MAPS is the first permit manager in Chicago to obtain permits for the use of self-erecting cranes for new construction. We obtained a permit for the new TOD residential building called A.M. 1980 and most recently for Concord at Sheridan, a mixed-use building co-developed by the Chicago Housing Authority at 6438 N Sheridan Rd in Rogers Park.

Self-erecting cranes are useful for mid-rise buildings (up to seven stories). Unlike traditional tower cranes, they do not require truck or hydraulic cranes to erect, and require smaller concrete foundations. They are manufactured by the same companies that build tower cranes, including Liebherr and Manitowoc’s Potain brand. A Potain Igo T 130 was used at the Concord at Sheridan project.

Mike Pawlak, a project manager at Madison Construction, said “We were introduced to the use of cold-formed structural steel wall and floor panels as an alternative to using concrete and structural steel.”

Using self-erecting cranes is connected to that trend of using cold formed steel (also called cold formed metal framing and light gauge framing) in mid-rise construction. Tower cranes are often overkill and too expensive for these projects, while truck cranes are too slow.

A truck crane can construct a mid-rise building but it's less efficient. There are space constraints to locating the truck on site,site operations require setting the truck crane back from the building wall, and it must be moved around the site to reach far corners.

“We had originally planned on using a conventional tower crane, but due to the costs related to the height of the building and the tight site constraints, it was determined that the cold-formed steel using a self-erecting mobile tower crane was a more feasible for this project,” Pawlak said.

Using self-erecting cranes is still new in Chicago. “An extensive permit process, with specific requirements from the Department of Buildings, was needed in order to allow this type of crane to be used,” Pawlak said. The City required that a concrete pad be used to anchor the self-erecting crane, although it is much shallower than pads built for tower cranes.


 A Potain Igo T 130 being used to construct a hotel in Ithaca. Photo:  Manitowoc

A Potain Igo T 130 being used to construct a hotel in Ithaca. Photo: Manitowoc

Pawlak mentioned that the pad design had to be changed and resubmitted as the permit process for the new crane type evolved. “Although these unforeseen issues required design changes and resubmittal to DOB for approval several times, the teamwork of Drucker Zaidel Structural engineers and MAP Strategies helped expedite the revisions needed, with consistently fast turnaround from the City. Thanks to the efforts of both firms, we were able to get our permit approved in a very short period of time that helped shave valuable weeks off of our overall construction schedule.”

If you’re developing a mid-rise cold formed metal framing building in Chicago, contact MAP Strategies to learn how effective it might be to use a self-erecting crane, or to start obtaining your permit for one right away.

Photos of Concord at Sheridan under construction