Case Study: Heating Up Greektown Casino

Dee Cramer lifted a steam boiler atop the Greektown Casino using rented modular spreader bars, shackles, and nylon slings from Lifting Gear Hire.


steam boiler installation with LGH rental lifting equipmentDee Cramer, a sheet metal and HVAC contractor in Holly, Michigan, was approached by the owners of Greektown Casino to place a steam boiler on top of their casino to provide adequate heating for their facility. The Detroit Field Superintendent, Chris Dufour, had 12 to 16 weeks to acquire rental lifting equipment, create a lifting plan, build the materials needed to place and secure the boiler above the casino, acquire safety engineering on the weights, ensure their welds were engineer-approved, truck the material down to the site, and lift it into place with a 500-ton crane. As challenging as that already sounds, it only began the long list of struggles the company faced in completing the job.



Greektown Casino was a new customer for Dee Cramer, located right in the heart of Detroit. So, as with any major city, the biggest struggle came in the form of traffic.

“Downtown Detroit is a tight area,” Chris Dufour, the Superintendent of Dee Cramer explained. “There’s lots of bustling streets filled with customers, and vehicular traffic. It was a tough situation to get things taken care of. There were also tons of safety and traffic management requirements we had to meet and inspections and certifications that were required by the city that needed to be acquired first. In general, there were many different entities that we had to deal with besides our customers.”

Accompanying their struggles was a mass transit system called the People Mover, which is essentially a monorail, designed, of course, to transport a lot of people at one time. The issue this created came from the fact that the monorail’s track runs closely alongside the casino where Dee Cramer was conducting their work.

“We had to stay far away from the People Mover,” Chris continued. “And we had to consider the fact that Greektown Casino is one of three major casinos in Detroit. So, the traffic coming in and out of the place is 24/7. There’s really no shutting down the casino, either. We had to plan our work around shutting down certain other areas – critical path areas for the crane and hazardous areas that may come up in our swing process. But we had to keep the rest of our customers business running so they could still produce revenue.”

steam boiler installation with LGH rental lifting equipmentAdditionally, downtown Detroit is home to many bars and restaurants. Not to mention that the city’s MLB baseball stadium and NFL stadium are both roughly 5/6 blocks away. St. Mary’s Church, the third oldest Catholic Church in Detroit (which its construction dates back to 1841), is right across from the casino. This meant for Dee Cramer that the city would be constantly plagued by heavy traffic. Also, lifting a three piece steam generator to the roof from a two lane road with hundreds of eyes constantly on them would not be a job easily performed.


The first step in rectifying the many struggles of this particular project included traveling to the city board and obtaining a lane closure permit. Due to the busy nature of downtown Detroit, the city board refused to allow them to close off an entire street. This left Dee Cramer with only one lane in which they could use to perform their work.

“We devised a lifting plan,” Chris said. “Specifically, where our crane would be staged, where our trucks would be staged as they came in, and our swing path for the units to keep them out of public or pedestrian areas so as to not put anyone in potential danger.”

Of course, they needed to get this approved with the city council of Detroit and with the city’s inspection entities first. Then, they needed to go and get it approved by the casino officials to make sure they were okay with the work they were doing. Next, they had to hire certain companies such as a traffic management company to come down, close off the roads, and redirect traffic for them.

“It was a little bit of process,” Chris said. “Lots of meetings and reworking our original lifting plan just to make sure we considered everyone’s concerns and make sure they were comfortable with the work we were about to perform. That’s when we contacted LGH for the rigging and lifting equipment required to do our work. Our project manager had called LGH and let them know that we needed some equipment to help lift some of our pieces to the roof. So, the LGH team asked us questions on what we were lifting, the physical sizes and weight of the materials, and what we needed to do overall to complete the job. Based on recommendations from LGH, we rented rigging equipment that would handle the weight and size of our materials. We required some engineered modular spreader bars to be supplied to us and basically, when using the beams, everything goes to one point.  You want to make sure the spreader bars keep that physical dimension of your equipment solid and that you’re not crushing any of the stuff that you’re lifting or putting wear and tear on the lifting slings. Those bars were 12 feet long and they went above our unit. The slings came down through that to keep those bars spread apart so they wouldn’t rub against the side of the piece being lifting. So it didn’t crush it and it also didn’t fray or cut into the slings themselves.

steam boiler installation with LGH rental lifting equipment“LGH was able to go through the information we gave them such as where we needed to go, the weight and physical size of our materials.

“For us, this helped us tremendously because we need to go to a company that we could trust to make those decisions and has the engineering background to give us that confidence that nothing is going to fail. LGH was that company. By LGH providing us with properly engineered and always well maintained equipment, there was no reason for us to scramble to get the right gear together. One phone call and we knew we were getting exactly what was needed.”



In order to reduce the amount of lead time, Dee Cramer offered the owners of Greektown Casino the option of building the materials in their Holly facility versus purchasing them from a supplier in Canada. They agreed to the proposition and in turn, Dee Cramer was able to cut down the lead time from 16 weeks to nine weeks. This is almost half the time they originally projected to get the material built that had to be put upon the roof.

With fabrication time being reduced to 9 weeks, the duration on site lasted three days and concluded on May 20, 2015.

“We ended up getting everything set in place and completed a day earlier than we expected,” Chris concluded. “No injuries and we were on budget. It was a success story all the way around. Coordinating all that stuff up front and spending a lot of our resources trying to take care of those situations was a hassle. That’s where LGH really played a big role in helping our project. We were able to give them what we needed to do weight-wise, where we needed to go, and in turn, they were able to customize the equipment that they rented to us, so we could do the job safely. Which shows that safety is not always bought – sometimes, it’s rented.”


  • (3) Modular Spreader Bars – 24/22 ton
  • (4) Liftall Nylon Slings EN360 by 10”
  • (4) 12 ton Screw Pin Shackles

About Dee Cramer: Dee Cramer is a full service HVAC/Sheet Metal Construction & Service firm located in Holly, Michigan.  Our capabilities include engineering, CAD coordination and design, 4D CAD and BIM, automated HVAC sheet metal fabrication, field installation and maintenance/emergency service for clients.

About LGH: Lifting Gear Hire is the United States’ largest single organization devoted exclusively to the provision of lifting and moving equipment for rent. LGH holds the most comprehensive inventory for hoistingriggingjackingpullingmaterial handling, and safety equipment. With over 50,000 pieces, our lifting equipment is available for rent from 20 locations throughout the U.S., and our customers are supported by over 45 Rental Representatives nationwide.

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