3 things to look out for when looking for a local crane hire company

Ever been taken for a ride by a company you hired? 

I actually had a roofer throw tiles off of my roof to convince me that because a small section of damage had been caused by a storm I could get a whole new roof and my insurance would cover it.

Needless to say, he did not get any extra work from me!

I think we’ve all been there at one time or another. So, how can you tell if your local crane hire company is reliable?

Here we delve into some of the red flags that you should be aware of when making your selection. Not all crane hire companies are created equal!

1) Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork!

Lack of proper licensing and certification

One of the most critical aspects of choosing a reputable crane hire service is ensuring that they have the necessary certifications. Operating a crane requires a high level of skill and knowledge, and without the proper credentials, the risk to your project and safety increases significantly. 

All crane hire companies should operate their cranes according to the British Standard Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Cranes (also known as BS 7121). It provides recommendations for the safe use of cranes within a work environment. Make sure the company operates according to these standards. 

They should also operate within The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, which is an approved code of practice and guidance developed for the safe use of lifting equipment including cranes. Check that they operate within the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. 

Ensure that the company you are hiring from are certified by the CPCS. The Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS)  was launched at the request of employers as a way to help them comply with the regulations and requirements of plant safety, including crane safety. If your crane hire company carry these cards, then you are in good hands. 

So always check that your “emergency crane hire company” has the appropriate certification. 

Absence of insurance or inadequate coverage

Accidents can happen on construction sites, and when they involve heavy machinery like cranes, the potential for damage and injury is significant. 

In fact, the construction industry consistently ranks in the top 3 for workplace accidents. 

A reputable crane hire service should have adequate insurance coverage to protect against unforeseen accidents and liabilities.

If a local crane hire company cannot provide proof of comprehensive insurance coverage, it should raise a HUGE red flag!  Without insurance, you could be held financially responsible for any damages, injuries, or accidents that occur during the project. 

Even worse, if the company has inadequate coverage, you may still be at risk of facing significant financial losses.

Before finalising your contract with a crane hire company, ask for a copy of their insurance policy and verify its coverage limits. Ensure that it includes liability coverage for property damage and injuries. If the coverage seems insufficient or if the company refuses to provide this information, consider it a warning sign and explore other options.

2) A bad workman blames his tools!

Unqualified operators

Even if the company itself is properly licensed, it’s essential to ensure that the crane operators are qualified and certified to operate the equipment. Inexperienced or untrained crane operators can make costly mistakes that jeopardise the safety of everyone on the job site.

Ask for proof of operator certification and training records to ensure that the crane company employs competent professionals. 

The normal minimal requirements for a mobile crane operator are: 

  • CPCS Card Category:A60 – A- block duties; B- pick and carry duties only; A60 all duties
  • Minimum of HGV Cat C driving licence when the unit is over 7.5t Gross Vehicle Weight(GVW)

There are different accreditations needed for Crane Supervisors, Slinger/Signallers and Appointed Persons.

  • Mobile Crane Operator – Level 2 Award in Plant Operations (Mobile Crane Operator)
  • Slinger/Signaller – Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Controlling Lifting Operations (Slinger/Signaller)
  • Crane Supervisor – Level 4 NVQ Diploma in Controlling Lifting Operations (Crane Supervisor)
  • Appointed Person – Level 5 NVQ Diploma in Controlling Lifting Operations (Appointed Person)

If a company hesitates or refuses to provide this information, consider it a significant red flag and continue your search for a more reputable crane hire in Birmingham.

Poor maintenance and equipment condition

Inspect the equipment offered by the crane hire company carefully (yes, even when it’s an emergency crane hire). 

Look for signs of wear and tear, rust or other visible damage. If the equipment appears outdated or in poor condition, it’s a clear red flag. Outdated or poorly maintained cranes are more prone to malfunctions and accidents, putting your project at risk.

Additionally, enquire about the company’s maintenance and inspection schedules

A reputable crane hire company should have regular maintenance routines in place to ensure the safe operation of their equipment. If they cannot provide evidence of routine maintenance or avoid the question altogether, consider it a red flag.

3) Balancing the scales! 

Inadequate load capacity assessment

Another red flag to watch out for is a crane hire company that doesn’t perform thorough load capacity assessments. The load capacity of a crane must match the specific requirements of your project to ensure safety and efficiency.

If the company seems disinterested in understanding your project’s load capacity needs or fails to provide a detailed assessment, it’s a warning sign. An inaccurate load capacity assessment can lead to overloading the crane, which can result in equipment failure and potentially catastrophic accidents.

Check that they perform an adequate load capacity assessment. 

Get a great crane hire company by avoiding the red flags

Selecting the right local crane hire company is a critical decision that can greatly impact the success and safety of your construction project. By being vigilant and watching out for these red flags, you can avoid potential pitfalls and ensure that you partner with a reputable and reliable crane hire in Birmingham. 

Fortis Heavy Lift Group has industry experience spanning 3 decades, so we know exactly how things should be done…and ensure that we do them properly. Get in touch today for more information about your next crane hire.

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