In this article, we look at the crucial differences between CPA Crane hire and Contract Lifts, as well as the comparative advantages and disadvantages.
What is CPA Crane Hire?
According to the standard terms set down by the CPA (Construction Plant-Hire Association) and adhered to by most operators in the construction industry, crane hire looks something like this:
If you are planning a lift, the most common thing to do is to hire a crane and operator to work to your instructions on the site. This means that you handle planning the lift, selecting a suitable model of crane and are responsible for arranging slinging and signalling. You are also responsible for supervising the lifting while it is in operation. This means you must provide a competent and appropriately trained Appointed Person to oversee the process.
As soon as the hired crane leaves the public highway, it is completely your responsibility. You are responsible for creating a risk assessment and method statement, and for complying with BS7121 and LOLER.
The CPA Model Conditions (2001) for hire agreements Clause 13 places complete responsibility upon the hirer for:
“all loss of or damage to the plant for whatever cause the same may arise, fair wear and tear excepted”
for the duration of the hire period.
In other words, the provider/Hirer has a duty to provide a crane in good condition and 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 hiring party.
Why is it so popular?
When spelled out like this, it begs the question why CPA Crane hire is such a popular option. In some ways it certainly suits the plant hire companies as it shifts the burden of risk to their customers. On the other hand, it allows plant hire companies to give customers a price advantage for this kind of contract.
CPA Crane hire contracts are easier to arrange and have fewer upfront costs. However, the customer inevitably undertakes more financial responsibility in real terms, as they need to make sure the plant is insured, well looked after and supervised while it is on site.
So, what is the alternative to CPA Crane hire agreements, and do they offer an advantage in terms of risk management and cost savings?
Contract Lift: the main benefits
A contract lift is the main alternative to CPA crane hire. With these agreements, the customer still hires a crane and qualified operator. But beyond this the Crane hire company also takes on further responsibilities. For instance, with a contract lift, the Crane hire company will plan the lift, select a suitable crane, will designate an Appointed Person, supervise the lift and arrange the slinging and signalling.
In other words, the hiring company takes on the majority of the risks and responsibilities that would otherwise devolve on the customer.
This significantly reduces the level of risk and financial costs in real terms for the customer; even if the upfront costs of a contract lift are usually more than CPA crane hire agreements.
Crucially, the provider handles the following risks, which under CPA would be the customer’s responsibility:
– The Crane hire company is responsible for loss or damage to the crane and associated equipment while
on the customer site and under their control.
– In many cases, it is the Crane hire company that insures the goods being lifted against loss or damage.
– The customer is not liable for continued hire charges if the equipment is rendered incapable of function due to loss or damage.
– The Crane hire company takes on legal liability in the event of an injury to the driver while under the supervision of the customer. This legal liability also extends to injury to third parties and damage to property arising from the lifting operation while the crane is on site.
When viewed in this way, many buyers and procurement managers will breathe a sigh of relief at the prospect of a Contract Lift, as opposed to a CPA crane hire, despite the higher upfront costs.
Making an informed choice
There are advantages and disadvantages to both CPA crane hire and Contract Lift. At the end of the day, the decision you make will be very much based on your budget, the resources you have on site, your insurance, and the relationship you have with Crane hire partners.
Most Crane hire companies will offer both types of service, so in a nutshell, your decision as a procurement manager or buyer is based on how much you wish to reduce risk compared with how much you are willing to spend upfront. Unfortunately, risk is so often an intangible factor, while the balance book is not.
This being said, here is a summary of the implications of CPA crane hire versus contract lift:
CPA Crane Hire
– contractually, the entire lift is the responsibility of you, the customer. You must be insured against injury and damage to the equipment and third parties during the lift. You must also make sure there is an Appointed Person and suitable professionals available to supervise the lift while it is taking place.
CPA Contract Lift
– the crane, driver and the lift operation remain primarily the responsibility of the plant hire company throughout the operation. This means that the hirer insures the plant against damage, and takes legal liability for any injury, loss, damage or destruction to property that takes place during the lift – including damage to the goods and materials being lifted.
We hope that these considerations will help buyers and procurement managers think again about the comparative benefits of Contract Lift as opposed to CPA crane hire. In the long term, a Contract Lift can significantly reduce risk on site, while saving money in real terms on resources that can be diverted elsewhere.
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