A feature unique to row homes is the lack of access to the back yard. More modern row homes in which entire blocks were conceived as one development usually have an alley built in to the lay out of the blocks. But if you go to a neighborhood from the turn of the 19th to 20th century or before you will find a sort of doughnut effect where the backyards are inaccessible from anywhere but through the house itself.
Perhaps in previous times when lives were simpler and there were no electrical wires or plumbing you wouldn’t have had to worry about getting anything terribly large into your backyard. Perhaps you didn’t even have a backyard. But what if you need to install a heating unit, as was our case, or a hot tub? Your options are either rip out the doors and knock down walls or go over your house with a crane.
We were faced with such a dilemma this past February as we had to get a heating system installed into our home. We chose, well didn’t have a choice really, to have the unit installed with the help of a crane. The final resting place of the unit was to be on our roof so going through the home wasn’t an option anyway. Having to get a heavy duty construction crane to carry our comparatively small heating unit seemed excessive until I relayed the story to other row house owners who informed me that this is a completely common place solution to a limited access situation. Not only do heating and ac units get moved about this way but also hot tubs, bath tubs, pianos, furniture, and just about anything that needs a little more muscle than obliging relatives and friends can provide.
When you work with a crane you have to consider weather. Our installation was postponed because of rain. You have to remain flexible about deadlines. But it is infinitely easier than knocking down a wall.
Another thing to keep in mind is the reputation of your crane company. Ours was highly recommended by the company that installed our HVAC unit. The entire operation was professionally executed and the company had ample insurance just in case our system decided to take a plunge from the heights.