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Lifting Huge Heavy Walls with a Forklift

When lifting big walls, do the math, and get forklift and rigging certified
October 30, 2023

When lifting big, heavy walls with a forklift, communication, planning, safety, and communication are critical. (Yes, I know I listed communication twice).

From AwesomeFramers' YouTube description:

In this video, we lift a wall and show you how to check the height, reach, and weight to ensure safe and efficient rigging. We start by measuring and comparing these factors to the load tables, and then we use a forklift with outriggers to lift the wall. We also share tips on how to angle the rigging and machine for the best results.

Along the way, we demonstrate some essential techniques and tools, including an open reel tape, a multi-tool with a nail-cutting blade, and a truss jib with a chain. This video is a must-watch for anyone who wants to learn how to lift heavy loads safely and effectively.

Please don't attempt without proper training and certifications. Lifting rake walls can be very dangerous, so we make sure that every aspect of the rigging is rated, operate the controls on the telehandler smoothly, and don't be in a hurry.

We save a lot of time framing this way, so it's okay to lift slowly. Good communication is key. Framing houses can be very fun and rewarding, especially when it's going well. I cover how to frame rake walls in other videos.

Please remember that I'm not showing the best way to do anything but just the method that works well for us. Thanks for watching!

Summary Notes

Preparation for lifting large walls with a forklift

  • Check the height, reach, wall weight, and load tables.
  • Tim hooks an open reel tape to the fork, and the arm is extended. This measures whether the forklift has the correct reach. It is much easier to find out now that the position won't work than when the wall is 75% lifted but the arm is 100% extended. As it turns out, they have to move the lift.

The load chart on the forklift showed it wouldn't work without outriggers, so when plan B was implemented, outriggers were extended.

Lifting the wall with a forklift

  • Measure the wall height with rigging to make sure the forklift arm will extend enough.
  • Position the forklift close to the building.
  • Communicate like crazy with your crew before and during the lifting operation.
  • Stabilize the forklift with outriggers.
  • Wall weight within the machine's capacity.
  • They planned it so that the wall could be lifted all the way off the subfloor so it could be exactly positioned and slipped into a pocket at the corner—wait, so they could slip it in the corner pocket. Better.

Screw the wall down with structural screws. That allows adjustment later if needed, and if you're cheap, you can remove the screws and nail the bottom plate once it is where you want it to be.

The wall is screwed off at the corner to anchor one end. Braces go in the center, at the far end, and then between the center and end braces. They use 20-foot 2x4s and structural screws for stability. Before fastening the braces, they roughly plumb the wall with a Stabila LAX 300G.

More about lifting walls:

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