An international group of crane experts were brought together at an annual conference for a one-day seminar to learn the best ways to keep assets compliant, safe and effectively maintained. Reducing the risk of lifting accidents on construction sites and infrastructure projects. The annual conference was held this week at Birdcage Walk, London.

Crane Safety 2018 brought together decision makers across cranes and construction to discuss dynamic solutions available. Experts joined together to discuss and develop strategies to make lifting operations as safe, timely and as cost-efficient as possible.

Teams and delegates heard contributions from the regulators, construction companies and crane operators on their latest case studies and novel approaches. This was a unique opportunity to learn from those working across complex construction projects. Case studies included presentations on lifting in the construction of tunnels, bridges, offshore environments and tall buildings. Sam Pitt, Ainscough’s Special Projects Engineer took delegates through the planning and engineering phases by way of a case study following the complex project Installation of Scarborough Bridge, York.

‘Early involvement and getting everyone involved at the design phase is key, offering expert design and engineering solutions’ explains Sam Pitt ‘engineering out risk and offering the most cost effective solutions.’

Delegates took part in breakout sessions to gain interactive guidance on technical challenges including human factors, increased automation, non-destructive examination for cranes and the legal aspects of reducing risk. Crane Safety 2018 offered a unique opportunity to explore the practical challenges being faced in major construction projects, and identified methods to address them.

“As lifting projects continue to become more complex, crane owners and operators must understand how to maintain high levels of safety and compliance with industry regulations. A number of highly regarded speakers shared best practice and case study presentations on a variety of challenging lifting projects in the real world. There was interesting debate around risk and incident reduction and how to balance effective maintenance with existing budgets. Crane Safety 2018 was invaluable for anyone with responsibility for lifting operations.”
Tim Watson, Chair, Crane Safety 2018, and Technical Consultant, Construction Plant-hire Association.


A team from Ainscough Crane Hire’s West London Depot, working with infrastructure specialists Osborne, has completed a major renovation of the Gade Valley viaduct on the M25 close to Kings Langley in Hertfordshire.

The programme of works included the installation of new expansion joints in the viaduct which allow the concrete road deck to expand and contract with changing temperatures without compromising the structure’s integrity.

The viaduct carries over 4.4 million vehicles every year and needed refurbishment as part of its ongoing maintenance. The programme of works, which began this summer, required the installation of 50,000 strengthening components including: 750 weld dressings, 2,500 strengthening plates, 48,000 bolts and 1,000 paint sections.

Working on a series of overnight shifts to minimise disruption, temporary cover plates were used to maintain traffic flow during daytime while the new expansion joins were lifted into position by the Ainscough team under contract lift conditions using a Liebherr LTM 1055-3 crane.

Dave Smith, one of Ainscough Crane Hire’s Contract Lift Managers and the Appointed Person for the lift said: “All lifts require planning but when your work means that of one of the busiest stretches of motorway in the land is out of operation until you’ve completed what you need to do, the responsibility to ensure an efficient delivery is all the more important.

“This efficiency is derived from the detailed planning we go through to ensure we are where we need to be, when we need to be and have the appropriate machinery and experienced personnel to deliver for our customer and for the wider public. Timing was so critical on this project that we undertook some additional test lift of the expansion joins so we could guarantee the timings we needed for the ‘live’ lift.

“This was a textbook example of how we work: we help deliver major changes in a safe and professional manner almost without people noticing what we’ve done.”

Prior to the final positioning lifts of the expansion joins, Ainscough had previously worked at the site lifting the joins into safe storage from road transport vehicles.

The Ainscough lift team included: Leslie Bailey – Operator, Darren Sharp – Operator, Phil Rogers – Lift Supervisor, Steve Willis – Hiab Driver and Lee Andrews – Onsite Fitter.


Ainscough Crane Hire has appointed Andrew Spink as Operations Director; Heavy Cranes. Andrew will also join the Executive Board.

Andrew has significant experience running heavy lifting businesses and of supporting specialist engineering projects. Most recently, he was General Manager of ALE Saudi Arabia. Previously he was Country Manager for Sarens Nass Middle East.

Andrew will be a strong addition to the operational team, ensuring Ainscough continue to deliver great service to customers and his skills and experience in large complex engineering projects will help grow and develop business. He also worked as a contract lift manager for Ainscough Crane Hire earlier in his career.

Peter Gibbs said “A welcome addition to the executive team at Ainscough Crane Hire. Andrew brings a wealth of experience in the crane industry”.


Janet Entwistle, chief executive of Ainscough Crane Hire has been elected as the new chairman of the UK’s Construction Plant-hire Association’s (CPA) Crane Interest Group.

The group was set up more than 25 years ago and is the largest of the CPA’s special interest groups, representing the crane sector on a national and international basis. It has been heavily involved in establishing and refining operational standards for crane rental in the UK and champions safe operation of cranes through a range of safety publications for rental companies and their customers.

Entwistle said: “I am pleased to accept this role to represent the industry at an important time for the sector. I am here to listen and to help the CPA and its members to promote safety and professionalism in the crane hire sector.”

“The CIG is here to represent the interests of the whole crane hire sector. To do that well it needs contributions from across the industry and I hope to encourage greater involvement from new and current members. I will be chairing my first meeting of the CIG on 19th September. Please do come along. As well as an interesting agenda, Kevin Minton and I would like to hear your views about what you want from the CIG in the future.”

CPA chief executive Kevin Minton added: “We are delighted that Janet has been appointed to chair the Crane Interest Group and we welcome her valued input. Ainscough Crane Hire has been heavily involved in the Group since it was first introduced by the CPA back in the 1990s, so we are very pleased that Janet is continuing that involvement with such an instrumental role.”

The Crane Interest Group is seeking additional representatives from the industry, interested parties should contact Kevin Minton on Read article on Vertikal here


Ainscough Crane Hire’s HPC team along with Fairport has completed another first at the site of Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset as it carried out the first crane lifts from the site’s jetty access road. The concept of the using a tandem lift for this application was first conceived by Fairport and later developed by the Ainscough and Fairport team working together.

The 500 metre long jetty is being assembled to receive construction materials at the 3,200 MWe power station which has an estimated construction cost of around £20 billion and an operational lifetime of 60 years. In the process, the Jetty will remove pressure on the local road network reducing the impact of the construction on local communities.

With the main structure of the jetty partially complete, work to add the first 8 gantries is being carried out with the lifting support provided by the Ainscough team to Fairport Engineering who designed and manufactured the gantries. Special crane lifting mats were designed and manufactured by Fairport so as to allow the loads created during the lift to be distributed through the road bridge structure.

Locating the crane on the jetty was a precision affair with just 70mm of clearance between the kerbs and outrigger mats. The outrigger pads had to be positioned on specially made steel/concrete mats and within a 10mm tolerance. The positional constraints relating to the lift pad combined with the lift capacity requirements, led the team to select two Liebherr LTM 1060-3.1 cranes with VarioBase technology to complete the tandem lifts.

Technical manager, Mario Martins explains. He said: “This is the only type of crane which could have carried these works out and the flexibility of our fleet once again came to the fore to meet our customers’ needs.

“The stability and positioning of the lift pad is always one of our major concerns but they are rarely if ever as precise as this.

“The 6.0m x 0.55m steel/concrete mats designed by Fairport were manufactured specifically for these lifts and positioned along the length of the jetty.

“It has been a great team effort and I’d like to thank the Fairport Site team for coordinating the operation along with the Ainscough team of Alex Swann, crane operator; Jason West, crane operator and Dale Hamilton, slinger / signaller for their hard work and dedication.”

Earlier this year, Ainscough hit a major milestone by completing 1000 lifts on the Hinkley Point C site.