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Stabilizing Tower Cranes: 3 Reasons To Install Central Ballast Static Bases Rather Than Concrete Pads

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When installing tower cranes to accommodate large-scale construction projects, the mechanisms used to secure and support the cranes will influence overall stability. In general, you can choose from two different static bases: central ballasts and concrete pads. Central ballasts are basically weighted blocks that are used to support and balance the base of the tower cranes[,] whereas concrete pads are more permanent structures that will need to be removed at a later time. If you have the option to choose between these two static bases, your best bet is to opt for central ballasts, as they are able to offer these 3 benefits.

Lower Cost of Materials and Labor

Central ballasts are relatively inexpensive in comparison to concrete pads – even if the weighted blocks used are made from concrete. The reason behind this is that the concrete pads will need to be poured and made on-site. This means you'll have to pay for the cost of the raw materials, the specialized equipment needed to pour the concrete and professional labor needed to operate the equipment. Concrete pads can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 while central ballasts usually cost considerably less.

Quick Set-Up and Installation

As central ballasts are merely weighted blocks, the central ballasts can be installed almost immediately, as long as you have the weights that you need. This means that tower cranes that rely on central ballasts for support and anchorage can be in operation within the day.

On the other hand, if you choose to support the tower cranes with concrete pads, you'll have to wait for the concrete to cure before you can install the beams and other parts of the cranes. In general, structural concrete will take a minimum of 7 days to cure if the ambient temperature is at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ease of Use or Versatility

Central ballasts can also be installed just about anywhere. You can install these types of static bases on rooftops and on top of existing buildings. On the other hand, you'll need to prepare a solid and secure foundation for concrete pads. The soil must be compact and stable. This makes central ballasts more versatile, as you won't have to worry about as many variables and you won't have to prepare the worksite.


Central ballasts are generally the more recommended option in comparison to concrete pads. In most situations, central ballasts will be more than sufficient for stabilizing tower cranes. Concrete pads are usually only recommended if the tower cranes will be handling unusually heavy and large workloads. Talk to a company like Winslow Crane Service Co for more information on the two bases used for tower cranes in order to make a final decision.