Inside Marco Melbourne's tower crane collapse

Inside Marco Melbourne's tower crane collapse
Mark BaljakAugust 11, 2015

First photos have emerged of last Friday's tower crane accident at Marco Melbourne on Southbank. CFMEU Victoria have uploaded a host of images via their Facebook page which demonstrates the serious nature of the accident and the luck that allowed all involved onsite to escape with only a handful of minor injuries reported.

The failure of the tower crane has lead to road closures in the area until a point where the unit can be safely recovered. Over the past few days Worksafe, the CFMEU and engineers have come to agreement concerning the removal of the tower crane.

CFMEU Victoria states online that "This work is obviously high risk and unfortunately has the potential to be delayed by changes in weather. This is a highly unusual and dangerous situation and requires everyone involved to proceed with particular care to ensure the safety of workers and the wider community."

Inside Marco Melbourne's tower crane collapse
Images sourced via the CFMEU Victoria Facebook page

Seen above is the crane deck sitting atop the concrete lift well with the associated jump form bearing the brunt of the collapse. While debris fell to the floor plate below the lift well, a counter-weight attached to the crane line during jacking also dropped to the surface below.

It's been widely reported that the collapse was due to a fault with the tower crane's internal climbing system which sees the unit mounted within the tower lift well. As has been pointed out by the CFMEU, there has been much incorrect speculation about the collapse which included a precast concrete slab being dropped from the crane.

Inside Marco Melbourne's tower crane collapse
Recovery of the stricken crane is set to begin

According to CFMEU Victoria, "There is a thorough investigation being undertaken and the precise cause of the incident may not be known until some of the continuing rectification work is complete so more evidence can be gathered and the investigation concluded. It's always best to deal with the facts rather than speculate."

The incident serves as a reminder of the risks associated with the construction industry and the vigilance required when working on complicated large-scale projects. Serious tower crane incidents in recent memory include the 2005 peel back of a tower crane boom during the MCG's Northern Stand redevelopment and a 2001 accident on a Southbank construction site which saw a tower crane's moveable counterweight dislodge and fall, resulting in the death of a worker.

Inside Marco Melbourne's tower crane collapse
MCG's 2005 Northern Stand redevelopment wasn't without incident.

As for Marco Melbourne, a sizeable Grove GMK 7450 mobile crane is positioned and ready to dismantle the tower crane with further works in removing the damaged jump form system also expected. Post clean up, a fresh tower crane and jump form will need to be sourced in order to recommence works on the western tower of the development.

At the time of the incident the western tower floor plate was at 13 levels above ground with the lift well another four levels above. Eventually the western tower will top out at 37 levels with the adjoining eastern tower reaching 32 levels, for a combined total of 356 apartments.

See more images of the aftermath on CFMEU's Facebook page.

Lead image courtesy CFMEU Victoria.

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.

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