hoist operator training vancouver

Raising the Roof Without Lowering Productivity

The Situation: The Paradox Hotel in downtown Vancouver needed a way to hoist all the pieces of the steel canopy at its podium up as high as seventy feet above street level. The crane had to stay in place for several months and operate within a narrow space between two existing high-rises, all without blocking the street and the sidewalk or interfering with a second crane on the same site.

Special Challenge 1: Busy street, busy sidewalk. Don’t block either. Ever.

The City of Vancouver would not allow a crane to block any part of West Georgia Street for long periods of time. The same went for the sidewalk. So, we engineered a twenty-foot stand over the sidewalk and set the self-erecting crane on top of that. People could easily pass underneath. One problem. We still needed City approval to block the street while the crane was lifted onto its stand. However, it turned out that we had another project at the Fortis Building just down the block which also needed a crane lifted onto the site. So, we waited several months for street closure approval, then piggybacked both jobs together on the same day, the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s.

Special Challenge 2: Wide reach in a narrow space.

The steel for the building’s base canopy needed to be placed between two high-rises, which meant limited mobility for the crane. The Potain Self-Erecting Tower Crane features a hydraulic unfolding jib which allowed us to retract the jib throughout the project. When folded, the crane could swing out over the street to pick up steel from trucks and offload it onto the site. Once the steel was between the two buildings, the crane could fold its jib out to reach to all of the difficult places. By law, a self-erecting crane must be able to weathervane, slewing 360° when not in use. Since this crane couldn’t do this within the narrow space, we implemented an engineered tie-down to secure the jib when out of service.

Special Challenge 3: Choreograph a two-crane tango.

A tower crane was already working the site erecting the main structure tower, but it couldn’t be utilized to place the steel at the podium since it was working at capacity adding floors. We organized a safe work schedule and radio contact between both crane operators, allowing them to safely lift off different trucks in the same loading zone without interfering with each other.

The Solution in Summary: It was a tall logistical order, but we came up with an integrated plan that included:

  1. A 35-metre Potain HD40A Self-Erecting Tower Crane mounted on an engineered 20-foot stand set up over the sidewalk, allowing foot traffic to move freely underneath
  2. An innovative hydraulic jib allowed the crane to maneuver between the two high-rises
  3. Radio coordination between the two crane operators, which enabled smooth operations

To read the full case study, click here.

Crane company

In 2014, we bought the self-erecting, full-sized tower and training divisions of Eagle West Cranes and renamed ourselves the Bigfoot Crane Company. Since then, we have been an integral part of many construction projects in Western Canada, either selling or renting cranes.

When the market collapsed in 2008, the construction industry slowed down and therefore so did the need for cranes. Within a few years, however, the demand for cranes and crane services increased, our business returned and expanded, and we were optimistic about the future.

By 2015, our positive forecast for the coming year was an accurate picture of our industry, as shared by Crane & Rigging Hotline magazine in their February issue where they discussed the tower crane industry outlook for that year.

Part of why we love the work that we do is because we have the opportunity to be a part of something larger. For decades, we will see the buildings we’ve helped to build standing tall, offering themselves as landmarks, homes and workplaces for many people.

One of these projects is the new Trump International Hotel & Tower in Vancouver, BC. The twisting luxury tower made of glass and steel was 63 stories when it opened in February 2017.

Lift and Access magazine wrote an article explaining our role in this iconic building. In the construction process of the Trump International Hotel & Tower, the contractors were unsure how to put together the pieces of a steel canopy that was planned to be at 70 feet above the street between two high-rise buildings.

Fortunately, our Managing Director, Ryan Burton, was able to offer an innovative solution to the challenge, through the placement of a Potain HD40A self-erecting crane atop a 20 foot engineered platform. We rented the crane and platform to the construction team for three months, allowing them to set approximately 200 pieces of canopy, in addition to transporting other heavy materials around the work site.

Our team was glad to have the opportunity to offer our services to many important construction projects throughout Western Canada like the Trump Towers. As our region continues to develop and grow, we look forward to selling and renting the highest quality cranes and accessories available on the market.

photo via: www.huffingtonpost.com

Self-Erect Crane – A Rough Terrain Solution

With one of our more scenic jobs in picturesque Deep Cove, Eagle West Equipment (acquired by Bigfoot Crane Company) installed a 35 meter self erect crane with luffing jib on a really interesting residential job. The photos illustrate some of the problem solving scenarios that our self erect cranes can provide for builders who may find their projects in difficult position.

With limited ground space available to bring equipment and materials down to the site, the Eagle West Cranes & Equipment team (acquired by Bigfoot Crane Company) found the right solution for the builder and home owners to ensure that the building timeline could be still be met. Since the there was a 100′ cliff face at the backside of the house it was important to have a crane that would work in a difficult position on the jobsite. The jib of the crane need to be in a luff position (angled) in order to be able to miss the roughly 25 degree slope at the top of the cliff.

One of the photos shows the jib in luff over top of some of the terrain at the top of the cliff. There was very minimal clearance even with the jib in luff.

Pretty amazing project and an absolutely beautiful location for a house.

The challenge: One Large Ocean-side Cliff

The solution: Our 35 Meter Potain Self Erect with 30 Degree Luffing Jib

The client: Belmar Custom Homes

Mobilization: EWCE Placed the SE Crane onto Land Via a Barge and Crane Waterside

[prime_gallery width=”640″ height=”480″ desktop=”3″ tablet=”2″ mobile=”2″ autoresize=”true”]

Boscaro Self Dumping Bin

The A-D Series Self Dumping Crane Bucket

Bigfoot Crane Company is your one-stop shop from the smallest of self erectors to some of the largest tower cranes in the market today, all complimented with the accessories you need to maximize on-site crane performance. Bigfoot Crane is the exclusive North American distributor of Boscaro Crane Attachments.

using crane buckets


Crane accessories like Boscaro’s Self Dumping Bins provide a payload up to 10,575 lbs, capacity up to 4 cu yd and a “no hands required” self dumping feature that can increase safety and efficiency on a project site.

dumping crane buckets


Eagle West Equipment (acquired by Bigfoot Crane Company) had the opportunity to do a live demonstration of the A300D self dumping bins for our customer, Northwest Construction Inc. We consulted with them about their project needs and highlighting how the accessories could help them on their project.

self dumping crane bucketscrane buckets


Eagle West Cranes & Equipment’s Safety Application Specialist, Derek Autenrieth commented “The live demonstration went very well. Larry and his team saw the safety and efficiency that our self dumping bins offer. They purchased two self dumping crane buckets and we look forward to opportunities to work with Northwest again.”

self dumping crane buckets by boscaro


Northwest Construction Inc. based out of Bellevue in Washington State, is a full service site work contractor specializing in commercial, industrial, and residential developments throughout the Pacific Northwest.

This is what they had to say about their purchase and application of two A300D Boscaro Self Dumping Bins:

“The product demonstration and video that Derek provided for us when we came to Eagle West was very informative and definitely helped us in making our decision to purchase the bins and understand their value for us and our projects. We appreciate the time and effort put in by Eagle West and will continue to look for any opportunity to do business with them again and again.”

Larry Smith
Project Manager
Northwest Contracting Inc.



Spreader Bars for Lifting

Revolutionize Your Use of Crane Spreader Bars

The use of spreader bars has many advantages; they protect your load from rigging materials, enable multi pick point lifts and ensure a maintained sling angle throughout your hoist.

Although the typical spreader bars of the industry have these benefits, their use comes with some drawbacks. Typical spreader bars, even when telescopic, have a maximum length. Once the needed length for a lift exceeds this, you will need to purchase another spreader bar. For anyone who performs a variety of hoists, this will require a variety of spreader bar sizes to be available.

crane spreader bars


With the Boscaro EZ spreader bar lifting system the need for an assortment of bars is eliminated. The unique design of male and female interlocking components provides you with multiple configurations. Each section can be utilized as an individual bar or the sections can be combined to form 1 adjustable spreader bar. “Jobs often require multiple lifts with varied size requirements. With this system I’ve been able to perform a pick with a 20 foot wide bar, change the configuration on site and proceed with a second lift using the bar at 14 feet. Normally you would need two sets of bars for that,” remarked Butch Garton, Crane & Rigging Specialist at Delaware based company, Active Crane Rentals, Inc. Based on 1 foot increments, Boscaro’s 8 foot system is adjustable from 7-34 feet; allowing you to adapt to the changing demands of your jobsite.

crane spreader bars lifting amtrak carhoist with ez spreader bar


Using the 8 foot spreader bar lifting system by Boscaro also helps to improve your lift capacity. The components feature a lightweight design yet are capable of a 35 ton capacity when used at 8 feet and 7 tons when adjusted to 34 feet.

pipe pull with crane spreader bars


The bars come galvanized, which increases durability and prevents paint chips due to repetitive movement. The lightweight build and the option to disassemble the components make transportation, assembly and storage of the system simple and time efficient. “Other bars are heavier and don’t come apart, so you can’t have the crew move them by hand,” noted Butch. “I can put my entire EZ spreader bar lifting system in my pickup truck, take it to the job and assemble it onsite in 15 to 20 minutes, without any assist equipment required.”

crane spreader bars placing trusses


The EZ spreader bar lifting system by Boscaro is available in a 4 foot or 8 foot system. The 4 foot option extends from 4-10 feet and has a capacity of up to 8 tons when fully extended. With a range of 8-34 feet the 8 foot kit option is rated for up to 7 tons at a 34 foot length. For further details about how the Boscaro EZ spreader bar lifting system can improve your efficiency and help manage project costs please contact Bigfoot Crane Company.


san marco cranes

Westridge Construction of Regina, Saskatchewan (westridge.ca) faced an interesting challenge.

They were under contract to build a $12 million, three-story office complex. Each floor was 20,000 square feet and there was a partial basement of 9,500 square feet. The project was to be a cast-in-place concrete structure with three staircase shafts and one elevator shaft. But those details were not what made this project challenging—it was the fact that the project site was so tight, with no access to the west or south side of the structure and very limited access to the east and north sides.

In fact, to say that the construction site was tight would be a significant understatement. Operating space was at a premium. Because of that, Westridge was in fact planning to use an off-site materials staging area, which seemed absolutely necessary, even though acquiring the yard and planning for extra materials transport would add significant cost to the project.

However, there was another solution, one that could improve site logistics and eliminate the need for an off-site yard (and its related costs). Really? What solution could possibly increase efficiency and decrease costs at the same time?

The answer? A San Marco SMH 420 Self-Erecting Tower Crane.

self erecting tower crane efficiency

In fact, the San Marco SMH 420 cut production time on this project by 45%.

(At the time, the tower crane was supplied by Eagle West Crane and Rigging. Since then, Eagle West’s entire fleet of tower cranes was acquired by Bigfoot Crane Company.)

The San Marco SMH 420 hydraulic self-erecting crane was definitely the right tool for the job. It has a hook service height elevation of 77′ and a jib length of 136′ 9″ providing a total service range of up to 273′ 6″. The crane has a maximum lifting capacity of 8,820 lbs and can lift 2,205 lbs at its jib tip.

More importantly, this crane did not require any concrete footings or foundations and has a foot print of just 14′ 9″ X 14′ 9″. Amazingly, the SMH 420 can operate inside just 324 square feet of yard space! Another key value of this crane is that it is possible to set up quickly, between four to eight hours after the components are delivered to the site.

Before the San Marco arrived on site, Westridge was adding floors using telescopic forklifts and manual labor. But when the crane arrived and was installed, Westridge was constructing floors in half the time, since all of the columns could be set and poured with the crane, while all of the slabs and shafts were poured with a concrete pump.

crane for tight job site

The crane saved on production time as all the columns could now be set and poured with the crane while all slabs and shafts were poured with a concrete pump.

According to Dave Labbie, the Project Superintendant, the use of the self erecting crane was able to increase the on-site service area by at least 50% while on-site production increased at a minimum of 45%.

office complex construction

According to Dave Labbie, the Project Superintendent, the use of the self-erecting crane increased the on-site service area by at least 50% while on-site production increased at a minimum of 45%.

Labbie further commented: “The Rod-Buster is very happy, all his materials are placed exactly where he wants them, manual labor is significantly reduced, with a big increase in productivity, a double win. He told me that he wishes there was a crane like this on every job in town.”

tower crane, saskatchewan

Additional factors that Site Superintendent Labbie commented on:

Increased Safety

  1. The material handling safety factor at the site was much improved and brought a higher safety factor to the entire project site
  2. Increased accuracy of material placement, ensured materials were placed exactly where the tradesmen wanted them with less exposure to all material handling risks
  3. Significant reductions in manual labor meant less on-site congestion and less risk to less people overall

Site Management

  1. The SMH 420 provided a single unloading zone on-site for all incoming materials serviced by our crane, which eliminated the need for an off-site staging yard
  2. Materials were easily redistributed with our crane, and placed exactly where crews needed them on the construction site
  3. Job site space was effectively doubled

Labbie concluded: “This crane is one of the best values we have ever spent money on. In terms of return on investment, it will be paid off in two projects. We are very happy with our purchase.”

tower crane safety tips


tower crane in vancouver, bc

The most common cause of crane accidents is human error, whether that means crane operators, signalers, or those responsible for maintenance and safety procedures. Safe work practices and procedures are absolutely essential for the prevention of crane accidents.

While a crane may appear to be a simple device, its operation involves complex physics. You don’t need to be an engineer to operate a crane safely, but everyone involved with the crane’s operation should be follow some basic steps for safe operation.

Here are the top ten ways to prevent crane accidents:

  1. Crane Inspection. Every crane should undergo an annual inspection—that’s the first step. But daily checks are also critical, to ensure that all components are working properly. Many operators are unaware that pushing a crane to its limits can lead to the damage of key components, which could lead to failure.
  2. Field Level Hazard Assessment. This is the process by which the operator identifies site and job-specific hazards, then evaluates the associated risks, and then eliminates or controls the hazards prior to beginning work.
  3. Lift Plan. Every lift is different, so it’s important to review all hazards, the load weight capacities, integrity of the equipment, the possible effect of wind, and any other factors. The operator, riggers, and other workers involved with the lift must be part of that planning process.
  4. Communication. Everyone needs to know what’s happening. Communicate hazards and controls for the site-specific task. Communicate safe work practices and procedures to be followed. Communicate the plan to successfully complete the task. Communicate and assign clear roles and responsibilities to the ground crew. Communicate and agree on the plan by having everyone sign off on the plan.
  5. Follow the Plan. Far too often, accidents occur when the plan is not followed or enforced.
  6. Know the Ground Conditions. The most powerful crane is only as strong and stable as the surface upon which it stands. It’s critical to know what’s underneath the crane, in terms of the classification of the soil or other material. Only then can the setup and the load limits be adjusted accordingly. While many cranes are equipped with outriggers, they do not ensure a stable surface. It’s important to know the load weight and how that is affected by the conditions of your job site. The crane’s load chart can help you determine whether your lift will be safe.
  7. Know the Crane’s Radius. The specific arc in which the counterweight and boom travel is called the swing radius. It’s important to ensure that the area within that radius is barricaded off. It is critically important to establish a control zone for those authorized to work in the immediate area. Constantly check the area throughout the day to ensure that there are no objects in the radius of the boom. If an obstacle is introduced, be sure that the operator and other workers are aware of it and a plan is intact to avoid it.
  8. Use the Crane Properly. Cranes are engineered for vertical lifting, so be careful to ensure that the crane is not being used for side loading or other improper activities. Using a crane to drag something across the ground or from under an obstacle puts extreme stress on the boom, on the turntable, and on all of the structural members. It could potentially weaken key components and lead to failure.
  9. Clear Signaling. Whether you use radios, air horns, hand signals, or some other method, there needs to be clear communication between the operator and the signaler. That’s especially critical when a crane is making a lift in which the operator cannot see the load. Don’t assume that everyone knows how instructions will be communicated. Make sure everyone understands the signaling system and follows it.
  10. Stay Focused. Everyone involved with the operation of a crane needs to stay alert and focused on the job at hand. Distraction and lack of focus are common causes of work-related incidents and accidents.