Measures to consider during the COVID-19 pandemic (Part II)

The new coronavirus outbreak has hit the economy hard. With businesses closing, city curfews, manufacturing shutdowns, there has been a detrimental effect on the global economy.  Here’s a summary of measures taken by countries and construction companies  to address the pandemic.

There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, especially for contractors and small businesses in the construction industry. It’s important for any business, especially companies whose work involves going into people’s homes and places of business, to act when an unpredictable pandemic like coronavirus suddenly emerges. While many businesses have been forced to halt operations indefinitely, some essential businesses, which in many states includes construction (critical trades), are still operating. To better protect themselves, their employees, and their clients, those business owners should consider the following tips.


During times like this, no potential signs of the virus can be allowed on the jobsite. If anyone is displaying acute respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing, fever or shortness of breath), they pose a potential virus transmission risk. No one should return to work until their temperature is lower than 37.8° C for at least 24 hours and they feel well enough to do their job effectively.

For businesses with more than one employee, owners should review sick-leave policies and make sure they are flexible enough to accommodate the current environment. It might not be the employee, but their family member, that ends up sick, so be prepared for people to have to miss work to care for a sick child or relative. Finally, waive any requirements for notes from health care professionals to validate illness. Physicians’ offices and medical facilities are extremely busy, and those requests are not their priority.


Viruses and bacteria can linger almost anywhere for hours, so regularly wipe down cell phones, workstations, handles, doorknobs, truck interiors and tools with a disinfectant. Contractors should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at least three to four times throughout the day and avoid touching their faces. If possible, purchase 60% to 95% alcohol-based hand sanitizer and apply it in addition to regular hand washing.


With many businesses temporarily closed and a lot of people working from home, there may be opportunities to take on projects in vacant office spaces or businesses. If contractors can pivot to those types of projects, they are protecting themselves, their families and the general public. For projects that involve contact with other people, contractors should be sure to follow guidelines about maintaining two meters of distance.


Another way to practice social distancing during this time is to work towards going paperless and automating business processes that were previously handled manually. Contractors can upgrade the tools they use to conduct everyday business, such as mobile invoicing and estimating, as well as add an easy online option for payments. This will reduce the amount of person-to-person contact and enforce social distancing protocols by eliminating the need to collect checks in person or visit a crowded bank. By moving more functions online, contractors can show they are adapting to the current environment, as well as create efficiencies that are effective now and will continue to be in the future.


With COVID-19 making headlines every morning and information changing hourly, it’s important to have the most up-to-date information. Staying on top of breaking developments will help contractors make better-informed decisions regarding their day-to-day operations and help them prepare for the impacts of new safety measures and restrictions. Contractors staying informed on, and following, the latest recommendations from health care professionals and government officials will also demonstrate that they are taking the situation seriously and give customers peace of mind about working with them.


Ideally, this would constitute of senior managers from HR, Admin, HSE, and Finance. Get the full team aligned with the true severity of the macro COVID-19 situation and worst-case financial scenarios. The Crisis team should set safety as the number one priority and set cash conservation and liquidity as a secondary priority. Avoid inaction or “wait and see” approach which could damage the company. The team should have an Agile Methodology in announcing policies and mode of operations.


You can control the sending hand brakes by initiating immediate actions (e.g. hiring freeze, opex, capex, working capital). Similarly, set aggressive break-the-glass cost actions triggered by more extreme revenue scenarios. Outline a medium-term plan to lean out the cost structure for the future. It should be a plan that is more automated, more variable and, more shock resistant.


Stabilize supply chains of physical goods from likely geographic and labor disruptions while building contingency operational plans for all aspects of the business.


Many contractors and small construction businesses will likely have to pause their work at some point because of safety recommendations. When that happens, it will be vital that they communicate quickly and clearly with their suppliers about why projects have to be delayed, an updated timeline if possible and what suppliers can expect moving forward. Regularly calling suppliers with updates will also go a long way in maintaining that relationship in the long term.


It’s the hallmark of a great business owner to keep things in perspective and not allow the quick tempo of the current situation to affect the company’s priorities. Along with listening to and being there for clients and employees, business owners should be a source of steady guidance. The current obstacles are temporary, but clients and staff won’t forget effective, calm leadership. This is an opportunity to learn, work together and become stronger in the long run. Viewing it as such will benefit contractors, clients and the industry as a whole.

What about Government Measures taken during the COVID-19 crisis?

Europe’s construction sector has issued a joint statement calling for urgent measures to protect workers’ health, support economic activity and help the sector to recover in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Specific short-term measures requested of European Member States are as follows:

  • Put in place tailor-made health and safety measures, protocols and guidelines with the active involvement of relevant stakeholders
  • Support the construction supply chain by putting in place measures allowing the efficient functioning of the EU (European Union) internal market
  • Carry out massive support and stimulus program
  • Ease the administrative burden and the conditions for employers to implement temporary unemployment measures.

The statement added: “A performing construction supply chain is crucial for maintaining the activity, with proper health and safety conditions. It is therefore essential to guarantee the circulation of construction products; equipment and provision of services in full respect of the instructions delivered by public health authorities.

The UAE has proved to be an example of countries’ proactive initiatives to addressing the pandemic.

  • Complete sterilization of public spaces. Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has completed the sterilization of the Dubai Metro and the Dubai Tram. This includes all 47 metro stations, 79 trains, 11 tram stations and Dubai Trams. The RTA will also be sterilizing its 1,372 buses, five bus depots and 17 bus stations. The sterilisation covered the entire fleet of Dubai Taxi, limousines and shared transport (smart rental) operating in Dubai, which exceed 17,000, as per the RTA. Roads and Transport Authority has taken all the necessary preventive measures during the past few weeks to ensure the highest levels of protection for users of public transportation, whether through continuous sterilization and cleaning operations for all of these means, or through the precautionary measures that it imposed and began applying in regulating transportation use Public and ensure physical separation and other measures aimed at preserving health and safety for all, and reducing the chances of spreading the virus.
  • Screening Facility, drive-thru testing in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Taking the new centre developed by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company-SEHA, allow for The mobile testing facility to dedicate efforts for testing individuals for coronavirus, as part of the country’s precautionary measures to address the spread of COVID-19.Checks are done in 5 minutes, while the center provides services to about 600 people daily starting from 8am to 8pm daily.
  • Increased regulations to promote social distancing by closing all leisure industries and imposing lockdowns and curfews. To support the current precautionary measures in cooperation with the Health Authority, the TRA (Telecommunication Regulatory Authority) in coordination with the service providers launched an awareness voice message when making a phone call, and SMS alerts sent 30 minutes before the lockdown and again 1 minute before lockdown. In Dubai, the 24 hour sterilization campaign will last for 2 weeks during which only vital industries such as healthcare, supermarkets, logistics and construction are active, and this is controlled through the issuance of permits.
  • Drivers of cars need to be wearing masks and only 3 passengers are allowed in sedans, and a 20% reduction of capacity in buses.
  • Labor camps are under strict scrutiny to test all suspicious employees

In addition to the focus on tackling the spread of the coronavirus, the UAE government is also addressing head on any collateral damage resulting from the economical slowdown. On April 4th, the UAE’s central bank doubled its banking stimulus package to US$70 billion as business sentiment eroded in the Gulf’s commercial centre. The announcement followed new measures to guarantee liquidity in the banking system. The package expanded on a previously announced AED126 billion (US$34.3 billion) program to assist its lenders. The central bank has also postponed the planned implementation of certain Basel III capital standards to 31st March 2021 for all banks with the aim of diminishing the operational burden on the financial industry. The overall stimulus which consists largely of monetary and off budget measures account for more than 10% of the UAE’s economy.  On April 1st, the UAE cabinet announced additional measures, notably improving payment terms for contractors involved in government contracts as well as exempting companies from any fines that accrue from any delays caused by the COVID-19 virus. For payments, the cabinet instructed federal ministries and bodies to pay contractors and suppliers within 15 days; while for contract delays, suppliers impacted by COVID-19 are exempted from fines for delays on federal government contracts for a renewable period of three months. The cabinet also directed that small and medium suppliers will be awarded 90% of federal government purchases. Those measures come after the UAE cabinet approved a US$4.4 billion economic stimulus package that includes a renewable six-month suspension of work permit fees and reduction of labor and other charges that aim to accelerate major infrastructure projects across the federation. On March 16th, the Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) lowered key lending rates, following a 1% rate cut by the Fed to counter the economic effects of COVID-19, which will adversely impact profitability of UAE banks, according to rating agency Moody’s. Leading Dubai banks have announced a series of relief measures for customers affected by COVID-19

Contractor Case Study: The example of RAQ Contracting

The pandemic has impacted almost all sectors and industries, posing severe challenges for businesses, including the contracting companies, like RAQ Constracting. The supply chain for special items required by the construction industry has been affected as many vendors, suppliers, and manufacturers have either stopped working or are working in reduced capacities. One of the most immediate challenges was the reduced capacity on UAE’s transport infrastructure, resulting in labor shortages and productivity on project sites. To combat this, RAQ provided additional vehicles and buses for staff transportation and some making multiple trips during the day to ensure healthy progress on site. Understanding the critical nature of the current situation, RAQ has begun conducting COVID-19 awareness sessions to its staff and workers in order to keep operations running in a safe environment. RAQ persists during the COVID-19 crisis by carrying out a deliberate strategic plan and keeping projects’ progression in check, along with ensuring the well-being of the employees. The Contractor is committed to doing its part by ensuring the health & safety of its employees and visitors by following these guidelines:

  • Check-in/out is done through iris or facial recognition instead of biometrics
  • Forehead temperature of employees and visitors are taken by an infrared thermometer and recorded for the HSE heads to take action if required
  • Personal items, desks, chairs, and other unattended items are being disinfected before and after working hours on all sites
  • Social distancing is practiced among employees and other visitors. Employees who can work remotely are encouraged to stay home to maintain working individuals at the office to “essentials only.”
  • Hand sanitizing dispensers are placed at entrances and exits of every room.
  • Pantry staff must wear gloves and masks at all times
  • Self-quarantine is imposed on employees experiencing symptoms or returning from travel
  • Staff and workers dorms along with site offices are undergoing periodic disinfection
  • RAQ had implemented a new seating chart policy for its employees to reduce the office capacity by 30% and ensure that social distancing is practiced
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are being distributed daily amongst RAQ employees
  • Furthermore, all transport vehicles are disinfected regularly, and commonly touched surfaces are sanitized twice daily. Hand sanitizing dispensers are fixed on all vehicles. To ensure that regulations to adhere to strictly, a clear instruction list has been issued to all transportation/logistics and sites to reduce the capacity to 25% in all transport vehicles.

Supplier Case Study: The example of NFT

At NFT, we are committed to our customers, employees and communities.

Our occupational activities are relatively safe and in line with provisions taken to combat spread of COVID-19. We work with steel structures in open spaces that are exposed to the sun and high heat, which makes it resistant to spreading of the virus by nature. However, the exposure remains with the human element outside those activities such as commuting to work and personal lives’ activities. This is why we are monitoring closely the latest developments surrounding the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and updating our action plans with full vigilance according to the latest protocols of health and safety shared by the UAE authorities as well as international recommendations. The health and safety of our employees and customers are and have always been our number one priority.

First step in facing any hazard is to conduct risk assessments and act according to the scientific recommendations to tackle the hazards. Our response covered several aspects to insure safety of our employees as our prime concern, and continuation of flow or work as long as the construction sector is still active in the UAE. We adjusted our modus operandi and adopted several work procedures according to International Recommendations and mitigation measures mandated by the UAE Government. Our updates, guidelines and recommendations come from trusted sources who are experts in the field, such as Department of Health in the UAE, World Health Organization (WHO), or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

From the very early stages, we set up Crises Management Committee formed from out top management, QHSE, Administration, Operations, and HR departments. The job of this committee is to follow up on the current situation, development of COVID-19, contact with UAE officials, contact with our sister companies overseas, and come up with measures in line with the official recommendations. NFT conducted more than 15 dissemination and awareness sessions about the virus and methods to control its spread to different groups in multilanguages. We made sure that the sessions we tailored to each group to reach all our employees and each in their vocation. Special attention sessions and trainings were conducted with sanitation people, drivers, or the more vulnerable groups who can be more exposed as per our risk assessment surveys.  In addition, flyers, posters, videos, and publications were circulated wherever possible inside the offices, workshop, vehicles, and even labor camps dormitories.

Highest risks and challenges occur while commuting to work or living in labor camps that have high concentration of people. With the extraordinary efforts of the health authorities in the UAE, we managed to screen all our working force and implement extra precautions in collaboration of labor camps management. Commuting to work according to the UAE authorities directives, follows 30% occupancy in the vehicles. Effectively it means, we tripled our busses to labor camps, we increased our fleet/trips of small vehicles and minibuses. In addition, we added separate plastic sheet inside the busses in order to separate the driver from the passengers. Deep disinfection is carried out for the whole yard periodically and upon need. On the other hand, all teams were divided into segregated groups that work in isolation from each other. In case any symptoms appear on any of the team members, the one with symptoms would go for check up, while the others in the same team would be sent to self-isolation until further verification of the health conditions. Meanwhile, the job would be carried out with another group, hence keeping work flow uninterrupted.

In parallel, the same measures were conducted to maintain social distancing in the office, when possible the employees could carry out their jobs without the need to come to office. In case coming to office is essential, we restructured the office distribution as to maintain necessary social distancing as recommended. An infrared gun thermometer was placed at the reception for all those entering to voluntarily check their temperatures. A special team is deployed for disinfecting all surfaces, office appliances, door knobs, handles, restroom facilities, round the clock during working hours. Paper circulation was reduced to minimum, and when necessary special disinfected plastic files were used to carry the papers.Masks and gloves are distributed in different types and frequency according to the risk analysis.Special awareness sessions and measures are put in place for the more Vulnerable people (by virtue of their age, underlying health condition, clinical condition or are expecting). They follow the highest strict precautions.Fingerprinting for sign in/out were temporarily deactivated and replaced with photo/ web sign in/out.Provided additional handwashing facilities with soap, and if not available hand sanitizing solutions, especially in vehicles, and at building hallways, entrances, and exits.We increased rubbish bins number and rubbish collection, and spread them in order to reduce any remaining.We reduced site meetings to absolute necessary ones whether external meeting or internal. When possible, we use virtual meetings using technology as Microsoftteams.

Manufacturer Case Study: The example of Terex

Guided by the Terex Way values, the tower crane supplier is working hard to ensure business continuity while following strict preventive guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.  They continue with shipping equipment, the fabrication of parts and the full operation of service centers. Globally, the parts customer service is open with team members working remotely, equipped with the required tools and access to respond to customer inquiries through a number of channels, including for Materials Processing businesses, for Genie, for Terex Utilities, and Terex Service Centers, call centers and other flexible delivery alternatives. However, Terex has temporarily suspended manufacturing operations in certain locations, responding to changing customer demand and complying with government mandates to close facilities.  Nonetheless, this has not stopped the manufacturer from releasing their field service team from supporting customers on site. Technicians are supporting customers and others virtually (e.g., phone, video conference) as much as possible

An Opportunity amidst the crisis

It should come as no surprise that the COVID-19 global pandemic hasn’t impacted all industries equally. Some businesses, including department stores, traditional restaurants and childcare centers, have suffered devastating losses as a result of stay-at-home orders and social distancing protocols; others, such as food delivery businesses, digital advertising agencies and subscription services, are experiencing unprecedented surges in sales.

As example is Saudi Arabia’s local online retailer BinDawood Holding who, since the escalation of the Covid- 19 crisis, has had average sales on a 10-day basis increase by 200%, while its average order value rose by 50% and app installations by 400%. The company has two e-commerce platforms – BinDawood and Danube – which are connected to their respective supermarket and hypermarket chains, enabling customers to purchases groceries and other goods online.

Elsewhere, fellow Saudi grocery delivery app Nana has also benefitted from the recent turn towards online shopping, raising $18m in a Series B funding round in late March to expand operations across the Middle East, with investors including venture capital funds Saudi Technology Ventures and Middle East Venture Partners. This follows a Series A funding round that raised $6m last year. The company has expanded capacity three-fold following a surge in demand associated with the Covid-19 outbreak. This is expected to continue in light of the Saudi government’s decision to impose tighter curfews in major cities.

The surge of video conferencing is remarkable. An example is the Zoom, who despite scrutiny over security issues, has seen its market value skyrocket to some $35 billion. As people around the world stay home due to coronavirus risk, Zoom has become a go-to service for remote education, exercise classes, games, church services and happy hour celebrations. Couples have gotten married in “zoomed” ceremonies. Birthdays have been celebrated. Funerals have been virtually attended.

In addition to the increase in production of PPE and flu fighting supplements and medication, there is an increasing trend of building remote testing facilities by governments. To address the need for testing in urban areas for those without vehicles, CannonDesign architect Albert Rhee created a walk-in testing booth that is slated for public use. Keeping medical professionals healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential in both slowing the rate of infection and meeting heightened staffing needs. Many governments and healthcare providers are finding this to be a difficult task due to the global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies. A walk-in testing booth provides an alternative solution that eliminates physical provider-patient exposure in a modular format that is simple to deploy for temporary testing operations. The design is based on testing operations already in place at Yang Ji General Hospital in Seoul, South Korea (featured in this YouTube video). Similar solutions have emerged throughout the world, but design development and production seem to be limited to single-user, single-site applications.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also pushed some companies to launch new products catering to the fear amongst consumers. Paint manufacturer Caparol has announced a new interior paint product with anti-microbial properties that that it says uses silver ions to bind and destroy the cell membrane of biological contaminants, including bacteria and viruses. Caparol Arabia, the UAE arm of the German paints multinational, claims its ‘CapaCare Protect’ is “an innovative and sustainable solution that provides better protection against harmful micro-organisms”. The new solution, which contains the company’s patented and advanced ‘SILVERbac’ technology, is said to secure walls and surfaces from bio-harm. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Caparol Arabia says it has launched further testing to check its antimicrobial paint effectiveness at reducing the spread. However, the antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties of silver ions and silver compounds have been extensively studied for years.


Sources: 9/143142.article?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Construction+and+Coronavirus+-+30th+March+2020&utm_term=C%26C

Did You Know?

Termed as one of the most important construction equipment, construction cranes have come a long way since they were first built by the Ancient Romans in 500 BC. Over the years, the types and size options of construction cranes have increased but their purpose remains the same to this date; to help lift and place heavy materials.  In a world without cranes, we would not have been able to witness the rise of bridges, skyscrapers, and some of the most marvelous works in the architectural field. Here are some interesting and little known facts about our unsung saviors: Construction Cranes.

 Animal powered Cranes

The first cranes built by man were by the Ancient Greeks in 500BC. Made of wood and in its most primitive stage, the cranes back then were used to pull heavy objects. Contrary to the highly advanced construction cranes of the modern world today, the Greeks had animals, and sometimes even humans, power their cranes to build some of the most beautiful structures of their day.

Origins of the Name

Cranes are named after the world’s tallest flying birds- Cranes. With their boom resembling the slender long legs, the jib resembling the lanky necks, and being large, it was hard to miss the fact how alike the two looked. Apart from resemblance, cranes are also one of the largest manmade tools to be made and, thus, the more reason to be named after the majestic bird.

Big Carl: The World’s Largest Crane 

The tallest crane in the world reaches a height of 250 meters, carries more than 3000 tons, and is called ‘Big Carl’ (feature image).The Big Carl was designed by a Belgian crane rental service and was carried to Somerset, UK, on over 250 trucks for months. Big Carl is being used to build the first nuclear power plant in the UK in 30 years. In terms of tower cranes, The KROLL K-10000 has held the title of one of the world’s largest tower crane for over 40 years. Standing almost 400 feet tall with a 266 foot jib reach, the standard jib model can lift 120 tons at a radius of 269 feet. The long jib model can lift 94 tons to a radius of 330 ft. The K-10000 can rotate 360° once it has been bolted to its 40 foot diameter concrete base. This allows the crane to cover an area of 7.5 acres, or approximately 6 football fields. A second servicing crane is attached to the top for the original construction and future maintenance of the K-10000. A system of three counterweights, one set and two mobile on trolleys, weighing a total of 100 tons, are used to balance the crane. Under this load the crane can withstand wind speeds of up to 175 mph. With its immense jib span and load capacity the K-10000 decreases the time for construction on huge construction projects by eliminating the need for small cranes and crawlers.

The First Known Crane to Man 

Even though the Greeks invented the first manmade crane, the first crane-like device to be known by man is called the ‘Shaduf’. The Shaduf was used by the Egyptians for more than 4000 years and is still used in some parts of Egypt and India. The primary function of the Shaduf was the transportation of water. With an upright frame with a suspended long pole or branch, the Shaduf is the earliest crane-like tool with a lever mechanism.

The Human Knuckle Mimicry 

Key parts of a construction crane’s body are the boom and the jib. A crane’s jib has been designed specifically to copy the natural movements of a human finger. This design decision was made to hook products and hoist them at a more acute angle, allowing movement on a wider range, and navigating materials in tight spaces.

A Crane for Every Need

Hammerhead cranes cannot be used for construction projects that take place at sea. This is why Floating cranes have come about to serve projects like ports and oil rigs.

With the help of modern technology, a different type of crane has come into existence to cater to every construction need. Fixed cranes, themselves, have over 10 types of cranes available for use. Each type of crane can be used for different projects, terrains, and environments.

In summary, construction cranes are more than just tall standing structures. They enable modern structures and are undoubtedly the backbone for any construction project.  With over 35 years of experience construction cranes, NFT takes pride in knowing all there is to know about construction cranes, especially tower cranes. Our services range from sales to maintenance, to technical services, also providing training for those who wish to learn more.

Conexpo 2020 in Las Vegas

ConExpo has dealt a new hand to visitors and exhibitors at this year’s show: the outdoor Gold and Silver lots attendees are used to are being replaced by a new lot, in a new location. The new location is a six-minute taxi drive from the Las Vegas Convention Centre, at the junction of Sahara Avenue and Las Vagas Boulevard, close to Circus Circus. Dedicated shuttles and the monorail will allow visitors to get between the locations: there will undoubtedly still be plenty of relevant exhibitors in the halls, as well as the larger outside exhibits in the new venue. The new ‘Festival Grounds’ will replace the space lost in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Gold Lot due to an impending expansion to the facility.

Despite the rise of the COVID-19 virus, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), organisers of ConExpo, has reassured the industry that the show is on track to go ahead. Exhibits are being set-up, and the AEM is taking careful steps to ensure a healthy show. The AEM says that its top priority continues to be the health and safety of all participants at ConExpo, including attendees, exhibitors, vendors, staff, industry partners, and others involved in the show. The organisers are closely monitoring the news and will follow any protocols that are provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Hand sanitizer will be available in all registration areas, media rooms, information stands, the international trade centre, meeting/education spaces, workforce and VIP areas. Further, staff will also be cleaning those areas more frequently, especially tables, keyboards/screens, door handles. We have also confirmed hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the grounds. However, some exhibitors have dropped out such as the Platform Basket. The northern Italian spider lift manufacturer has taken the decision not to attend Conexpo next week in order to ensure there is no chance or concern of spreading the Covid 19 virus. In a thoughtful and sad statement to Vertikal.Net the company said:

“Our company is located in the North of Italy (Emilia Romagna), where Covid19 has affected part of the population and where some restrictions have been outlined by our department of health.” “For this reason, and in respect of the North America people, Platform Basket has decided to give up the exhibition, even if we are now very close to the opening and the event is one of the most important international shows in the access platform field. And where it was a very important occasion for us to display our spider lift range and to present our new model the Spider 20.95.”

On the other hand, Manitowoc is looking forward to Conexpo to showcase the new hydraulic luffer and self-erecting tower crane models. Potain is to launch its new MRH 175 luffing jib tower crane at Conexpo next month and follows the launch of its MRH 125 a year ago.

Maximum capacity is 10 tonnes and maximum jib length is 55 metres with a tip capacity of 1.5 tonnes or 2.7 tonnes with a 50 metre jib. Fully luffing the jib takes less than two minutes and the maximum line speed is 215 m/min when paired with the high performance 90HPL25 hoist. Manitowoc says its fixed counter jib and topless structure design helps fast erection and dismantling as well as making it more compact for transport needing only four standard containers. The crane elements weigh less than 7.7 tonnes.
The MRH 175 has an out-of-service radius of 10.2 metres. Freestanding heights of up to 62.8 metres are available with the two metre K-mast sections and the crane is also compatible 1.6 metre K-mast sections. Almost 1,000 metres of rope is available with the 90HPL25 winch.
Potain is to launch its new MRH 175 luffing jib tower crane at Conexpo
Thibaut Le Besnerais, vice president of global products for tower cranes, said: “Hydraulic luffing topless cranes have a very strong future in our industry, and we’ve been pleased with the uptake over the past two years. Potain customers have seen the advantages these new cranes deliver and how they help them achieve a stronger return on investment on their projects. We have a strong technical training program to accompany our new MRH cranes, and the feedback from the market has been very positive.”

Manitowoc is also to unveil the Potain Hup M 28-22 – complete with a new transport axle for the regional market at Conexpo.



NFT at The Big 5 Heavy 2019

To start with, The Big 5 Heavy has always been a good opportunity for NFT to see customers face to face, catch up on their objectives for the coming year and hear their feedback on the past year. Customers can also benefit by sitting and talking directly with NFT’s CEO and Potain’s VP of Tower Cranes, as both will be present during the show.

Introducing the MDT 809 model

The launch of the MDT 809 is one of the most significant Potain tower crane launches of recent times: Over the past 10 years we’ve seen consistent growth in demand for topless cranes, with customers benefiting from their fast assembly and compact design, which makes it easier to get more cranes onto a job site to complete work quicker. Alongside this we’ve seen an increase in modular construction, with contractors needing to lift heavier loads. It’s clear to us that there is strong demand for bigger topless cranes. But we wanted to be sure that any new model we launch not only satisfied demand for greater capacity, but also preserved the easy transport, fast assembly and industry-leading performance our other topless cranes deliver. The MDT 809 provides all that and more. Here are some of the added value of the MDT 809:

Lower costs

With its highly optimized assembly and disassembly, owners can install the crane on site in the shortest possible time and move it off site rapidly once work is completed. Alongside that, the crane offers up to 40 t of lift capacity and can accommodate up to 80 m of jib. For transport, the crane is especially compact, with everything but the slewing mechanism capable of traveling in a standard container.

The whole crane transports in either 10 or 11 containers, depending on the winch option selected, which is four to five fewer containers than is typically required for a crane of this size. Smart design features to aid shipping include protective packaging for the jib sections; optimized space usage for containerization and a cab that rotates for transport. The crane also has a new 8 m cross base that offers the performance characteristics of a 10 m chassis, but which requires only one container for transport.

High-speed assembly

The Potain MDT 809 is not only fast to transport, but also fast to assemble once on site: typically, around twice as fast as other 40 t cranes and also requiring less space. With its full complement of jib, the crane can be assembled at a 50 m working height in less than three days. The 8 m cross base is not only easier to transport but also faster to set up than the 10 m alternative.

There are dedicated slinging points on the crane to aid on-site assembly and jib sections can be assembled either on the ground or in the air, depending on site conditions and available space. The rotating cab and easy-connect points for the counterjib further simplify erection. Options for assembling the jib range from the 30 m minimum up to the 80 m maximum in 5 m sections.

High performance

From the range of regular frequency-controlled hoists, options for the crane span from the 100LVF to the 270LVF. An optional 150HPL is also offered, from the High Performance Lifting range, for the ultimate in speed and strength. These winch options give the crane a maximum available capacity of 25 t, 32 t or 40 t. Tip loads of up to 9 t are available at the 80 m maximum. With the new reinforced K-mast system, freestanding heights of up to 80 m are possible.

Users can choose from a two-fall configuration on the trolley for faster duty-cycle lifting, or four-falls for heavy lifting. Inside the cab a simple push-button solution enables the operator to activate the cable-tensioning system automatically. This is particularly useful for long-running job sites, where tensioning is required more frequently. The Crane Control System (CCS) features too, with its customizable operator profiles; simpler commissioning; load curve P+ functionality and much more.

Introducing the hydraulic luffer MRH 175

More information on the advantage of hydraulic luffers can be found in our previous blog post. However, here’s a recap of some of the benefits:

Innovative crane, the hydraulic luffer is the first in the European range to combine luffing jib and topless capabilities; and it also uses hydraulic power for the luffing movement, for greater efficiency. As with the MDT 809, Manitowoc has placed a strong emphasis on return on investment for owners. The crane has an adaptable design making it suitable for all kinds of congested urban job sites, while transport and assembly times have also been optimized. Just four containers are required to transport the upper portion of the crane, with the counter jib and jib foot traveling as a single package. The unique VVH hydraulic luffing mechanism and cylinders are pre-connected at the factory, meaning no assembly is required on site.

A further advantage over traditional luffing jib cranes is that the hydraulic power of the VVH mechanism means there is no requirement to install luffing rope during installation. The hoisting winch, maintenance derrick and jib wind side plate are also pre-installed. Plus there is no need to adapt the wind-sail plate on site, no matter what length of jib the crane is erected with.

On-site the crane delivers outstanding operating performance, no matter how constrained the job site. The jib can be raised from the horizontal to near vertical (88°) in just two minutes, while the counterjib measures just 7 m and is simple to connect during assembly. The out-of-service weathervaning radius of just 10 m, whatever the jib length, adds to its impressive features for tight job sites, while the cab has the option to attach to either side of the mast to suit project conditions.

Sneak Peak into the MCT 565 coming in 2020

Why does NFT represent a brand like Potain?

Potain have been manufacturing tower cranes for 90 years so they are ahead of most manufacturers when it comes to innovation. New products with the customer requirements in mind are released on a regular basis. At every construction exhibition event no matter the continent, you can see a Potain stand with new products.  It is a global manufacturer with factories all over the word therefore they have policies in place for every segment of their business, whether it is manufacturing, procuring the right materials, or welding two joints together. The diversity of their fabrication facilities also mean they have different product offerings for specific market needs. The Potain name is known to historical contractors as a guarantee of safety and quality. When we did the research study, most of our customers scored high on variety, availability of spare parts endurance safety, reliability and quality.

They have a dealer network which we believe is second to none in this industry, and the manufacturer regularly organizes training / events to connect and educate those representing the product. As part of this dealer network, we can find used cranes and spare parts almost anywhere around the world. The main attributes of a Potain tower cranes include:

Innovation – Innovations include the Vision Cab, the Dialog control system and the LLC range of hoists.

Endurance – Potain cranes are especially adapted to perform strenuous work expeditiously. They offer frequency control systems for all modern and advanced operations, quick assembly and dismantling, full rotation system control and cart while, at the same time, they occupy minimal space for storage and transportation.

Quality: Potain tower cranes undergo serious testing under various conditions. It takes years for Potain to release new products because of the amount of time it takes to test all tower cranes. 2 testing centers: Lusigny and Charlieu in france.

High resell value – A Potain crane is an investment because of its guaranteed resale value. The brand name itself is well recognized by customers worldwide. In addition, the manufacturer guarantees the availability of Potain parts for all cranes, even those that are more than twenty years old! The well established Potain Second Hand crane market gives the highest residual value for the crane.

Adaptability – for building tall towers on  sites with several cranes, fast and easy installation in dense urban areas, for building narrow towers while saving on ties, for industrial construction – in fact just perfect for any type of work

French EngineeringFrench Engineering: Designed and tested in France. Assembled and manufcatured in Europe and Asia accordingto the same quality standadars in France. Regardless of where it is made, Potain is Fundamentally a French product.

The End.


News July

Potains in land reclamation project

Three Potain MD top-slewing tower cranes are helping to construct 18 reinforced concrete caissons that are required as part of the design and construction of the new Portier Cove eco-neighbourhood in Monaco.Started in 2016, Portier Cove is a €1.36bn plan that will see six hectares of land reclaimed from the sea, upon which 60,000 sqm of housing, an extension of the Grimaldi Forum and a coastal promenade will be built.

French company Bouygues Travaux Publics has been contracted to build the foundations of the offshore extension, including 18 reinforced concrete structures that will act as underwater struts. Known as caissons, these hollow, cylindrical chambers are being made in the Marseille-Fos Port in France before being towed to Monaco where they will be positioned and reinforced by infill.

To create the 10,000t, 26m-high structures, the contractor is renting a vast proportion of the French port, including a 10,000m2 caisson precasting zone, as well as a 32,000m2 area of water, where a floating dock is positioned. A first in France, this 56m-long, 50m-wide and 27m-tall floating dock will make it possible to assemble the caissons before they are delivered to Monaco.

It is here that three Potain top-slewing tower cranes are working over a period of 24 months: two brand new Potain MD 569s to help construct the caissons themselves and one MD 560 B for general supply of the shipyard from the harbour dock.

The two MD 569 tower cranes – erected at heights of 45m and 59m – are positioned on the water on floating platforms known as pilotis. This presented a challenge for Bouygues, as not only are the pilotis required to support the cranes when lifting heavy loads, such as 25t reinforcement cages, they also need to remain secure when battling the sea and the notoriously strong winds of the region.

The contractor worked with Manitowoc’s tower crane Lift Solutions team to find the answer. The team developed several pylon compositions specific to the site, combining different types of masts and chassis to increase the height and safety of the cranes. It also provided adapted load charts to account for piloti movement possibilities in all weather conditions.

Work on the caissons began in 2017 and is due for completion in 2019. Once complete, they will be towed to Monaco where they are run aground to form the foundations of the offshore extension. They will then be ballasted with sea water and weighted with quarry material. Each finished, construction caisson façade has been specially designed to accommodate sea flora and fauna. Once the caisson belt has been of the reclamation ground begins. The entire Portier Cove project is scheduled for completion in 2025.

Emaar to build Middle East’s biggest Chinatown in Dubai

Dubai’s leading developer said the Chinese-style urban district will occupy a central location in its 6km² mixed-use waterfront development, Dubai Creek Harbour, which will boast the Dubai Creek Tower superstructure. The retail precinct will have mix of restaurants, local and international fashion brands designed to appeal to Chinese tourists. 

To further support efforts to encourage wealthy Chinese shoppers to the emirate, Emaar has opened offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to promote tourism, education, and investment in the UAE. Emaar’s announcement came on the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UAE, where he is expected to drum up support for two-way trade and investment. “The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UAE is historic and will further strengthen UAE-China relations, underpinned by initiatives such as the UAE-China Week announced by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai,” the chairman of Emaar Properties, Mohamed Alabbar, said.” “The development of the new Chinese retail and lifestyle district at Dubai Creek Harbour – as well as Emaar’s expansion into China, both in property and hospitality – highlight our commitment to the country, and our focus on contributing to the strength and success of UAE-China relations,” he added. Bilateral trade between China and the UAE has gone up in recent years, rising from $46.3bn (AED170bn) in 2016 to $53.3bn (AED195bn) in 2017. And Chinese tourists are prominent visitors to Dubai as well, with recent statistics indicating a year-on-year increase in the number of travelers from China between 1 January and 31 May, 2018.” Separately, Emaar this week issued a statement following reports it may sell non-core assets worth up to $1.4bn (AED5.1bn). In response to this claim, Emaar said it was “continuously exploring various options as part of its strategy to streamline its business to generate significant value”

New Potain factory in India

Manitowoc has opened a new Potain tower crane factory in the Indian city of Chakan, which lies outside Pune, with production beginning in first-quarter 2018. This facility replaces the company’s previous factory in Pune, which opened back in 2007. With a smaller land area as well as new equipment and lean processes, Manitowoc said the new facility produces Potain MCT 85 and MC 125 cranes more efficiently.

David Semple, Manitowoc’s senior vice president for the Middle East and India, said: “We are focused on developing and executing lean strategies to improve efficiency, profitability, and value for our stakeholders. Our customers will benefit from the faster delivery times and enhanced quality of this new facility while our employees can feel proud to work at one of the most advanced tower crane factories in Asia. Potain has long been a market-leader in India and we want to ensure that continues, so opening this factory is an important step.”  

With a production area of 9,760 sqm, the new factory’s manufacturing footprint has been reduced by one-third compared to its previous facility but has been designed for the same level of production output. Among the upgrades in equipment at the facility are a new paint shop and shot blasting machine cells.

The facility layout delivers other productivity improvements. Most notably, the time to transport materials from the assembly area to the finished goods yard is reduced by 68%. There are other significant savings in material transport from the steel yard, supplier yard and fabrication area.

Time savings are not limited to onsite operations either. Although still in the Pune area, the new factory sits some 45km from the old location, in the city’s industrial belt of Chakan. Being situated in Chakan offers better connectivity to national highways, speeding customer deliveries within India. In addition, the new facility is closer to Mumbai from where Potain cranes are shipped to export markets.

“The majority of cranes manufactured at this new factory will be shipped to customers in India,” said Semple. “But we will also serve neighbouring markets such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. All of our customers will benefit from the faster deliveries and enhanced quality of Potain cranes in this region.”

GCC construction contract awards rebound in 2018

The total value of contract awards in the construction and transport sectors increased in the first half of this year, rising to $32bn from $27bn in second half of 2017, according to regional projects tracker MEED Projects. Despite the increase, the total for the first half of this year is still below the average of $40bn of construction and transport contract awards made on a half yearly basis since 2006, and well below the high of nearly $70bn of awards made in the first half of 2014.The strongest performing market in the first half of 2018 was the UAE with $15bn of awards followed by Saudi Arabia where there were $10bn of contracts let.While the UAE total is down slightly on the $16bn of contracts that were awarded in the second half of 2017, the total for Saudi Arabia is the strongest half since the first half of 2015 and suggest that the kingdom’s construction sector may finally be showing signs of recovery after three difficult years.The UAE has consistently been the strongest performing construction market in the region over the last five years as its more diversified economy has been better shielded from the full impact of lower oil prices.Supporting the Saudi recovery is the fact that the largest contract awards during the first half of this year have come from kingdom. The largest award is the $2.5bn award for the construction of the Mecca Gate housing development for Al-Balad al-Ameen. There were also major contract awards valued at over $1bn for building the Sharma complex on the northern Red Sea coast, and for the construction of a housing development for the National Guard.Future projects are also being tendered in the kingdom. The largest scheme is the proposed Salwa Channel that will be build close to the Qatari border. Others include the Avenues Mall in Riyadh, Ishbiliyah City Centre, and various housing complexes around the kingdom.There were no contract awards valued at over $1bn outside Saudi Arabia. The largest award outside the kingdom was the $533m deal for the construction of Aldar’s Water’s Edge residential development in the UAE.



GCC construction contract awards rebound in 2018


French Engineering

So, What is the Deal with Potain China?

In the 90’s, Potain opened a factory in Zhangjiagang, China due to the rise of material cost. In order to be more competitive and deliver to its customers more value, some products are produced in the Zhangjiagang factory, However, since its inception in La Clayette, France in 1928, Potain has maintained its “Bureau d’etude” or study center in France. The design of all the main crane components and their mechanism (hoisting and slewing, trolleying, luffing, traveling), and Information technology are produced in France, Moulins. We want the customer to know that Manitowoc OWNS this factory. Indeed, Potain tower cranes have been produced in China since 1994, through licensing agreements and joint ventures. Problems relating to control, coupled with the obvious demand for good quality cranes, prompted Potain to establish a wholly owned manufacturing operation. Helped by the Zhangjiagang municipal authority, it bought out the local manufacturing company that is now called Zhangjiagang Potain Construction Machinery, in Jiangsu Province.

“Our goal is to build cranes specifically tailored to the local market while at the same time reproducing the high standards of quality and control we have at our other factories around the world,” says Etchart, who was the managing director of the factory at the time of this article-01 February 2003, Potain in China.

The Zhangjiagang Potain plant produces models ranging from a 40tm class up to 320tm. Models produced are the, MC 80, MC 120, MC 170, MC 200 and MC 300. Added to these, is the new MC 230, which was officially launched (though not exhibited) at Bauma China in November 2002 and topless cranes such as the MCT205, the MCT385, available in 14-ton and 20-ton version and luffing cranes like the MCR160, MCR225, and MCR295H20.

They also developed a new mast section called the M mast, which is unique to cranes made in China. This mast was designed by the “Bureau D’etude” in France. Jib lengths across the range begin at 40m and go up to 70m ( now 80m with the MC465 and MC475). Maximum capacities at jib end range from 1t to 3t. Crane structures (jib and masts) are all fabricated in-house, but mechanisms are imported from Potain’s factory in Charlieu, Europe.

The 11.5ha factory site in Zhangjiagang includes a massive 60,000m2 (6ha) of production facilities. The plant also acts as a structural steel work subcontractor for other Manitowoc Crane Group factories and can turn out 500t of processed steel a month working just one shift. More than 200 people are employed at the facility, only four of which are not Chinese.

Etchart says that there are about 200 tower crane manufacturers in China, many of which are state owned enterprises making small cranes. Most sell only in their own region. For bigger cranes, there are ‘only’ about 10 players. “We have a niche market strategy,” he says. Potain is aiming at that 10% or 15% of the market that is prepared to pay a price premium of between 30% and 50% for better quality. This market niche seems to be growing. “Slowly, the concept of safety is gaining ground in China,” Etchart says.

We invite customers to see the factory as there is immediately a big change in perception: the quality of Zhangjiagang cranes is “getting close” to that of Potain’s cranes built in Europe.

How is Potain China Different from Chinese Manufacturers?

Therefore, just because the tower cranes or parts of it are manufactured in China, the Quality and Design remain controlled by France. Potain does a lot of quality testing in their testing center in Lusigny and that is why products are only introduced to the market after being tested for six years. Testing is done aggressively on the structural components and mechanisms as well as simulation tests done on real life extreme scenarios.

Test Cycles

Quality control and quality assurance are done through the entire process of manufacturing as shown below

Manufacturing Procedures

Each step of the process is controlled by an operator using a checklist and control card. Welding especially in particular is unique to Potain because only certified and trained welders can be part of the process. Potain’s strict quality is also applied from the beginning through the design phase. The design of Potain tower cranes complies with EFM (European Federation of Materials) Handling and EN (European Norm). That is why we saw it fit during our campaign to use the superior software used by Potain as a background from the AD to convey our message:

Potain French Engineering from design to implementation to your job site.

Price & Competition

All this control over testing and design are costs added to the final price of Potain. Quality is a cost, so to compare Potain Tower cranes, even those produced in China, to any Chinese manufacturer is unfair and it is a war that us, supplier, cannot win. Imagine buying a fake iPhone – you will be happy to pay 500 Dhs for it but after a few months, you would still need to spend over the price to be able to fix it.

Speaking of iPhones, did you know that iPhones are assembled in China?



Potain’s Resale Value

Tower cranes have helped revoluatized the construction industry since the early of the 20th century. There are many maunfactures of tower cranes globally distributed. Nonetheless, onlya a few have gained renowed trust from customers in construction industry such as Potain Cranes. What is unique about Potain brand is their resale value which is derived from their reliability, durability and feasibility. In this post, the resale value of potain is discussed from NFT perspective.

As the CEO of NFT put it “a Potain tower crane is a cheque in your hand. When you buy brand new, you can redeem the price of your investment in ten years” – NFT has in its fleet a tower crane from 1974! It’s older than the company.
So, are there are old Potain cranes available in NFT Stocks? The reason we still have old Potain cranes in our stock is that there is still a demand for them; because you can still trust a 43-year-old Potain to function well. It might not be as up to date or advanced as one from the 2000s, but it definitely does the job. Why? Because of Potain’s durability. A good example is a quality and strength of the steel used in the older cranes (the H20s, the K30s), that do not show signs of metal fatigue or stress after decades of lifting.
In Lebanon, old tower cranes are still used like Potain 744, and older cranes without cabins can be found everywhere. The cost of rent is less than 1,000 USD so NFT’s strategy is to ship all cranes older than the 1990s to Lebanon.

NFT has conducted a research to understand Potain’s market perception in the GCC, we asked contractors to rate Potain on 8 attributes. Potain was rated 8.52/10 for reliability, 8.42/10 for endurance and 7.95/10 for resale value. Now, keep in mind that this is the score as per how customers perceive the Potain brand. This is a good indication of how strong the brand is, but more awareness is needed on its resale value. For more than 80 years, Potain cranes have been part of the world’s most important projects. They deliver capacity, productivity and precision on job sites of any size and especially effective in congested work areas. It all adds up to profitability and return on investment for our customers;“You may have within NFT some good example of Potain cranes which were sold after 10 years with a high/good residual value compared to brand new cranes. While most of our competitors are somewhat struggling to get a high value for their used cranes. Liebherr has also a relatively good resale value (but Liebherr is not selling everywhere as we do ! ) Italian and Spanish brands have much less value and Chinese almost no value when used”, Says Thibault, VP of Sales for Top Slewing Tower Cranes at Potain.

This high resale value of Potain Tower Cranes is due to the following reasons:
1) Potain is a worldwide brand and has an excellent reputation is the market. This is essential to ensure that when you seek a new home for your used crane you have a world of customers who desire to buy it. The higher the volume of new cranes is, the bigger the used market. Therefore, you will always have demand for Potain cranes; new or used.
2) In most countries, you can find a Potain dealer or Potain factory . This will ensure that the manufacturer is always available to offer spare parts, technical study, and services such as installation, maintenance, dismantle and troubleshotting . The powers of the network and their service organization is also key to the resale value. “The network of our competitors is not as worldwide as ours, this is detrimental to their resale value”. Says Mr. Thibault.
3) The quality of the cranes is also recognized, so customers do not fear to buy a used Potain crane. They are known as reliable and durable tower cranes in which their safety standards are never compromised. Potain tower cranes undergo strict quality checks during the production process. In addition, once a new tower crane is fully manufactured, Potain puts this tower crane under severe and reality-like scenarios to test the machine’s endurance. Then allows dealers to test the machine on real jobs sites. This is why it takes Potain an average of six years to launch new products so they can ensure that once the tower crane is in the market, it can stand tall to represent the brand.
4) Potain is known to maintain parts for a long time. You can maintain your cranes with genuine spare parts even up to 20 years. When a part is not available anymore, hit by obsolescence, Potain will search for alternative parts and provide the way to replace it. Potain usually stock spare parts for older, retired models as well because they know their cranes have long lifespans. This makes them a very feasible solution. Some competitors do not even really take care of spare parts, customers are left alone after just a few years. When you buy a used Potain crane you are sure to be in a position to maintain it as per manufacturer recommendations for a long time.

In Summary, resale value is the ultimate features of an equipment brand, combining:
 The level of notoriety of the brand
 The excellence of its French design
 The strength of distribution channels
 The commitment to service
 The availability of its genuine spare parts

In a market that is driven by used tower cranes, it’s important to know that Potain re-sell value must be considered as a factor in the decision making. European tower cranes and Potain mainly have a maintenance book and a technology record that allows prospective buyers to recognize cranes general appearance, brakes, leaks, missing parts like pins or bolts, rust, and how long the crane has been without operation
The Potain Values are the following:
• High-Quality Steel
• Sophisticated Design
• Modern Technology
• Rigorous Testing
• Quality Manufacturing
• Extreme Quality Check
• Customization
• Network & Services
Highest Resale Value
• High Residual Value
• Safety, Productivity, Reliability, Durability, Quality

“Quality, security, and safety are key considerations for us. With Potain there’s a compelling price-to-quality ratio. We keep our Potain cranes for around 15 years, and after that time we always find them easy to re-sell”, concludes NFT. Finally, we at NFT aspire for value and customer satisfaction that’s why we use Potain Tower cranes in volatile and challenging market.