence

The project involved the deconstruction of the historic Hammerhead Crane located at the Garden Island Naval Base for the Department of Defence.

Built to lift up to 250 tonnes, the 61 metre high cantilevered crane was at the time of its construction, the largest crane in the Southern Hemisphere. The decision to remove the monumental crane was due to ongoing maintenance and safety concerns.

Liberty Industrial were able to engineer an efficient alternative design solution for Defence, reducing the proposed number of lifts from the planned 250 lifts to just 70.

Our dismantling strategy reduced the number of lifts required to dismantle the crane, greatly reducing workers’ exposure to heights and significantly minimising the safety risks involved with carrying out the project.

The project team engineered a solution to free stand the FAVCO M120RX, constructing a steel support structure off the wharf and erecting the bottom third of the tower with a 55 tonne mobile crane and completing the assembly with a 300 tonne mobile crane. The base for the Favco M2480D Tower Crane, was provided by Brookfield Johnson Controls, who were managing the project on behalf of Defence. A 230 tonne pin jib truck crane in conjunction with the 300 tonne mobile crane was used to lift the boom into position, self-climbing the last 12 metres.

We carried out spray painting and paint stripping works to prepare the crane for disassembly, encapsulating the crane’s existing paint coating with a high build flexible water-borne acrylic paint to stabilise any flaky paint on the structure, to prevent the release of lead chromate paint. The acrylic was applied by airless spray to avoid disturbing the crane’s hazardous coating.

The predetermined separation locations were carefully marked and the paint removed from these areas to prepare the surface for oxy cutting. This prevent the release of harmful vapours during cutting, and protects the environment and the health of workers and the community.

The structure was progressively dismantled in large sections in an engineered sequence to maintain over structural stability of the crane. Sections of the crane were rigged to the M2480D Tower crane, and separated from the remaining structure by oxy cutting working from a work box rigged to the M120RX Tower Crane. Once separated, the sections were lifted down to the designated materials processing area and downsized. The jib tip was our largest lift at 65 tonne.

We deployed a 33t Volvo EC330LC Hydraulic Excavator with a shear attachment to carry out the heavy duty downsizing and has oxy-cutters assisted to further downscale and process scrap materials, removing paint from the cut locations prior to cutting. The processed components were transported to an offsite recycling facility. An approximate 1700 tonnes of steel was recycled.

In addition to the removal of the structure, the project had a substantial salvage component with the preservation of numerous heritage significant components of the crane. Components including the crane’s main hook assembly, hook platform and trollies, and the driver’s cabin were carefully removed and transported to an offsite facility where they were decontaminated of their coating and refinished. A few machine house plant items and some of the slew motor room equipment did not require refinishing and was stored in its original condition.

Because of their value to the community it was imperative these items were not damaged or structurally altered during the removal and refinishing works so we developed a detailed methodology for the removal, relocation, refinishing and storage of the heritage components to ensure their condition was maintained.

We developed our methodology for the project in accordance with a Heritage Input Technical Specification prepared by Godden Mackay Logan Heritage Consultants on behalf of the Department of Defence and prepared a detailed management plan for the removal, relocation, refinishing and storage of the heritage components to ensure their condition was maintained, even fabricating a specialised frame for the crane’s enormous 25.7 tonne hook assembly, the largest heritage item to be salvaged. At 7m wide and 8m long it was transported under Police Escort to the storage location.

Working alongside 24/7 Naval operations at the Garden Island naval base in Sydney Harbour has presented a few challenges for the project team. We’re faced with the constraints of a live site, a restricted work area and at times, difficult weather conditions. Severely restricted for landing loads and the materials processing workspace. Logistics also presented a challenge at times. It can be difficult getting trucks with oversize loads in and out of the site. These factors had been taken into account at the planning stage of the project, and considerate solutions were adopted to minimise disruption and ensure that the works continued unhampered.

With the preservation of some of Australia’s richest and rarest industrial and maritime heritage, the project showcases Liberty Industrial’s dismantling and salvage capabilities and reinforces our position in the industry as deconstruction specialists

The project was shortlisted as a Finalist for the Contract of the Year over US $1M at the 2015 World Demolition Awards.


Hammerhead Crane Dismantling Documentary

Hammerhead Crane Dismantling Documentary  

Hammerhead Crane Time Lapse

Hammerhead Crane Project Time Lapse