The Crane Arrives and We Set All 11 Containers in Just Under 5 Hours!

December 21, 2010 - Today was the big day and it went off picture perfect.  For months we have been concerned about getting the containers positioned on the foundation, and on top of each other as we had designed.  If you have been following this blog, you know we went through over 50 designs before arriving at the one we felt allowed "form to follow function", at an estimated price we could live with.  Building it in Sketchup was difficult, so how much more difficult would it be to build in real life?  Turns out, it was not so bad - but a great deal of the credit has to go to our crew and the preparation work that went into the job.

I arrived at the job site a little after 7:00am, and Adam arrived moments later with his helper A.J. followed by John. Leroy Jackson of Jackson's Rollback Trucking came in on schedule at 7:30am, and David and Truman Cox came in at 7:45am.  Leroy started positioning some of the boxes we would need first, while everyone else was busy reviewing the step-by-step process we rehearsed the day before.  We started with a short safety meeting and learned the crane signals we would be using to communicate with the operator.  It rained slightly the night before, and was windy and overcast early in the morning.  We have not had any significant rain in over 2 months, but looking up at the sky, it sure felt like it could start raining any minute.

At 8:00am sharp the men from Louisiana Crane drove up with a 75 ton unit that looked plenty big for the job. It took about 45 minutes to set the crane and get everything ready for the first container to be placed on the slab.  The crane uses some very heavy rigging chains and hooks which were lowered onto the top of the first unit. The hooks go into the corner slots of the container, and guide wire ropes are placed on the side of each unit to pull it into place.  It is amazing to see just how accurately the crane operator can place an 8000 pound box.

Once we got going, we developed a routine and one by one, got each of the boxes set and tack welded in place. By 12:30pm, the last of the boxes were craned into place and the crane operator started to break down his equipment. We got him paid up, and the crew headed over for a well-deserved pizza buffet. After lunch the guys cleaned up, and began welding each of the boxes to the foundation plates and to each other.

If you would like to see a time lapse of the 11 containers being set in place, click here to check out this video.

We decided our next meeting would be the following day with the Architect to determine if we could build a roof that was effective, but less expensive than the one we designed in Sketchup months ago.