The Dutch-made Spierings truck-mounted tower crane, owned by rental company NMT, was being used by fit-out contractor BW Workplace Experts to support its refurbishment of the Reading Primark store.
Emergency services were called to the scene in West Street at just before 2pm on Saturday 29th July when the chassis of the crane lifted on the off side, leaving the erect crane with its tower section leaning against the building.
It is unclear whether the ground gave way under one of the outriggers or whether the outriggers were not fully deployed on one side. The crane’s safety system is supposed to prevent any overloading of the jib that might cause toppling.
No-one was reported injured during the incident. The crane operator, working from the cab at the top of the 35-metres high tower, was able to climb down to safety. However, the 60-metre jib section was damaged, leaving the crane unable to fold away as designed. Spierings factory engineers were summoned to fix the problems by dismantling the jib on site.
Superintendent Robert France of the Thames Valley Police said on Sunday: “The crane has now been stabilised and the fire service has left the scene, however Thames Valley Police and Reading Borough Council remain at the scene.
“Although the crane has been stabilised the jib of the crane is damaged, therefore expert engineers from the Netherlands are travelling to the UK today to assess the damage. It is possible that it may take a number of days to repair the jib and remove the crane from the scene."
Some 62 residents were evacuated from flats in the area and re-homed by Reading Borough Council overnight. Most were able to return home the next day.