Sky high construction in Clear Lake

Forest City contractors are working around obstacles to move a new house onto foundation.

Posted: Dec 19, 2018 8:37 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2018 7:10 AM

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - It's not something you see every day; in fact, it may remind you of the movie "Up": a house is lifted off the ground and moved to a new location.

That was the scene in Clear Lake this week. A new home was hoisted onto a new foundation, but had to overcome some significant obstacles in the big move. However, it's a challenge a Forest City contractor is up to tackling.

Joe Farus with Farus Contracting has moved a lot of houses over the years, but those involved using smaller cranes to move them into place.

"I enjoy doing it. It's exciting, especially when you're doing something...going this high in the air. We don't see this all that often."

He recently took over the family business from his parents, just in time to move an entire house onto a new foundation. Surrounding powerlines, though, had to remain connected during the move.

"This was the first one we ever had where someone didn't want their power turned off."

To accomplish the project, pieces of the home were assembled in the Surf Ballroom parking lot, then loaded piece by piece onto a big rig. A large 300 ton Demag crane lifted the house in four separate sections high over active lines and trees onto the foundation. In addition, wind was a factor in the move too, with Joe's wife Bethanie saying that crews had to stop on Tuesday because it was too risky.

"Once the house gets moving, and because this is a live line, they have to let those guidelines go so they don't get zapped. The wind could start pushing that house and it's so heavy and with the inertia, it's almost impossible to stop it and it could hit the crane. So you have to be careful with that."

While the Farus family has over 30 years experience with moving homes, including one on the other side of Clear Lake that involved a larger crane, they hope the next time they can eliminate one obstacle.

"If we ever have to do this that everyone agrees to let us shut the power off for a short period. It would be a lot faster and easier."

Once all the pieces of the house were put into place, crews went to work on suring up the house to secure it against the winter. The next step is to finish the interior of the house.

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