Traveling along the scenic northeastern U.S. countryside, one can’t help but notice many historic buildings. If one of those remarkable structures is being restored to its original grandeur, you’ll likely see a crew of five craftsmen and two blue lifting machines completing the delicate work.
Eliot Lothrop leads the crew as president of Huntington, Vt.-based Building Heritage LLC, a company specializing in historic building preservation and timber framing. “I love the work and being hands-on,” says Lothrop, who holds a Masters of Science degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Vermont.
Founded in 2005, Building Heritage specializes in the stabilization and repair of timber-framed buildings as well as designing and constructing new timber frame structures. The company has restored a wide range of historic houses, churches, town halls, mills, schoolhouses and outbuildings, in addition to its main work of barn preservation.
A Better Way
In those early days, scaffolding was used to surround the structure, wood, underlayment, rafter beams and other roofing construction materials were manually hoisted by workers. Occasionally, a 65-ft boom would be rented for inspections in advance of the restoration efforts.
Lothrop started to notice the difference in telescopic boom designs between the manufacturers. Renting based on the height needed, not brand, exposed him to a number of different models. “We really liked the controls and the fluidity of basket movements with the Genie,” says Lothrop.
“About six years ago, we bought a diesel Genie® S®-65 boom lift with about 3,000 hours on it,” comments Lothrop. Often, two of the crew were put in the machine’s basket to tie together rafters and access other parts of the building not convenient for scaffolding.
More recently, the company added a used Genie GTH™-844 high reach telehandler to help with heavy timber lifting. With an 8,000-lb (3,629-kg) maximum lift capacity, 44-ft (13.36-m) lift height and 28-ft, 2-in forward reach, it’s perfect for lifting rafters, top plates and other roofing materials to the upper level of a structure.
Genie equipment has helped Building Heritage to boost restoration efficiency and reduce the time it takes to complete a project.
“We use the Genie S-65 lift as much as possible for timber inspection,” comments Lothrop. “It handles the rough terrain much better than other manufacturers’ models we’ve used in the past.”
Crew members rely on their Genie telehandler to help place timber rafters and 200-lb (90.7-kg) sections of roof truss. “Using a 12-ft (3.7-m) jib, we position the telehandler 20 ft (6.1 m) away from the sides of barns and use its full 44 ft (13.4 m) of boom to drop trusses into place,” says Lothrop.
“Adding Genie machines to our fleet has helped us to be more productive and efficient. It’s really changed our way of thinking about moving materials.”