Liebherr cranes working on final phase of Sagrada Família project
"The Temple of the Sagrada Família will represent the future of modern Catalonia,” this is how the architect Antonio Gaudí described his masterpiece, which began construction in 1882 in Barcelona. 2024 will be a significant year for this architectural feat, as the Liebherr 710 HC-L 32-64 Litronic and 125 HC-L luffing jib cranes will begin their work on completing the basilica. “The construction department of the Sagrada Família chose these cranes for two main reasons: firstly, their folding design minimises the impact on surrounding buildings, and secondly, their adaptability to the area’s specific requirements,” explains Fernando Villa, director of construction and technology at the Sagrada Família. “Liebherr is a global leader in the tower crane sector, and we are experts in special projects. Our engineering department, known as Tower Crane Solutions, comprises qualified professionals with many years of experience who plan the manoeuvres according to the specific needs of each project,” adds Roberto Insausti, commercial director of the tower crane and mobile construction crane division at Liebherr Ibérica. Thus, the Liebherr 710 HC-L 32-64 Litronic luffing jib crane of the Sagrada Família will be responsible for completing the Tower of Jesus Christ, the temple’s main tower, which is set to reach 135 metres in height. The Sagrada Família required a crane with a high lifting capacity; this equipment has a maximum lifting capacity of 64 tonnes and sufficient radius, in this case 55 metres, to cover the highest parts of the construction. The Liebherr 125 HC-L crane, meanwhile, will be working on the Chapel of the Assumption and the adjacent cloisters.

Main project challenges
A major challenge for this project was “to develop a solution for our largest luffing jib crane, the Liebherr 710 HC-L 32-64 Litronic, which could be erected at a height of approximately 54 metres and comply with the highest safety requirements. The crane then had to be brought to its final height and anchored to the Tower of Jesus Christ at a height of approximately 130 metres,” says Jochen Wille, Project Manager at Liebherr Tower Crane Solutions (TCS). A special bracing structure, measuring 20 metres long, 10 metres wide and weighing 27 tonnes, had to be designed and manufactured specifically for this phase. "Thanks to the close cooperation between the customer, our local supplier Grúas Cerezo and the Tower Crane Solutions department at the Liebherr factory in Germany, we managed to develop a tailor-made project for the customer," adds Tobias Böhler, General Manager of Liebherr Ibérica.

The assembly of the Liebherr 710 HC-L and 125 HC-L luffing jib cranes required extensive planning due to the stringent safety requirements and weather conditions. The erection, especially the telescoping, could only proceed under specific wind speeds. Moreover, the Sagrada Família’s location in the heart of Barcelona limits the availability of spacious work areas for manoeuvres, necessitating meticulous planning and detailed operations. Furthermore, the installation process faced a constant influx of tourists to this globally renowned site. As a result, the assembly of the Liebherr luffing jib cranes had to be completed swiftly, with minimal disruption to the cathedral’s construction work and the daily flow of visitors.

The use of luffing jib cranes will be another major challenge and “something unprecedented in Spain, which represents a significant commitment for us, as we début in this project where there is no room for error or doubt,” emphasises Miguel Cerezo, manager of Grúas Cerezo, the official distributor of Liebherr tower cranes. “The use of luffing jib cranes has many advantages because they are equipped with large load curves and can work in very tight spaces, thanks to the jib’s folding movement,” explains Gerardo Urendez, Head of Technical Service for Tower Cranes and Mobile Construction Cranes at Liebherr Ibérica.

Trusted partners
Liebherr’s tower crane division includes the Liebherr Tower Crane Solutions department, which has actively supported the Sagrada Família project from the beginning. “We specialise in planning large and demanding projects worldwide. We're the go-to experts for complex solutions and challenging applications, just like in this case,” concludes Jochen Wille.

In this project, Grúas Cerezo played a key role and will continue to do so as the third link in the chain: Liebherr 125 HC-L and 710 HC-L luffing jib cranes are the key pieces of the project, Liebherr as the equipment manufacturer responsible for crane after-sales service and Grúas Cerezo providing support as a local distributor, offering technical-legal advice, equipment assembly, as well as predictive and corrective maintenance.