I was driving around the Atlanta GA I-75 I-85 Connector yesterday around 10 o clock. Much to my surprise I saw Chinook type helicopter no more than 60-80 feet in the air. It was directly over a construction site.
I at one time heard that Blockbuster Video airlifts empty buildings into place. I also heard later, that CVS drug stores do the same thing.
Is it true that full “shells” of buildings are lifted into place?
What becomes of the stability of those buildings? How are they secured?
What you probably saw was a large air conditioning or electrical unit being airlifted to the roof. That’s not particularly unusual when the building is taller or the unit heavier than what a crane could handle.
I can’t answer about airlifting entire buildings. But I can ask, what would be the advantage?
I’ve seen plenty of air handlers and similar rooftop gadgetry brought in via Sky Cranes - that particular helicopter is designed so a 40-foot freight container can snuggle up inside, rather than dangling below on a cable.
Unless they’re little things like prefab cellular phone sites, I can’t envision any way to safely move a building by air. It’s just too dangerous, and the time to get permits to do such a thing, plus the cost of liability insurance in case anything falls off would rapidly consume any possible advantages over traditional ground-based construction.
There are modular construction methods and the individual pieces could be lifted by sky cranes but there is little reason to do so they are made in pieces small enough to be carried on flatbed trucks and put into place with cranes then secured to the foundation and or other pieces. Since most decent sized commercial buildings are concrete or block transporting preassembled parts becomes a bit difficult for a variety of reasons.
On this note, there are a number of dormitories on the Texas A&M Campus known as “Modulars”. Basically, these buildings are made out of identical two-room sections which are trucked in, and then placed on top of the foundation of the building (and of course, on top of eachother for the higher floors). The rest of the construction is basically connecting them together and putting all the furniture and such inside. I assume they include some method of connecting their utility lines together, as if you walk down the hallways in these buildings, between every other room there is what appears to be a doorknob-less, locked door of some sort (where I assume they can get in to check connections of utilities and building sections).
I got the impression that these are fairly typical designs for newer dorms.
As for airlifted buildings, I believe the Air Force has a type of aircraft hanger designed to be flown in by freight plane and then erected like a giant tent in the field, for when they need to deploy planes but there is neither available hanger space or time to build them. Not sure if that counts by the OP or not, since it’s almost more of a temporary shelter than an actual building.
Oh man, if there was ever a thread I could answer. . .
Actually, we do. Air Force RED HORSE (Airfield Engineer) checking in here, and this thread is basically right up my alley–we’ve nearly finished a fighter alert ramp here in Afghanistan, and it basically incorporates the whole gamut of what you’re asking.
We do have some pre-engineered buildings–or PEBs-- (think Morton or Kirby) that are usually shipped as kits in shipping containers (which we affectionately call 'em “SeaVans”). Typically, SeaVans are loaded onto a ship, sailed across the Persian Gulf, and then trucked up to Afghanistan. Some specialty materials are indeed flown in on C-130s/C-17s: anything that can be easily ‘palletized’ such as electrical parts, HVAC units, generators, etc.
A lot of the raw materials we use is bought locally, like concrete, base course, sand, gravel, etc. That bulk material is usually available on the local market and we buy it due to ease of availaiblity, plus it gives us a way to support the local economy.
On my particular project, we did have a few expeditionary “clamshells” put up, along the lines Raguleader indicated. They’re pretty quick and easy to assemble (one went up in about a week), but they’re not meant for long term (20 year+) use. We can build PEBs for that purpose. Our construction is pretty close to the ground, so we typically don’t use SkyCrane lifting, but it can be done.
Bottom line: my supplies are brought in by the easiest logistical method possible, based on dimensional size and amount of the material, and the cost/expediency we require. There’s a lot of other methods too, but we typically use the Fly/Ship/Buy methods the most.
Buckminster Fuller designed several buildings to be air deliverable, starting back in the 1920s or so. The military has supposedly adopted some of the designs and uses them, but I’ve no idea as to the accuracy of that claim.
I’ve watched a helicopter lift a HVAC unit and place it on top of a building before and I can’t really envision it being a common way of delivering buildings or components in a heavily populated areas. Sky Crane choppers are noisy and the process isn’t at all quick. This would tend to irritate lots of folks if they had to endure it often.