Hutchinson Utilizes Helicopter Lift for 17 HVAC Unit Install

In today’s demanding business world where time is money, why take multiple days to complete a job when it can be handled in a couple of hours – and at half the cost.

Hutchinson, a leading energy/mechanical services contractor in the Greater Philadelphia Tri-State Region, applied this mindset when coming up with a cost-effective solution for its customer Pennsauken Logistics – a national food distribution business that needed 17 HVAC rooftop units to provide climate and humidity control in its 190,000 square foot open format facility.

Rather than taking a typical approach and using a large crane, Hutchinson aimed for the skies and utilized a helicopter, operated by Aircrane, to lift the 25-ton HVAC units.

“A helicopter is more efficient from both a cost and workload perspective, as well as much quicker, only taking about two to three hours – instead of two to three days – to lift and install the units,” says Jack Dyer, Hutchinson’s Director of Preconstruction.  “This approach enabled our customer to continue its business operations without any interruptions. Since we needed to get cooling into the building prior to the helicopter lift, we lifted four units with a small crane but relied on the helicopter for the bulk of the lifts.”

“In our business, climate and humidity control is critical for product protection and to sustain it during storage,” said Robert Grazioli, building manager for Pennsauken Logistics Company. “We’ve worked with

Hutchinson in the past and knew they would come up with a solution to meet our needs.”

Since the food distributor’s warehouse was an older, fully gutted building, it required structural reinforcements to support the extra weight from the HVAC units.

“From a weight aspect, we needed to be absolutely certain that the roof would hold 17 units,” says Dyer.  “We had to do some extensive electrical work upfront and place structural reinforcements throughout the building’s interior per the engineer’s strategic specifications.”

Hutchinson was the construction manager for the project and performed the HVAC work while sub-contracting the roofing, electric and structural steelwork. Additional tasks include ductwork, diffusers, controls, gas piping among other standard requirements.

The helicopter made the lifts, while the crew unloaded the aircraft, assembled the rigging, and conducted the lifts – one at a time for about 2-3 minutes per lift until the job was complete. Hutchinson workers were on the ground to make the connections to the units prior to being lifted, while up on the roof, four other workers seamlessly disconnected each unit, ensuring very little downtime.

About Hutchinson

Hutchinson is a leading energy/mechanical services contractor performing energy services, mechanical construction, and retrofit installation work in the Greater Philadelphia Tri-State Region.  Hutchinson’s technicians are factory trained, NATE certified, and are on-call 24/7 365 days a year. Visit for more information.