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The lonely life of a tower-crane driver

However many beautiful simulations there are, buildings do not go up by magic. When we look at the skyline of major cities under development, and describe a ‘forest of tower cranes’, it is worth remembering that each of the tower cranes, when active, has a driver.

A good reminder comes from a short interview on the BBC website with a tower-crane operator. He answers the burning question ‘How do you go to the loo’ (he has a bottle, although that may be a little trickier for women in the role) and describes his ascent and descent twice a day. What comes through most strongly though is his sense of responsibility and the loneliness and pride in his job. Oddly, modern communication doesn’t seem to figure. He communicates with the banksman by hand signals, and there is no mention of phone calls, let alone of social media. Yet surely the signals would be excellent?

This is a lovely reminder that there are all sorts of people who work hard to bring buildings to fruition, many in demanding and usually unsung roles.

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