A new technology has successfully hoisted some 1 million pounds of steel, concrete and other building materials to the top of an under-construction residential high-rise in Detroit’s Greektown neighborhood.
Both the first lift and development of the LiftBuild LLC technology were long in the making.
In what construction experts at Southfield-based Barton Mallow Co. — the parent company of LiftBuild — describe as a “proof of concept,” it took some 10 hours to raise the roughly 500-ton roof of The Exchange building Saturday and into Sunday, rising at a rate of about 20 feet per hour. It started at about 7 pm
As the floors are installed from the top down — literally, as Barton Malow says in one video, turning the construction process upside down — each successive lift will take less time.
Barton Malow first began purchasing patents and other resources that served as the early foundation for the current technology, which involves assembling entire floors at grade level and then raising them to their appropriate position, in 2017.
Joseph Benvenuto, vice president of LiftBuild, said during a tour of The Exchange site in April, that this technology, however, is also vastly different than what was in the patents.
“We spent three years and a very large investment focused on engineering and developing this into something that will do what we needed to do,” he said.
In the big picture, that means reducing construction times by increasing worker efficiency, therefore decreasing construction costs and hopefully easing some of the pressure on the skilled trades, a near constant source of strain in the construction labor market the last several years.