Why A Crane Lift Plan is Critical for A Successful Lift Project

A closeup of the base of a Maxim Crane with a blue sky in the backdrop

With thousands of pounds of material moving around a construction site, having a well-thought-out lift plan is crucial to help ensure a safe and efficient project. 

A comprehensive lift plan ensures everyone working on or near the job site understands their role in completing the project successfully. It also helps reduce risks associated with inadequate planning or miscommunication between personnel. 

In this article, we will explain what a crane lift plan is, why it’s important, what should be included, and how Maxim Crane Works can help create your lift plan.

What is a Crane Lift Plan and Why is It Important? 

A lift plan is a document that pulls together pertinent information related to attaching to, lifting and moving a load from one place to another, according to Dan Durrett, PE, director of engineering at Maxim Crane. The “breadth and width” of a lift plan can vary significantly depending on many factors such as (but not limited to): the weight, shape and value of the load, owner or GC lift requirements, subsurface conditions, allowable soil bearing capacity, site conditions, risk etc.  

3 benefits of a crane lift plan - well-informed team, increased safety and maximum efficiency
3 benefits of a crane lift plan - well-informed team, increased safety and maximum efficiency

At Maxim,  we believe every lift should have a lift plan, Durrett added.  Even the most routine lift should, at a minimum, evaluate the weight of the load to be lifted to ensure it is within the limits of the proposed equipment.  

Having the right equipment is only part of the equation for a crane lift. A well-thought-out lift plan can mean the difference between a successful lift and a disaster. So, what should be included?

A crane lift plan should include all the necessary information needed to properly execute, Durrett says. Here’s a quick list of important factors that need to be considered:

  • Crane Type – The type of crane and lifting attachments being used, as well as, the information on where each attachment should be connected to the load.
  • Weight Requirements – The weight and capacity requirements of the load being lifted—both static (with no load) & dynamic.
  • Dimensions – The overall area of the load (length, width, depth, etc.).
  • Sequence – The sequence of the lift operation for efficient completion, including any projected down-time calculations.
  • Lifting Route – Including any obstacles that may be present along the route.
  • Location Details – The location of the load and the crane during the lift, as well as, rigging point locations with access points and clearances required at pick up/drop off areas.
  • Personnel – What personnel are needed in certain areas during different parts of the job
  • Restrictions – Considerations like traffic flow paths around boom swings, tie off anchor points and loads attaching methods when hoisting baskets and lifts.
  • Possible Hazards – Possible issues like overhead power lines, difficult ground conditions, wind speed and direction, or other potential hazards in the area.
  • Lifting Diagram – A diagram that visually outlines different aspects of the job including where each attachment should be connected on the load, maximum swing angles, etc.

By taking all of these factors into account, you can create a detailed and thorough lift plan. If you need help with the process of gathering this critical information for a successful lift, look for a reputable crane company who offers project management services, such as the creation of a lift plan. This guidance could be a invaluable to your project.

What Are the Differences in Types of Crane Lift Plans? 

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At Maxim we identify four levels of crane lift plans — level one through four.  As the level increases so does the level of detail included in the lift plan and the time necessary to develop and check the plan.  

  • Level one is a standard lift plan consisting of a few pages generally developed in 3D Lift Plan. This level identifies the proposed make, model, configuration and lifting capacity of the crane to be used and calculates the percent of the available chart capacity to make the lift at the radius specified.  It is of the utmost importance to have an accurate weight of the load to be lifted, the location of the center of gravity of the load and the rigging connection details.  
  • Level two is an extension of Level one with additional supporting documentation and calculations assembled into a presentable lift plan package.  Maxim’s sales staff will assist in identifying the crane location and orientation.  Information needed to complete a Level two lift plan includes but is not limited to a load cut sheet with dimensions, weight and center of gravity location, and the site allowable ground bearing pressure.
  • A level three lift plan is considered an “Engineered” lift plan and requires more detailed information to complete.  As the name implies, this level is prepared by a member of of the Maxim Engineering team in CAD software, so detail matters.  Information needed to complete a Level three lift plan includes, but is not limited to:
    • Load cut sheet with dimensions, weight and center of gravity location,
    • Allowable ground bearing pressure,
    • Site plan to locate the crane along with any other pertinent site drawings,
    • Lifting point details on the load or special attachment details,
    • Sling angle requirements, and
    • Degree of level requirements.
  • A Level four plan is a level three plan that is reviewed, signed and sealed by a Professional Engineer.  

An excellent resource for lift planning guidance is the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) P30.1.  Maxim’s engineering group is always available for consultation if you have questions about what type of lift plan you may need.

Need Help Collating the Information for Your Crane Lift Plan?

A maxim crane with a city skyline in the background

A crane lift plan is an important tool for a successful and safe lift.  These plans assist everyone involved in planning the lift up front and more importantly allow all members involved in the pre-lift meeting to be on the same page in understanding the details of how the lift was planned.

Maxim Crane Works, safety is always the No. 1 priority. We are dedicated to making sure our customers have the safest and most efficient lifts possible. Our experienced team helps customers develop detailed lift plans covering all important considerations for their projects. 

Having the right equipment and a well thought out game plan is key. Maxim Crane Works understands how vital these components are and can help you create a diagram that meets all of your needs. 
Contact us today for more information about our project management and engineering services and how we can help.


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