Crane hire or contract lift: which will be best for you?

When it comes to lifting heavy loads, whether for construction projects or industrial purposes, the expertise and equipment of a professional crane service are indispensable. The two most popular options are either crane hire or contract lift – hiring a crane to plan and manage yourself or a contract lift which involves outsourcing the entire lifting operation (from planning & execution to insurance) to a specialist company. 

While both crane hire and contract lift, can be effective in fulfilling your lifting requirements, determining which one is best suited for your specific needs requires careful consideration of various factors. Here at Fortis we believe in providing you with all the relevant information, to help you to make an informed decision. So let’s delve into the key differences between crane hire and contract lift, exploring their advantages and disadvantages, as well as providing industry-leading insights to help you make the right decision. 

Not quite as simple as it sounds!

With standard crane hire, you rent the crane from a crane rental company but are responsible for its management, including providing a competent crane operator (if not supplied), riggers, and all necessary personnel.

You have greater control over the crane and its operation, allowing you to adapt to project-specific requirements and schedules, but you have much greater levels of responsibility too. 

Pros of crane hire: 

1. It’s a cost-effective option as you – the hirer – are responsible for operating and insuring the crane.

2. It provides flexibility as cranes can be hired on short notice for specific projects.

3. It allows the hirer to choose from a wide range of cranes, ensuring suitability for different project requirements.

4. It offers independence in terms of planning and executing lift operations.

5. It can potentially save money in cases where only occasional or one-time lifting needs arise.

Cons of crane hire:

1. It requires trained personnel to operate the crane (if not supplied), which may incur additional costs or training requirements.

2. The responsibility for insurance and repairs, if damaged, lies with the hirer – you – adding potential overhead expenses.

3. You will need to take out limited liability coverage as any accidents or damages during operation are typically the hirer’s responsibility.

4. The lack of expertise in handling complex lifting operations may pose risks if not properly managed by the hiring party.

5. Project delays may occur if there is difficulty finding available cranes during peak periods or high demand.

Crane hire may be suitable if you have experienced personnel with the necessary skills and qualifications to plan and manage the crane lift safely and effectively.

The gold standard: contract lift hire

In a contract lift, you hire a crane and outsource the entire lifting operation to a specialised contract lifting solutions company. They handle all aspects of the lifting process, including planning, providing the crane, operators, riggers, and managing the lifting operation.

The crane hire company takes responsibility for ensuring the safe and efficient execution of the lift, including complying with all legal requirements, performing risk assessments, providing detailed lift plans and providing insurance coverage.

Contract lifts are beneficial if you lack the expertise, resources, or time to manage the lifting operation independently. It reduces your liability and transfers the responsibility to the crane hire company.

Pros of contract lift:

1. It provides a comprehensive contract lifting solution as it includes skilled operators, necessary equipment, and insurance coverage.

2. With a contract lift, the lifting operation is fully managed by the contractor, which means they take responsibility for planning, execution, and safety. This greatly reduces your liability too. 

3. The contractor providing the contract lift service usually has specialised knowledge and experience in carrying out complex lifting operations.

4. Contract lifts often include insurance coverage for both the equipment, goods on hook and any damage or injury that may occur during the lifting process.

5. Contract lifts ensure that suitable and properly maintained equipment is provided by the contractor, eliminating the need for separate crane hire arrangements.

6. By opting for a contract lift, there is no need to arrange permits, licences, or other paperwork associated with crane hire since it all falls under the responsibility of one contractor. You significantly reduce the amount of administration required. 

Cons of contract lift:

1. Contract lifts generally come at a higher price compared to simply hiring a crane due to added services such as planning and management being included.

2. As everything is managed by one contractor in a contract lift, there might be limited flexibility in terms of timing changes or adjustments during the lifting process.

3. Choosing a contract lift means relying solely on one provider for all aspects of the project. If you have trouble with your provider, this can be problematic. 

Contract lifts are beneficial if you lack the expertise, resources, or time to manage the lifting operation independently. It reduces your liability and transfers the responsibility to the crane hire company.

Choosing the best option for your project

When deciding between crane hire or a contract lift, it is essential to carefully consider the specific needs and requirements of your project. Crane hire offers more flexibility and control over the operation, allowing for greater customisation and cost-effectiveness for smaller projects. 

On the other hand, a contract lift provides a complete solution with professional management and expertise for larger, complex projects. Ultimately, the choice depends on factors such as budget, project scope, and level of responsibility desired. 

To help make an informed decision, contact us at Fortis (contract lift UK specialists) for advice and guidance and to see what we can offer you. Our service is truly bespoke and we are one of the only industry leaders who will assist you with every aspect of your lift, even before you have tendered for the job! Why not contact us and make use of our expertise and support with our assurance and consultancy service. Get in touch today to see how we can help. 

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