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Premier Cranes: Doing the heavy lifting

Premier Cranes & Rigging’s works on bridge 73, as well as the West Gate Tunnel Project portals exemplify the company’s capabilities for major infrastructure works.

Premier Cranes & Rigging’s 350-tonne Liebherr crawler crane was being used as part of works on the West Gate Tunnel Project. Roads & Infrastructure learns what it takes to deliver on such a large project.

How do you set yourself apart, in such a heavily congested sector?

This question, while asked by many, is often only answered by the few that truly understand what it means to provide a unique perspective and solution within the infrastructure sector.

For Premier Cranes & Rigging, providing the latest technology and experienced crane crews as part of its crane hire service offering wasn’t enough.

Since its foundation 16 years ago, the team at Premier Cranes & Rigging have always stressed the importance of developing a supportive and inclusive company culture. 

Referred to as #TeamLifting, this philosophy aims to empower the company’s staff, while also highlighting the importance of each team members contributions in delivering recognised success to its clients.

Kye Giacomin​​​​, Head of Business Development – Premier Cranes & Rigging, says this ethos can be felt right through the business, leading directly to higher quality project delivery outcomes, as well as greater client satisfaction.

“Internally we use a system called ‘Bonusly’ where you can recognise your peers. Whether it’s someone at a leadership level, or someone on site, they can equally be recognised for their achievements and their great work,” he says.

“It’s great for morale day to day, and it’s great to see people wanting to achieve even more, regardless of their role in the company. I’ve never seen a system like it. It’s awesome. It all forms part of the larger #TeamLifting attitude.”

Premier Cranes & Rigging has contributed multiple crane models and crews as part of its works on the West Gate Tunnel Project.
Premier Cranes & Rigging has contributed multiple crane models and crews as part of its works on the West Gate Tunnel Project.

This same attitude transcends to the company’s culture around safety and expertise, with internal processes ensuring that all crew members and operators are not only suitably experienced and certified but also acquire the necessary soft skills
to diligently handle jobs no matter how big or small.

Each team member is regularly hand-picked for specific projects, based on their previous experience and skillset.

Giacomin​​​​ says the company’s approach to project delivery is focused on delivering the right result for the end client.

“We go above and beyond, and our approach is consistent, even if it’s a small sized project or something quite large. We can help them internally throughout every department. In some ways we’re a tool. When we’re helping with the management of a project, the client can feel at ease,” he says.

This approach helps to make sure projects can be delivered on time and on budget.

But, Premier Cranes & Rigging rarely rests on its laurels, a key factor in the company’s keenness to get one of its largest crane’s onto its next project. 

The LR1350/1

The company’s vast crane hire options is ever growing, obtaining a crane model that is rarely being used across Victoria. 

The LR1350/1 crawler crane comes with a 350-tonne maximum load lifting capacity, making it suitable for major infrastructure works with diverse lifting requirements. 

It features a lightweight design, built to increase the ease of transportation and set-up. The crane also features a derrick boom and suspended ballast, for greater load capacity. 

Andrew Esquilant, General Manager, Mobile Crane and Crawler Cranes – Liebherr Australia, says the LR1350/1 crawler crane is emblematic of the ever-growing professional relationship between the manufacturer and Premier Cranes & Rigging.

“It’s a very versatile crane. If you had all of the associated parts you could potentially end up with thousands of different configurations that you can put together. They’ve bought a crane that can tap into a unique niche market in some ways. I think that’s where Premier Cranes & Rigging have done quite well,” he says.

The LR1350/1 also comes with a superlift, helping to increase the stability of the crane during heavy lifts, on top of what is already a stable design, aimed at evenly distributing the operating weight throughout the base of the machine.

The superlift also adds further flexibility to what is already a highly customisable crane configuration.

With client satisfaction at the forefront of their decision-making, Premier has gone a step further to acquire all necessary components to ensure its clients can use any LR1350/1 configuration for whatever their site-specific challenges necessitate.

Esquilant adds that the crawler crane is perfect for tackling the Big Build projects in Victoria. 

“The 1350 was designed from our factory to go into a crane fleet similar to the size of Premier Cranes & Rigging,” he says. “There’s a particular focus on assembly and it’s easy to erect from an operational point of view, while at the same time being able to carry out good solid lifts.” 

The LR1350/1 is just another in Premier Crane & Rigging’s existing range of Liebherr cranes. Esquilant says the relationship has been developed and grown on trust, as well as a commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for both companies.

“If there are any concerns, we can sit together as colleagues, have a professional discussion, find a solution, and move forward. We both like to keep it real. No matter what it is, we can pick up the phone and talk through it. That’s something that I really enjoy about dealing with a company like Premier Cranes.”


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The West Gate Tunnel 

The growth in Premier Cranes & Rigging’s profile as well as its capabilities has resulted in the company becoming a key player in infrastructure works across Victoria.

A core reason for the company’s selection for works on the West Gate Tunnel Project in Victoria, one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country.

The $6.7 billion project, being delivered by the Victorian Government in partnership with Transurban (with construction contractors CPB Contractors and John Holland), will establish an alternative route to the heavily congested West Gate Freeway. 

This will include widening the West Gate Freeway from 8 to 12 lanes, the construction of new twin tunnels under Yarraville, and deliver a new bridge over the Maribyrnong River, which will join a new elevated road along Footscray Road, providing a new connection to the city’s north and significantly improving efficiencies in Melbournians’ daily commute across town.

It’s during these works on the elevated road along Footscray Road that Premier Cranes & Rigging was able to showcase the LR1350/1.

Premier Cranes & Rigging acquired the LR1350/1 crane over three years ago to support its position as a heavy-lift crane contractor.
Premier Cranes & Rigging acquired the LR1350/1 crane over three years ago to support its position as a heavy-lift crane contractor.

Antony Feek, Senior Project Engineer – CPB Contractors, first joined the project in September 2021 and has played a key role in the delivery of the West Gate Tunnel Projects steel portals in 2022, as well as current works on Bridge 73.

“I worked with Premier Cranes & Rigging when they provided the steel rigging crew for the steel portals. For the works on Bridge 73, this is where they deployed the LR1350,” he says.

The company’s works, including bridge girders, precast beams and temporary structure installations have impressed. So much so that the company nominated its 95-tonne bridge girder lift and installation for CICA (Crane Industry Council of Australia) lift of the year 2023 in the over 20 tonnes category.

The lift included the use of the LR1350/1, lifting a 40-metre-long steel girder over the CityLink off ramp, less than a metre from live traffic. This was achieved using a variable derrick, allowing the LR1350/1 derrick to move during the lift and avoid the existing bridge structure during the slew movement.

This represents just one of Premier Cranes & Rigging’s many intricate lifts completed on the project.

Feek says the company has made a positive impact on the project, contributing not only equipment and machinery, but also essential expertise.

“They’ve provided some important resources to the project, from the people on site, as well as their engineers that are doing some of the studies and helping with bookings. They’ve provided a great level of knowledge.”

“Logistically they’ve been a big help, providing a lot of support. That extends to our operation staff, through to our engineers, making sure that any required changes are able to be implemented on site quickly,” he says.

Premier Cranes & Rigging working on a key data centre project in Truganina, installing 95 tonne precast concrete beams using the LR1350/1’s superlift for enhanced lifting capacity.
Premier Cranes & Rigging working on a key data centre project in Truganina, installing 95 tonne precast concrete beams using the LR1350/1’s superlift for enhanced lifting capacity.

Giacomin says Premier Cranes & Rigging’s project management-led approach to project delivery is what makes the difference.

“We’ve got a lot of backend support. Through our compliance team, operations team, planning team, as well as our in-house engineers, we can assist our customers as they progress through each stage of a project,” he says.

“With our people being on site, between the field crew and the office crew, there’s a lot of communication between the site group and the audit group. The overall support starts right from the planning phase, right up to execution and delivery. It helps us to fully understand what the customer requires.”

Feek says he’s proud of the teams’ contributions to the West Gate Tunnel Project, saying he looks forward to seeing the end product.

“It’s a proud feeling to be able to see the impact that you’ve had on the site. I’m very much looking forward to being able to drive on it when the projects complete.”

Premier Cranes & Rigging’s Liebherr 350 tonne crawler crane and expert crew is now available for project-based hire. 

This article was originally published in the May edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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