People of the Project: Interview with Brendan the crane operator

Crane operator Brendan McGuinness on the first crane stair platform.

In our first in a series of profiles of People of the Project, we interview Brendan McGuinness, who works on the central acute services building (CASB) construction site, and has been a tower crane operator for 16 years.

What are you working on right now?

Today, we were working on the erection of one of the jump forms, which is used to construct the building’s lift and stair cores. We were lifting in shutters and jacking columns so the structure can be built up to the next level. This is a fairly involved process and we’ve only just started - the truck carrying all the materials pulls into the site, the materials are then unloaded by the crane onto the ground, and from there, they are lifted onto the structure.

How long have you been on the job?

Only two weeks!

What does your average day look like?

We start all lifting operations at 7:00am, so I’m usually on-site and climbing up to the controls at 6:30am. From there, I’m at the controls listening to instructions from my dogmen (designated assistants who stay on the ground and communicate directly with the operator) about when and where to move materials. I usually come down at 1pm for a lunch break, and then I’m back in the crane until between 5:30pm and 6pm.

How long does it usually take you to get to the top?

I’ve managed to get it down to nine minutes … that’s with two breaks on the way up! It’s 78 metres from the bottom to the top.

What do you bring with you when you go up for a day?

I bring fruit and usually a couple of sandwiches to tide me over until lunchtime. I’m fortunate to have a fridge at the top with lots and lots of water in it so I can stay hydrated.

What do you like most about working in your specific role?

I get a fantastic view every day I come to work. It’s also challenging work, and often I’m unable to see what’s going on down below, so I’m relying on the dogmen to provide me information about where to move the crane. Good communication plays a significant role in making sure the materials are transported safely from point A to point B.

How does working at Westmead compare to other job sites?

The logistics and transportation routes have been planned and organised on the site really well, along with the dust management and road maintenance. You get to see how well-kept everything is from up high, especially the roads.

What's something you'll take away from working at Westmead after you finish?

It's been close to home!

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