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Contract Lift vs. Crane Hire – which is right for you?


The Construction Plant-Hire Association (CPA) publishes a standard set of Terms & Conditions that are widely used in the Crane and Plant-Hire industry. They give hirers and customers a robust legal framework so that every party knows exactly what their responsibilities are in relation to each part of the lifting process.


What is included in standard CPA Crane Hire?


  • Mobile crane hire

  • Crane operator

For many construction companies, the obvious thing to do is to hire a mobile crane and operator to work to your instructions on site – on the surface it appears to be the cheapest option. However, this means that you will handle all the planning: selecting a suitable model of crane; arranging slinging and signalling personnel; providing a competent and appropriately trained Appointed Person to organise a Lift Plan with method statement and risk assessment; and providing a trained Lift Supervisor to oversee the lifting process while it is in operation.

On top of this, you must be insured against injury and damage to the equipment and third parties during the lift although the plant-hire company can often arrange insurance on your behalf, so it’s always worth talking to them in advance.


As soon as the hired crane leaves the public highway, it is completely your responsibility. You are responsible for complying with BS7121 and LOLER.


The Crane Hire company has a duty to provide a crane in good condition with a competent operator for the hiring period, but beyond this their legal liability ends. Under the CPA rules, the vast majority of risk and responsibility lies in the hands of the customer.


What’s included in a CPA Contract Lift


  • Mobile crane hire with crane operator

  • Lift plan / method statement / risk assessment

  • Lift team personnel including an Appointed Person

  • Plant maintenance checks and certificates

  • Conforming to lifting regulations PUWER, LOLER and BS7121 ACoPs

Importantly, the crane hire company is responsible for:

  • Insurance against loss or damage to the load being lifted (in some circumstances);

  • Loss or damage to the crane and its ancillary equipment whilst on site and under the customer’s control;

  • Legal liability in the event of injury to a driver whilst under the supervision of the customer – this extends to injury to third parties and damage to property arising from the lifting operation whilst the crane is on site.

The customer will not be liable for continued hire charges if the crane or its equipment are rendered incapable of functioning due to loss or damage.


In other words, the hiring company takes on the majority of the risks and responsibilities that would otherwise transfer to the customer. The upfront costs may be higher than for a standard CPA Crane Hire agreement but the level of risk and overall costs in real terms may be significantly lower.


A Contract Lift offers the most comprehensive service and it is clear that there are many advantages when compared to a standard CPA Crane Hire, despite the higher upfront costs.


Making an informed choice


In many ways, standard CPA Crane Hire suits the plant hire company very well, as most of the risk devolves onto you, the customer, who inevitably undertakes more financial responsibility in real terms. However, it does allow the plant-hire company to give customers a price advantage because Standard CPA Crane hire contracts are easier to arrange and have fewer upfront costs.


Most crane-hire companies offer the option of Standard CPA Crane Hire or Contract Lift, so your decision as a customer is likely to be based on how much you wish to reduce risk compared with your budget, the resources you have on site, your insurance, and the relationship you have with crane hire partners.


We hope that these considerations will help you to think again about the different benefits of Contract Lift and standard CPA Crane Hire – in some situations a Contract Lift can significantly reduce risk on site, and save you money overall by allowing site personnel to be working in other areas.


Get in touch With Carter Crane Hire


We are experts in everything to do with lifting, so we will make the process of hiring a crane with standard Crane Hire or CPA Contract Lift Hire straightforward. We like to think of ourselves as a one-stop-shop for all your lifting needs.


Our competent person would be happy to come out on-site and do a free, no obligation site survey. We can also generate a thorough and detailed method statement for you. We will do all we can to ensure the safety of your lifting operations.


For more information on any aspect of this blog, please contact us or telephone 01395 446446

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Carter Group, Hill Top, Budleigh Hill, East Budleigh, Devon. EX9 7DT. T: 01395 446446,  E: info@cartergroup.co.uk    | wix