New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Introduction 443-2014: Crane Modernization Act

Council Member Ben Kallos has re-introduce legislation authored by former Mayor Bloomberg that would limit the age of cranes operating in New York City with a 25 year age limit that will remove older cranes from operation and improve the safety of crane operations at construction sites. Modernization of crane inventory would reflect advances in design, technology and safety.

Mayor Bloomberg's Press Release:

Mayor Bloomberg and Buildings Commissioner Limandri Announce New Legislation to Limit the Age of Cranes Operating in New York City

December 10, 2013

25 Year Age Limit Will Remove Older Cranes from Operation and Improve the Safety of Crane Operations at Construction Sites

Modernization of Crane Inventory Reflects Advances in Design, Technology and Safety

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Buildings Commissioner Robert D. LiMandri today announced new legislation to limit the age of cranes operating in New York City as part of an ongoing effort to raise the standards for crane operations citywide. The bill would prohibit mobile and tower cranes manufactured more than 25 years ago from operating in New York City. Cranes would be removed from service based on the original date of manufacture, or based on the age of the crane’s oldest component, whichever is greater. In addition, crane owners would be required to outfit all cranes with load cycle counters to record data regarding every lift that a crane performs – which is critical to setting maintenance schedules and overall operability over a crane’s service life. Since 2008, the Department has taken steps to reduce the age of the crane fleet in New York City and discontinue the use of aging cranes. Newer crane models are generally electric, require less maintenance, have improved controls and advanced safety features, and are better for the environment. A strict limit on the service life of cranes will ensure that older models are continually phased-out and replaced with the most sophisticated and technologically advanced equipment available. Requiring crane owners to update their crane fleet and make new cranes available will help maintain New York City’s position as a worldwide leader in construction. The bill was introduced to the City Council at the request of the Mayor, following years of research on practices in other jurisdictions and extensive engagement with the City’s development and construction stakeholders.

“New York City has some of the toughest crane regulations in the world, and we enforce crane regulations more stringently than anywhere else,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Since 2008, the City has adopted more than 25 new construction safety laws, conducted tougher inspections and raised licensing standards for crane operators. This legislation builds on those efforts by ensuring only state-of-the art, highly reliable equipment is transforming New York City’s skyline.”

“Imposing a limit on the age of cranes will bring our policy in line with the reality of advances in safety and technology in the crane industry,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “As building in New York City continues to accelerate, we must encourage crane manufactures to supply the construction industry with modernized equipment. In partnership with Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council, we have made impressive gains in increasing the City’s oversight of crane operations and demonstrated our commitment to making construction safer for workers and the public.”

On any construction site, cranes are responsible for delivering heavy loads throughout the property, and in a dense urban environment such as New York City, it is critical to ensure that this equipment performs to the highest standard. In 2008, the average age of tower cranes operating in New York City was 14.8 years. Today, the average age of tower cranes is 9.2 years. New York City enforces crane regulations more stringently than anywhere else in the world, and construction-related fatalities are down 84 percent this year compared to 2008 – despite an increase in construction permits. Since 2008, the Department has also issued cease-use orders for two models of cranes manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s and removed 36 tower cranes from operation. These models of cranes were ordered out of service after they were identified to have documented performance and safety issues.

Limiting the age of cranes is a major step in enhancing public safety and helping contractors and developers build more safely and efficiently. Cranes that remain in operation for a prolonged period of time are more susceptible to stress and fatigue. Older cranes develop heightened maintenance needs over time and the failure of certain parts, or defunct manufactures, make conducting proper repairs on older crane models more difficult. Newer cranes have advanced safety features and reduced maintenance needs. Cranes manufactured today tend to be electric – rather than diesel – are less noisy and produce fewer emissions. In addition, setting an age limit for cranes will allow crane owners and contractors to plan in advance for the purchase and manufacture of new cranes. It will also encourage investment in the research and design of new crane technologies that meet New York City’s high safety standards and unique needs. In recent years, similar age limitations for cranes have been implemented in jurisdictions, including a dozen European Union countries.

Since 2008, the Department has increased its oversight of crane operations across the City, including expanded inspection checklists, more training for crane inspectors, updated exams, stricter licensing requirements and several new laws and requirements, such as:

  • Requirement of national certification and mandatory re-testing every five years for licensed crane operators;
  • Requirement of detailed plans for the erection/dismantling of a tower crane;
  • Requirement of a safety meeting before the erection, jumping, and dismantling of a tower crane;
  • Requirement of tower crane workers to receive a 30-hour safety training course;
  • Requirement of an inspection and certification by the engineer of record prior to jump or climbing;
  • Prohibition of the use of nylon slings unless recommended by the manufacturer;
  • Requirement of a third-party engineer inspection of a tower crane before an approval for erection.


Legislation Status
Date of Introduction
Legislative Text
A Local Law to amend the New York city building code, in relation to crane modernization.
Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
      Section 1. Section BC 202 of the New York city building code is amended by adding a new definition for "MANUFACTURE DATE (Crane)," in appropriate alphabetical order, to read as follows:
MANUFACTURE DATE (Crane). See Section 3302.1.
§2. Section 3302.1 of the New York city building code is amended by adding a new definition for "MANUFACTURE DATE (Crane)," in appropriate alphabetical order, to read as follows:
MANUFACTURE DATE (Crane). For a particular crane, the earlier of the following dates:
1.      The date the crane was originally manufactured for its intended purpose.
2.      The date that the oldest individual component of the crane was originally manufactured.
§3. Section BC 3319 of the New York city building code is amended by adding new sections 3319.11 and 3319.12 to read as follows:
3319.11 Age limitations for cranes. Only cranes having an age of less than 25 years from the manufacture date may be used in New York City. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 3319.5, the certificate of operation for a crane with an age greater than 25 years from the manufacture date shall be deemed to have expired.
1.      A crane with an age of 25 years or greater from the manufacture date that is (i) in use on a project on October 1, 2014 or (ii) not in use on October 1, 2014, but for which an application for a certificate of on-site inspection has been approved as of October 1, 2014, may continue to be used until completion of the project for which it is being used or the project for which such certificate of onsite inspection was issued.
2.      Where a crane with an age of less than 25 years from the manufacture date at the time the department approved the application for a certificate of on-site inspection is being used on a project and will reach an age of 25 years or greater from the manufacture date during such project, such crane may be used for the duration of that project or until it reaches 28 years of age, whichever occurs earlier.
3.      The commissioner may approve the use of a crane with an age of 25 years or greater from the manufacture date for up to a maximum of five years, not to exceed 30 years from the manufacture date, when load cycle counter logs and other records as required by rule of the department are deemed sufficient by the commissioner to establish that such crane meets the manufacturer's standards for use.
3319.12 Load cycle counters. Each crane shall be equipped with a load cycle counter. The owner of such crane shall maintain accurate records of the cycles that the crane performs.
Exception: Cranes in existence on October 1, 2014 shall comply with this section by July 1, 2015.
      §4. This local law shall take effect on October 1, 2014, except that the commissioner of buildings shall take such measures as are necessary for its implementation, including the promulgation of rules, prior to such effective date.
Int. 1209-2013
LS # 1607, 1966
6/23/2014 6:47PM

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