Steel beam lift company changing the extension game

Steel beam lift company changing the extension game

With open plan living the order of the day, steel beam lifts for extensions are becoming ever more complex undertakings, especially on tight sites, but one company has an answer that could have you hooked.  

For the homeowner extending an existing property to create one uninterrupted space is very much in vogue. Structurally, that demands ever bigger steel beams, with 58 metre long RSJs, weighing anywhere from 500 to 1,800kg, not uncommon. Regardless of your experience, that’s always going to make for a daunting lifting operation, especially if you’re simultaneously challenged by restricted access, but there is a company that can take that load right off your mind.

Designed and built in the UK, the Hooka is the brainchild of Hook-up Solutions directors Mark Underdown and Charles Sterling. This go-anywhere tracked green machine was originally developed to carry bulk bags and pallets, with its compact 1m width perfectly complementing a 1m³ bag or UK sized 1m wide pallet, allowing both to navigate a narrow opening. If you’re shifting sand, aggregate, bricks, blocks, paving etc down a tight access path into a back garden it’s a tool that can relieve you and your team of what could be hours of brutal wheelbarrowing and shovelling.

Steel beam lifts

The real game changer, however, came with the addition of a lifting function for the installation of anything from steel beams, to glazing units and pizza ovens. Today, the 20-strong hire fleet has completed over 4,000 RSJ installation alone, and the result is a unique pick, lift and carry, mini tracked crawler handler that can be put to work across a whole range of projects.

Charles explains how the Hooka has caught the attention of builders: “Our patented Load Lock system prevents the pendulum effect of a bulk bag swinging when the machine carrying it is in motion, which can destabilise other carrying solutions and tip them over. By contrast, the Hooka has been designed so that the payload is positioned over the bed and then locked in place. With the weight located right over the mini crawler’s centre of gravityrather than hanging at the front a unit that comes in at just 1,800kg has an impressive maximum carrying capacity of 1,500kg.

Moreover, because there’s no slewing function, the weight will never move from outside the footprint of the Hooka, which means it maintains its stability at all times, but the tracks will still allow you to rotate the whole machine around a given point. Outrigger legs provide an even firmer foundation when deployed but, if you still want to move a payload left or right, then those same outriggers are equipped with 800kg-rated castor wheels. The machines relatively light weight also means that it can be transported to site on a plant trailer behind a 4×4, so there’s no issues with squeezing a sizeable plant lorry up you customer’s cul-de-sac and antagonising the neighbours into the bargain.

Charles continues to recount just how the trades can take advantage: “When it comes to materials handling, whether bulk bags or pallets – or if you’re carrying in beam and block flooring – the Hooka is very easy to use and can be hired in a self-drive capacity. The controls are compartmentalised for safety and ease of use and can be explained in a 45minute to 1-hour handover. This is a stand-on piece of plant and there’s two speeds – high for tracking in a straight line to cover distance, and low for manoeuvring and loading/unloading. There’s additional levers for the boom and outrigger controls – all separated out so there can be no confusion as to what does what.”

If, on the other hand, you’re looking to lift a steel beam or a pizza oven then you’ll need to employ the services of one of our highly skilled operators, who are all accredited to an A66b Compact Crane standard. We’re also working under LOLER, Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations, so we will compile a lift plan prior to commencing, and the lift will come under our insurance. All the builder needs to do is send us over the plans together with a short video that illustrates the site’s access and installation zone, which can easily be recorded on any smartphone.

Robust build

In terms of its construction the Hooka benefits from a robust and manoeuvrable Hinowa track base, powered by an equally reliable Honda V-Twin petrol engine. “We’ve got machines that have clocked up three thousand hours in operation and, with the right maintenance, they’re good to go every time,” enthuses Charles. For very long RSJ jobs two machines can be employed to work in tandem and there’s a total of four attachments available: a bulk bag lifting frame, fork tines and straps for pallets, a fly jib, an up-and-under beam lifter.   

With a head office in Baldock, Hertfordshire – and depots or franchisees located at other strategic locations around the country – Hook-up Solutions can boast nationwide coverage, with five fully ticketed operators on the books. The majority of those customers are the local jobbing builder looking for a versatile load carrier that can operate in a tight spot. It can unload a whole range of materials on site from a lorry, carry it across difficult terrain, and then install exactly where you want to. Indeed, whatever your project the Hooka is a compact plant solution that can get you off the hook. 

For further information on the Hooka from Hook-up Solutions visit

Related posts