View Full Version : How to move rooftop units....

08-22-2005, 10:36 AM
I have several Trane 15 ton rooftop units and ex blowers weighing up to 2000 pounds to install at a local factory. I cannot schedule the installations so that all units could be set at the same time by helicopter. My question: What sort of equipment/methods does everyone use to move equipment across flat,rubber with rock-ballasted roofs without damaging the roof membrane or breaking your fool backs?Some of these units will need to be moved 250' and lowered onto roof curbs. Can a roof buggy/gantry be bought to move these units? Any replies appreciated, please pass on any methods, elegant funky, homemade equipment, etc. Thanks, Spoon

08-22-2005, 02:36 PM
I would insist that they be placed at the same time or plan on multiple lifts. Let me guess, the estimator did not budget for more than one lift.

Maybe some sort of cart with wide tires to spread out the load?

08-22-2005, 03:05 PM
You can move them across roofs with the wide tire roof carts , and sheets of plywood - as long as there are no obstructions.
When you figure how much time and money , and labor you will tie up- much better to use a helicopter lift if it's too far for a crane.

If the sales perosn forgot to budget enough for crane/copter, just think of how much it will cost if someone's back is hurt trying to grunt those units.

08-22-2005, 03:40 PM
They make large "A Frames" that can move units like that. I've used them several times. In S Florida the crane company had them so if we knew he couldn't reach it we just ordered the A frame too.

The ones I've worked with were shaped like the old style swing sets only out of heavy duty 4" iron pipe.They had big rubber wheels on each leg and two chain houst coming down from the center.

08-23-2005, 08:41 PM
5 tons, yes; 7.5 tons, maybe; 10 tons, I don't know; 15 ton RTU (2,000 lbs), hell no. Someone is going to get hurt. That roof could cave in just rolling it across the roof. Good luck though.

08-23-2005, 08:47 PM
Looks like your taking some big risks if you try moving them across the roof. Make sure your liability and WC is paid. I bet it would end up being cheaper to hire a crane or helicopter.

08-23-2005, 09:01 PM
You might check and see if they have a "Roof Bond" with their insurance co. , they may not want the units to be rolled across the roof. I know I have run in to this on what size hole you can cut in to the roof.

08-30-2005, 10:39 PM
there is special lifting appuratus with rigging on it available with large tires.

08-30-2005, 10:48 PM
to move several 15 ton RTUS with no crane or helicopter noway man that roof will never support the units rooling over roof you will have new unit on thr floor of the building

08-31-2005, 07:52 PM
if you could distribute the load evenly across as broad an area as possible, you could drop the per tire tremendously.
And that per tire weight is what everyone here is worrying about.

just brainstorming here ... if you had tubes which would not crush under the load, and they were ten or fifteen feet long each ... and there were two or three of these underneath the load itself ...

your load would be distributed over several roof joists all at once and you would have the best chances of success this way.
Success defined as: no one hurt, no roof caving in and no leaks caused as a result of your venture.

but this all hinges upon .... how clear of obstructions is this roof?

I have rarely met a roof I liked!

08-31-2005, 10:08 PM
get a crane or a chopper. but if your crazy/stupid enough......3/4" plywood and a gantry/chainfall with slings and shackle set up. or better yet call a heavy machinery moving outfit, they have the right stuff. we had a big Liebert unit that only cleared thru a window (too big for elevator) by 1/2" all around. those guys got it the building with zero damage to anything. pretty impressive.

08-31-2005, 10:16 PM
OK,.. now that I have the miricle answer to you problem I expect imput on the question I'm going to post on a job that I have coming up.

AND THE ANSWER IS! http://www.airsled.com/ OK here ya go,.. don't thank my genius all at once folks,.. just sit in quiet contemplation and aw.

mike h
09-01-2005, 09:44 AM
Air Sled's instruction manual says "don't use on gravel".

On a finished concrete floor, we used something similar to move pre-fab condo's [two to three room building blocks on a 15 feet by 25 feet concrete slab].

Even though the floor was smooth-- occasionally we would run over trash [loose nails or screws especially] on the floor---- and the rubber diaphragm [thick like a truck inner-tube] would blow.

09-01-2005, 12:06 PM
What'da ya want to just will them in place, you are still going to HAVE to do SOME work ya know. "rock-ballasted roofs without damaging the roof membrane" Rake them rocks back outa the way until all you got is the membrane,.. call the airsled guys out to give you tech support, tell them to take pics for advertizment.

09-01-2005, 08:12 PM
One commercial contractor I used to work for had us lay down 3/4" plywood and we put the RTU's on a cart with wide tires and moved the units around that way. We lifted the units off the curbs and on to the cart by sliding pipes through the ends of the bottom frame. A man on each corner with the owner directing and offering helpful advice such as lift with your knees. Nobody got hurt just some sore backs and one hell of a workout. Those units are very heavy especially when the duct wants to come with it. If I had guys working for me I wouldn't risk it. If someone triped or something gave out serious injury could occur. Why can't you have a crane pick them, set them on the ground if necessary, move the crane and then set in place?

09-01-2005, 09:47 PM
why couldnt ya just use several baloons, all tied together with one hook to attach the clevis to?

Helium or something?

why wouldnt it work?

09-02-2005, 12:16 PM
Or something like a hot air baloon with your company logo on it. That would be cool... until a big gust of wind came by and blew the whole thing off the the roof and it started floating off into the city. Where it hits a powerline knocking out power for many local business and comes crashing down in the middle of a busy intersection where it later appears on the evening news. On second thought it might be better to keep the logo off. :D

09-05-2005, 09:29 PM
The lawyers would be all over you.