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Construction Industry/ceiling hoist installation


I have a small business making maple syrup. Part of my evaporator is a 3'x8' steam condenser pan, estimated to weigh 400 lbs.
I would like to build a cable lift system to raise this pan. My concern is loading on the ceiling. The truss system spans the 24' width of the building. We are located in NW Wisconsin, and building was professionally built, so standards were met for normal snow loading etc. Ceiling is sheetrocked. Would I be able to build a span to incorporate 4 trusses on each end of the steam pan to anchor a lift point at each corner?

Hello Jeff,

The ceiling joist, as a member of the truss is not designed to carry or support heavy loads.  The top member carries the snow load and transfers or distributes the load to the ceiling joist with a king post or fink configuration.

Your steam pan weight is excessive for the ceiling joists. Perhaps a device similar to a car lift would work - four columns with a block and tackle lifting device.

I suggest you engage a Structural Engineer to determine the best and most economical method of lifting the pan.

I hope this has been helpful.

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Roger Zona


I am experienced in all types of construction: residential, industrial and commercial; single family, multi-family, mid-rise and high rise buildings (16 story office building) as well as remodeling, additions and tenant improvements. I can field most any question that relates to general construction. I have consulted with infrastructure (utility) contractors also and have a good general knowledge of underground utility construction for subdivisions and commercial projects.


After college, I began my career in the construction industry. I chose to become an apprentice Architect and 4 yrs later I opened my own architectural design firm. Six years later I moved to Florida to buy & develop land and build. I became a State of Florida Certified General Contractor and operated my business for 45 years. I built all types of residential and commercial buildings including warehouses, shopping centers, high rise apartments and office buildings and developed sites for other contractors. I retired and became a consultant to the construction industry. I maintain my license and continuing education requirements, operate a small construction company and write a weekly newspaper column for the Palm Beach Post (a Cox publication) with the byline "Ask The Contractor". I am the "technical editor" for a publisher of books that relate to home maintenance.

Previously - NAHA Currently - FLCA (Florida Licensed Contractors Assoc.)

Palm Beach Post newspaper - weekly Q & A column Happy Herald monthly real estate publication - monthly column

Michigan State University University of Detroit BS in Engineering

Past/Present Clients
I built a home in Palm Beach for a member of the Pulitzer Family. I was responsible for the completion of a twin hi-rise condominium project for G.E. Credit. I was a partner in the successful development of a P.U.D. (Planned Urban Development) subdivision. I represented the largest home builder from France (Bati Service, S.A.) in the development of a subdivision and the design and construction of the homes.

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