The Importance of Rigging in Construction
The Importance of Rigging in Construction
Rigging is critical in finishing construction projects on time, as it ensures heavy loads of building materials and equipment are moved safely and efficiently.
An experienced rigger can improve the safety of a site by creating a safe and secure rigging system, especially when loads have to be lifted hundreds of feet in the air. Construction riggers have several jobs and responsibilities in a location. They use rigging equipment such as cranes, hooks, slings and more to haul loads. We break down what construction riggers are, their role on a construction site and the equipment they use below.
What Is Construction Rigging?
The definition of rigging in construction can refer to two things — the act of rigging and the equipment used to perform rigging. In the construction industry, rigging is the moving and lifting of heavy equipment, construction materials and other objects. Rigging differs from other loading operations because it uses specialized equipment and mechanisms to move and lift loads. Rigging equipment refers to the cranes, slings, pulleys and other devices used to move machinery and materials around.
This process is essential on any building or construction site, as it enables teams to safely lift and move large equipment into place. Typical items carried by rigging on a construction site include heavy power tools, structural beams, large flooring slabs, HVAC systems and other large components.
Rigging in construction extends beyond the building site. Building projects often require specific materials or equipment to be transported from other building sites or suppliers. A rigger will securely transport these loads to the desired site and offload them or move them into place. The rigging system and equipment used will differ between sites based on the location’s unique needs.
Trained rigging professionals must perform rigging to avoid any incidents. Professional riggers are responsible for calculating a load’s suspension, weight and balance. They are trained to choose the appropriate equipment for any rigging and oversee securing loads for transport and moving them around on a site.
What Is a Construction Rigger?
A construction rigger is a person responsible for the rigging and rigging equipment of a building site. A trained rigger can ensure the proper equipment, hardware and methods are used when lifting a load on-site. They will also take care to operate the rigging machinery correctly to avoid accidents or damage to the equipment.
While rigging functions appear daily on building sites, a construction rigger has more specific responsibilities. Typically, they are on a site to move large equipment, such as forklifts or skid steers, to a different part of the site or get materials to the higher levels of a building. A construction rigger will fulfill many duties while working on a construction site.
Construction Rigger Jobs and Responsibilities
The construction industry thrives on large-scale building operations. This includes the construction of educational establishments, manufacturing plants, apartment blocks, industrial facilities, health care buildings and other structures. Building these structures requires large equipment and heavy material loads. Moving, lifting and placing these heavy loads can be complex, needing specialized knowledge to transport these loads safely.
There are numerous variables to consider when setting up a rigging system, from the weight of a load to where it needs to go and even the path it will take. Riggers are trained to assess and calculate all the variables of moving a shipment based on its weight and where it needs to end up. Analyzing these variables and developing the safest rigging solution is crucial when loads are moving around buildings nearing completion, especially if the load comprises bulky or unwieldy objects.
Once riggers have completed their analysis, they create a lifting plan that includes attaining the necessary permits and managing potential risks. Construction riggers are responsible for safely and efficiently moving loads on a building site to avoid any incidents due to dropped loads or mishandled equipment.
A construction rigger’s primary responsibility is setting up, operating, repairing and dismantling rigging systems on a site. These sophisticated systems are made up of ropes, pulleys, blocks, cables and even heavy machinery. While powerful machinery such as cranes and hydraulic systems have made rigging easier, riggers still rely on physical strength and traditional methods using pulleys and ropes, particularly in tight spaces.
Construction riggers are responsible for safely moving bulk supplies, equipment and other heavy loads around a construction site. To do this, they have many jobs and responsibilities, including:
- Evaluating the lifting requirements and selecting the proper gear for the operation based on the lead’s weight and size.
- Calculating the weight of a load.
- Preparing a construction site for rigging by clearing any obstacles.
- Setting up and preparing rigging systems, including support structures, safety equipment, hoists and lifting devices.
- Inspect rigging to ensure they are correctly set up and operate safely.
- Modifying any part of the lifting system to work more efficiently.
- Securing loads to rigging for lifting, transport and placement.
- Attaching pulleys, blocks, slings and other equipment to fixed structures, like overhead beams, ceilings and towers.
- Repairing or replacing rigging equipment.
- Operating rigging and equipment such as rigging lines, lifts, hoists, cranes, pulling gear and hydraulic equipment.
- Controlling heavy loads and equipment transport around the construction site and to and from the site.
- Using verbal and physical directions to other team members involved in lifting and moving loads.
- Ensuring the safety of loads and workers on-site by constantly checking rigging for defects or errors.
- Removing and dismantling rigging systems once a lifting job is completed.
- Storing and maintaining rigging equipment to ensure it stays in the best condition.
- Following rigging regulations set out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure lifting is done safely.
Setting up rigging is demanding and requires considerable skills, knowledge and training. Experienced riggers can improve the safety and efficiency of a construction site.
Types of Rigging Equipment
To create a rigging system, riggers use several pieces of equipment. This can range from simple ropes and wires to cranes and hydraulic systems. Each piece of equipment is critical to lifting loads on a construction site. The gear used on each load will depend on its size, weight, the distance it needs to be transported and other factors.
Each rigging job requires different combinations of equipment to move loads. Riggers are trained to correctly set up and use various equipment, preventing potentially deadly incidents. This is why it is essential to use trained rigging professionals when lifting heavy loads on a construction site.
Below is a list of the most frequently used rigging equipment:
Rigging hooks are designed to lift heavy loads and prevent the risk of slipping. They are mostly made from forged alloy steel. There are various rigging hook sizes and designs suited to lifting different loads. Rigging hooks are categorized according to the size of their throat or the hook opening.
There are four main types of rigging hooks:
- Sorting hook
- Clevis grab hook
- Choker hook
- Eye hook
The rigging hook used to carry a load can depend on the size of the throat and the weight load indication of each hook. Other factors that influence the choice of hook include the angle of the lift, the shackles used and the connection point on the load and the hook.
Lifting Blocks and Pulleys
Pulleys and blocks are essential to rigging systems. They reduce the force needed to lift heavy loads, making it easier to move materials into place. Lifting blocks can be of different sizes, capable of lifting varying amounts of weight — some up to several tons. There is a range of lifting blocks, including:
- Swivel blocks
- Square blocks
- Snatch blocks
- Tilt-up blocks
There are two types of pulley systems — single and double. Rigging ropes are used to circle the pulley and then hook onto loads that need to be lifted. Riggers will choose a pulley based on the frame, sheave size and rope. Wire rope can handle more weight so it is often used on lifting blocks, while synthetic rope is used in pulleys.
Shackles are links that connect various pieces of rigging equipment to each other. Shackles are generally steel loops closed off with a pin. This allows for a secure connection between equipment while lifting a load. This design also allows shackles to be quickly connected or disconnected from equipment.
There are two categories for shackles — anchor and chain. Within these categories are different types of shackles, such as screw pins, safety and round pins.
Eye bolts are used as anchor points or for looping cables in a rigging setup. They are available in various sizes and materials to suit different load weights and types. There are two main types of bolts – shouldered and straight. Straight eye bolts work best in linear or vertical rig systems. Shouldered eye bolts are best for lifting loads at an angle. Other types of eye bolts include U-bolts, lag eye screw bolts and screw eye bolts.
The angle at which a load is lifted is only one factor influencing which eye bolts are used. Other considerations include:
- Load weight
- The type of sling
- The material of the frame, like wood or metal, that the bolt is attached to
Wire ropes are durable cables used in several ways when rigging. They consist of wires and strands coiled in a helix or spiral pattern around a wire core.
Typically, wire ropes are made from carbon steel or stainless steel. As they are used outdoors, wire ropes can be coated or galvanized to protect them from the elements. They also need to be regularly inspected for any damage such as corrosion.
How wire ropes are used will depend on their strength and thickness. Stronger and thicker ropes will be used for heavy loads. Thinner rope will be used to lift lighter loads or to wrap around lifting blocks.
The strength of wire ropes depends on:
- The ropes diameter
- The material used for the core
- The grade of steel used
- The number of strands
Lifting slings are made from synthetic materials and are used together with wire rope to move heavy equipment or materials. They help balance loads and provide additional bearing strength. There are two types of slings. Endless slings are loops of synthetic material. Eye-and-eye slings have flat, triangular or twisted ends that can be metal or synthetic.
Spreader Bars and Lifting Beams
Spreader bars and lifting beams connect cranes and loads. Lifting beams carry a load’s weight from one point, while spreader bars distribute the weight over a wider area. Due to this, lifting beams are thicker than spreader beams because they are at risk of bending at the point they are connected to a load. They are used to carry lighter loads or loads that need extra support.
Spreader bars are used to carry heavier loads. They make these loads more stable by distributing the weight across multiple connection points. A sling is used to connect the spreader bar to the rigging equipment.
Cranes are a crucial part of rigging. They can lift heavy materials and equipment into place with ease. Riggers can use a few types of crane equipment on a construction site or when loading equipment for transport.
Below is a list of the most common crane equipment riggers use:
- Picker truck: These trucks are a combination of a flatbed truck and a small crane hoist. They are highly mobile and can quickly move loads around a construction site.
- Forklifts: Forklifts can carry large or small loads around a location. They can also be used to place loads onto transport trucks.
- Flatbed and drop deck trailers: Industrial equipment can be bulky and unwieldy. Drop deck and flatbed trailers are ideal for transporting equipment or materials to a site.
- Crawler crane: This type of crane is well-suited for the rough terrain of construction sites because it uses treads instead of tires. They are capable of lifting and moving heavy loads.
- Bridge or overhead cranes: Ideal for transporting equipment and materials around a warehouse. They can also place construction loads on trailers for transport.
- Static or fixed cranes: These cranes require a fixed foundation. They can lift large loads around a site or high onto a building.
Hire Professional Construction Riggers at Equip Trucking
Rigging is a crucial yet hazardous element of construction. Choosing a rigger for your construction job is critical. They need the necessary skills, experience and rigging equipment to safely and efficiently move loads around your site.
At Equip Trucking, we have over 30 years of experience in rigging, and our professional team of riggers can handle projects and loads of any size. We provide various industrial rigging services and will work with you to develop custom rigging systems to suit your site’s specific needs.
Contact our team today for a free construction rigging estimate!