Alimak Hoists Speeds Progress on Hong Kong’s Tallest Tower - Verdict Designbuild
Join Our Newsletter - Get important industry news and analysis sent to your inbox – sign up to our e-Newsletter here

Alimak Hoists Speeds Progress on Hong Kong’s Tallest Tower

Six Alimak construction hoists being used on Hong Kong’s tallest tower, the 118-storey International Commerce Centre, to alleviate tower crane lifting duties.

Three Alimak dual hoists with a total of six cars are being used for the transportation of personnel and materials during the construction of what will, on completion, be Hong Kong’s tallest building, and the fourth highest building in the world.

The International Commerce Centre (ICC) is being built in West Kowloon, Hong Kong, and at its full height will have 118 storeys and stand at 484 m (1,588 ft). Completion date is scheduled for 2010.


Alimak AB, part of the Alimak Hek group, has supplied a three-unit hoist configuration with each unit having a double car, totalling six cars. The installation includes two of the largest cars the company has ever installed, both measuring 2mx5m.

The hoists have been installed on a common tower to the front of the ICC building, which is part of the Union Square multi-tower complex. Each of the three units operates on its own mast attached to the common tower.

The Alimak hoists were ordered through the company’s Hong Kong distributor C Crossfield and Co Ltd, which also installed the equipment in association with Alimak engineers. Crossfield maintains a permanent presence of service engineers on the site.

ICC is being built above the MTR Kowloon Station, and a station for the Airport Express railway link. The development is owned and jointly developed by MTR Corporation Ltd and Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP); respectively Hong Kong’s metro operator and largest property developer.

The tower was designed by the American architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) in association with Wong and Ouyang (HK) Ltd, and is being built by Sanfield Building Contractors Ltd, a member of SHKP.


Sanfield’s project director Ricky F W Lam is a veteran of Hong Kong’s high-rise construction scene, saying that his first major project was the Sun Hung Kai Centre in 1980, which at the time was one of the highest buildings in Hong Kong.

“We used Alimak hoists on that project, and they have been installed on many other projects I have worked on in the years since then,” says Mr Lam.

“When we were planning the International Commerce Centre tower, I specified the use of Alimak. I wanted to minimise the use of cranes, because with a project of this size and configuration, the large-scale use of hoists in conjunction with climbing cranes can be very effective.

“We worked very closely with Alimak AB and Crossfield in drawing up the specifications for the hoists. An important factor was that I wanted to use a hoist for lifting the glass cladding panels up the building as we progressed, thereby reducing our hook time with the cranes. These panels are almost 5 m in height, and so we had to have two of the cars built to a dimension of 2mx5m.


“But the hoists are also being used for smaller items and for volume materials such as cement and tiling. The flexibility and speed the system gives us is very important when working to a tight schedule.”

In addition to the building materials, the hoists are also used to transport large numbers of the 2,000-plus working personnel to the various levels of the building. In accordance with a
long-established Hong Kong tradition the cage operators are all female, the presence of women serving to moderate behaviour amongst workers up against urgent schedules.

The two largest cars are part of an Alimak Scando Super FC 33/50C TD dual car hoist. Two Alimak Scando Super FC 28/27 C TD dual car hoists provide another four cars in total, each of them measuring 1.5 m x 3.7 m in car size.

All the hoists have an ultimate lifting height of 393 m and can travel at speeds of up to 100 m per minute.

ICC storeys have a floor-to-ceiling height of 2.85 m in the two lower zones, and 3.15 m for the three upper zones. Cladding is with a low E-coating curtain wall.


Under the terms of the agreement with the developers, Sanfield is releasing the lower levels of the building to tenants as the tower climbs skywards. The Airport Express and the MTR are already operational, and other tenants of the multi-use building are moving in as work progresses. The last tenant to open for business will almost certainly be Ritz-Carlton, who will open a five-star hotel on the top 15 floors, the highest hotel in the world.

ICC, which is being built on reclaimed land, is three minutes by MTR from Hong Kong Central, 20 minutes by train from Hong Kong International Airport, and 30 minutes by rail from Shenzhen. The project will comprise 2.5 million square feet of Grade A offices, a 1-million square feet shopping mall, luxury residences and serviced apartments, and the five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel with a convention centre.

On the opposite side of the harbour, and designed to form a ‘gateway’, SHKP together with another major Hong Kong developer, Henderson Land also developed the current record holder for Hong Kong’s tallest building, Two International Finance Centre, just 60 m less in height than that of the ICC. This project also used Alimak hoists.

More About This Company