Steel Masters LP Transforms Historic Houston Tower Into Hotel

Tue August 13, 2019 - West Edition #17
CEG


Steel Masters LP, a structural steel contractor, chose two Maeda MC305 mini-cranes over larger, more conventional options to complete its part of a project to renovate a historic building in Texas Medical Center in downtown Houston.
Steel Masters LP, a structural steel contractor, chose two Maeda MC305 mini-cranes over larger, more conventional options to complete its part of a project to renovate a historic building in Texas Medical Center in downtown Houston.
Steel Masters LP, a structural steel contractor, chose two Maeda MC305 mini-cranes over larger, more conventional options to complete its part of a project to renovate a historic building in Texas Medical Center in downtown Houston.
Taylor Inman (L) and John Carpenter, both of Inman Texas, display the company’s versatile line of Maeda mini-cranes. Seeking alternatives to the high cost and traffic disruption that accompany tower cranes, Steel Masters sought out Inman Texas Company, the Texas dealer of Maeda mini-cranes.

With construction booming across the country, tower cranes are part of every big city skyline, including Houston. Some of the work, however, is being done by smaller, less visible distant cousins — mini-cranes.

Steel Masters LP, a structural steel contractor, chose two Maeda MC305 mini-cranes over larger, more conventional options to complete its part of a project to renovate a historic building in Texas Medical Center in downtown Houston.

The job called for steel beam erection and lifting columns and trusses on the multi-floor addition to be built above the existing parking garage of the towers, which is slated to become a Westin Hotel.

The overall project calls for renovation of the current building, which was completed in 1957 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places due to its example of postwar modern architecture. Consequently, project plans required Texas Historical Commission approval for an 18,000-sq.-ft. addition of a lobby, pool and ballroom pavilion on the fifth-floor, atop the parking garage.

Seeking alternatives to the high cost and traffic disruption that accompany tower cranes, Steel Masters sought out Inman Texas Company, the Texas dealer of Maeda mini-cranes.

"The Maeda MC305 provided the answer for us," said Mark Melton, equipment manager of Steel Masters. "It was light enough to place directly on the parking garage deck but could achieve our lifting requirements of up to 6,500 pounds. Compared to the alternative, which was bringing in a tower crane, they proved to be much less expensive as well."

Taylor Inman (L) and John Carpenter, both of Inman Texas, display the company's versatile line of Maeda mini-cranes.

Steel Masters leased two MC305s from Inman Texas and lifted both to the parking garage deck with a large mobile crane, which was then removed from the job site — quickly and easily with no traffic disruption whatsoever.

The MC305's ability to maneuver in a confined workspace also was an important consideration, as was fuel economy, according to Melton.

"Maeda's mini-crane is powered by a very efficient Yanmar diesel engine, so the fuel savings was great," he said. "We could work all day on a tank of diesel."

The minimal overall weight of the MC305 also allowed Steel Master to move safely and efficiently across the top of the garage as work progressed, and the zero turning radius of the mini-crane proved adept working in the tight working conditions, according to Melton.

The cranes performed so well that one unit was taken off the job after just a couple of weeks.

"Maeda cranes demonstrated once again that they offer unique solutions for hoisting on various tight access and unique work sites," said John Carpenter, sales manager of Inman Texas.

According to Carpenter, the features that make the MC305 an attractive lifting solution include:

  • maximum lift height of 47 ft.
  • 6,560-lb. maximum load capacity
  • width of 51 in., allowing it to fit through standard double doors.
  • 360-degree swing
  • operator friendly controls, LMI display and extensive safety features
  • spider-leg design that allows flexibility when fitting the crane into confined spaces.

The crane has multiple outrigger length settings that can be easily extended or retracted, depending on the load and worksite space. The load charts are programmed into the OEM Load Moment System which is integrated with the outrigger interlock safety system and sensors. The durable rubber track system keeps the machine stable while traveling, and also allows for precise maneuvering in tight spaces. The remote control with digital display and load weight readout is standard on all MC models.

Carpenter pointed out that a host of options are available, including an electric motor for zero emissions and indoor work, 1,870 lbs. capacity Searcher Hook, non-marring rubber tracks, an Oktopus glass manipulator with remote control and various styles and sizes of outrigger pads.

"Maeda mini-cranes are equipped with all of the safety systems that larger mobile cranes are equipped with, just in a scaled down, small package. Safety features, operator friendly systems, and compliance with crane and hoisting regulations, and are what make Maeda MC's the solution on many projects for GC's and their subcontractors."

For more information, visit steelmasterslp.com, inmantexas.com and maedausa.com. CEG