Whether you are planning on doing a private renovation yourself, or you are a start up construction company, it is integral that you have the appropriate plant machinery and construction equipment to perform the job well. Having the right equipment can affect the prices that you charge for your services, as higher quality and newer equipment will affect productivity and staying on track with completion. However, for many construction companies, it can become expensive to source out the best and newest models. What’s more, there can be many extra costs incurred as a result, from maintenance to servicing and also storage.
This is why there has been a rise in construction companies turning to crane contractors and crane companies to hire out equipment for both short and long term projects. Not only can this be more cost effective for large scale projects and small construction companies, but it can also suit certain projects that need more specific equipment. In this case, if you are a construction company looking to invest in this – then it is likely that you will come across terms such as crane hire and contract lifting. Below, we take a closer look at what exactly crane hire and contract lifting is, and how it can benefit specific projects.
What is crane hire and contract lifting?
Crane hire is as simple as the name suggests. It is where you hire a crane as well as an operator to man the crane for construction projects. The operator works underneath your instructions for the duration of the project, whilst manning the crane and thus performing to the required health and safety standards. However, according to the Construction Plant Association, also known as the CPA, crane hire operates under the terms that you, as the site manager, are responsible for planning the lift, selecting the appropriate crane, and arranging the slinging and signalling. What’s more, you are also responsible for the supervision of the lift whilst it is in operation, meaning that you must have an anointed Appropriate Person to oversee the process.
An ‘Appropriate Person’, or also known as a competent person, is according to the Health and Safety Executive someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to oversee and manage health and safety concerns. This is especially notable within the construction industry as the usage of cumbersome and heavy equipment can create an accident-prone environment. As the site manager, the competent or appropriate person could be yourself, or it could be one of your colleagues, employees or perhaps someone outside of the business.
Essentially for crane hire, the responsibility is yours and yours only and you must comply with regulations like BS7121 and LOLER. Whether that is making a detailed risk assessment or having the most well-trained employees perform the job – if any accidents occur, you will be liable rather than the crane hire company. These accidents could of course be human related, but in some situations accidents could occur where damage to the rental equipment occurs. In these situations, you are also responsible and will need to pay for reparations. The crane hire contractors will have the responsibility of providing the equipment to a high standard, as well as a competent operator. But, this is where their legal and responsible obligation ends.
On the other hand, contract lifting is different and is the main alternative to crane hire. Contract lift is essentially still the same premise that a customer hires a crane and a qualified operator, whereas, the crane hire company will ensue greater responsibility rather than the customer. For example, in a contract lift agreement, the crane contractors will plan the lift, find a suitable crane, designate an appointed person, supervise the lift itself and arrange both the slinging and signalling. Contract lifting like crane hire, is still very popular, as contract lifting reduces overall risk, and can help alleviate and reduce overall costs, even if the original crane hire cost is greater at first.
This essentially means that the crane hire company is responsible for the loss and damage of the equipment, the loss or damage of the items being lifted, and any event of injury to the driver and operator of the machinery.
So, now that you have learnt the basics of crane hire versus contract lifting – which service should you seek from your local crane contractors? The great flexibility about these two options is that you can choose crane rental that suits your needs and specific project. Below, we outline what these situations might be, helping you to make an informed decision.
Crucially, contract lifting offers a myriad of benefits that can specifically help a range of projects.
If you have a greater budget for your project, then it is certainly worth getting contract lift over crane hire. This is because, for many situations, peace of mind is far more valuable than saving pennies. What’s more, if you are undertaking a complex project, having a large initial cost can perhaps help you plan better for future costs and budget accordingly. This is because, crane hire may result in extra costs like damages. This way, having one hire cost for contract lift can make you be more control and you won’t get hit by any surprise fees.
Long term projects, like major building sites and renovations, are far more suited to contract lifting rather than crane hire. This is because, generally over a longer period of time, rather than a shorter period, accidents and damages are more likely to occur; especially if the equipment is used extensively. With this in mind, contract lifting is better suited because, as a site manager, you will have less to worry about overall. After all, it is not surprising that long term projects can harbour both stress and potential disorganisation – and having some of this stress taken off you will mean that accidents are less likely to occur.
Similarly to long term projects, renovations that are for public interest like public buildings, churches, museums and grade listed properties may require more thorough crane hire like contract lifting. However, if this is the case, then it is recommended that you choose a reputable and knowledgeable crane rental service that has the experience of working within these environments, simply to further minimise damage.
Crane hire benefits plant hire companies as it removes their responsibility and allows their customers a cheaper option as there are fewer upfront costs. Yet whilst the customer initially spends less, there is a greater financial responsibility that they must take on, making sure that the plant hire equipment is well-maintained and well-looked after whilst it is on site.
Whether you are adding new roofing shingles or orchestrating a home renovation, short term projects are far more suited to crane hire rather than contract lift. Simply put, do you really want to be shelling out hundreds or thousands of pounds for an operation that you know extremely well, and one that will be done within a few days? For many reputable construction companies, the answer will be no. Crane hire allows you the flexibility, independence and freedom to get the job performed with minimal fuss and on your terms.
If you have a large team of highly trained and trusted staff, including an appointed person, crane hire may be better suited to your needs. This is because, if you are assured that your staff won’t damage the equipment and can use it correctly – then why pay the extra cost?
For those seeking either contract lifting or crane hire options, here at Armquest, our dedicated team of professionals can help. Operating across the North West of England, our cranes have seen the likes of impressive skyscrapers, palladian museums, churches, and humble home renovations.
Whether you want to have complete control and hire our equipment for a short term project, or you want the peace of mind of contract lifting, our team can help. No matter your construction requirements, whether big or small, our team have a wealth of experience in industrial services, and heavy plant machinery, so we can answer any queries or concerns you may have.