What Is a Hoist in Construction: A Comprehensive Guide

June 12, 2024

Effective vertical transportation is crucial in the construction industry, particularly in high-rise buildings. Understanding the differences between hoists and lifts, as well as selecting the appropriate equipment, can significantly impact the efficiency and safety of a construction project.

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## Understanding Hoists and Lifts

A hoist is a construction device typically using a pulley system to raise objects vertically. It is common in high-rise buildings for speeding up and securing the movement of goods and personnel. Hoists operate with wire ropes, chains, or hydraulics and can be manually or electrically powered.

On the other hand, a lift includes an aerial platform, maintained by a specific form of extension, used for transferring materials and workers to elevated parts of a building. Lifts are practical for accessing hard-to-reach areas, especially useful in fine finishing tasks. They operate through hydraulic pressure, electrically powered cables with pulley systems, or propulsion in climbing lifts.

## Types of Hoists and Lifts

### Material Hoists
Material hoists are designed for transporting construction tools, equipment, and heavy supplies.

### Personnel Hoists
Personnel hoists are designed for carrying construction crew up and down the building, controlled from inside the cage with safety devices to prevent free-fall.

### Types of Construction Lifts
There are various types of construction lifts, each suited for different tasks:

  • Aerial Lifts or Bucket Trucks: Used for elevated workspaces.
  • Articulating Boom Lifts: Suitable for reaching over obstacles.
  • Telescopic Boom Lifts: Allows extended reach.
  • Electric Scissor Lifts: Ideal for indoor tasks needing a stable platform.
  • Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts: Designed for uneven surfaces.

"Construction hoist" by Matt From London is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/.

## Key Considerations for Choosing Hoisting or Lifting Equipment

### Types of Loads
Specific load requirements dictate the choice of hoist or lift. For example, the transportation needs of pallets, concrete, machinery, or personnel will influence the decision. Evaluate the volume and nature of loads to estimate transport efficiency.

### Complexity of Construction
The height and structure of the building, such as skyscrapers versus smaller structures, are critical considerations. Challenges like space constraints and elevation changes affect assembly and usability.

### Maintenance Requirements
Assessing equipment conditions before and after usage is essential. Matching the right equipment with the project helps avoid accidents and maintains efficiency.

## Standards and Compliance

Various standards ensure the safe and effective use of hoisting and lifting equipment. For construction hoists, ANSI/ASSE A10.4-2007 and OSHA 1926.552 provide comprehensive guidelines, while transport platforms are governed by ANSI/SAIA A92.10-2009.

### Selection Criteria
Understanding machine specifications can greatly aid in estimating or planning. The right equipment enhances efficiency and can be the difference between winning or losing a contract. Mismatched equipment can lead to inefficiencies or unnecessary costs.

## Recommendations for Project Suitability

### High-Speed Personnel Hoists
For very tall buildings, such as high-rise construction, using a high-speed personnel hoist is beneficial.

### Transport Platforms
For mid-rise buildings, such as commercial projects with a height of 250 feet or less, restoration projects, or where space is limited, transport platforms are more suitable.

### Careful Consideration
Analyzing site limitations, building configuration, and trade crew requirements before deciding on equipment is essential. A well-informed choice of hoist can positively impact the project outcome.

## Industry Trends

Historically, contractors might have relied on a single type of hoist, usually the personnel hoist. However, growing awareness of alternative options like transport platforms may lead to more efficient and cost-effective construction methods. Collaborating with industry experts and rental companies can further aid in selecting the right equipment and ensuring safe, efficient operations.

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