The luck of the crane: A look at one of the most exciting milestones in construction
June 8, 2023

In Japanese mythology, there is a belief that anyone with the patience and commitment to fold 1,000 origami paper cranes will be blessed with good fortune. On an entirely different continent, and for cranes of an entirely different sort, we at Collecdev have our own beliefs about the relationship between cranes and good luck.

“When constructing a high-rise tower, one of the most significant milestones is the erection of the tower crane,” says Jennifer Burstein, Collecdev’s VP of Construction. “To mark the occasion, our team always tosses a coin into the concrete slab as it’s being poured, as a sign of good luck.”

That tradition has been a part of every Collecdev community to date, and with an award-winning line-up of human-centred developments across the city, it seems to be working.

The next coin will soon be tossed at Cielo, a statement of refined architectural modernism, redefining Toronto’s skyline with a landmark Bloor Street address. Site shoring is now underway and the next major milestone will see the construction crane erected on site, Burstein’s favourite part of the process.

“After months of staging activities, the installation of the crane marks the start of the physical structure taking form. It’s the moment when the vision for the project starts to transform into physical reality, and when our purchasers begin to see their future home coming to life.”

Cielo will use a Luffing Jib crane, a specialized piece of equipment ideal for construction in dense urban areas like the downtown core. Unlike a Hammerhead crane, where the jib (the horizontal beam that supports the load) rotates 360 degrees horizontally around the mast at a fixed level, a Luffing Jib crane has an angled jib that can be raised and lowered, anywhere between 30 and 90 degrees, in a motion known as “luffing.”

Not only can a Luffing Jib crane accommodate heavier loads than a Hammerhead, but it is also particularly adapted to working in confined areas thanks to its reduced radius and ability to be parked in a vertical position when not in use, rotating freely with no danger of colliding with neighbouring buildings.

The Luffing Jib crane at Cielo will be a RAIMONDI LR 273 with a maximum lift capacity of 18 tons, a maximum radius of 60 metres, and a maximum hook height of 61.8 metres, making it the most efficient choice for this particular site.

Though they may be more technology than ornithology, the cranes on construction sites are nonetheless a portent of positive change, signalling development, progress, and economic growth for the city. In 2022, a study done for BILD (Toronto's Building Industry and Land Development Association) found that the construction industry contributed over $60 billion to overall economic activity in the GTA in 2021 alone. And that economic activity helped support $17 billion in wages, salaries, and employee benefits. Construction investment in the GTA accounts for approximately 1.4% of all GDP, Canada‐wide, and the construction industry is the 4th largest sector in Ontario, and the 7th fastest-growing sector overall.

The cranes dotting the city skyline are signs of something big. Big gains in sustainability (the more we build up, the less development has to expand into greenfield areas). Big opportunity (high-rise residential and office towers provide more options for cities to attract a highly-skilled workforce). Big innovation (greater employment opportunities mean greater knowledge sharing).

It’s no wonder the installation of the tower crane is Burstein’s favourite milestone. It’s a sign of amazing things to come, and brings us one step closer to delivering another complete community to the GTA.

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