Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Tower Crane Inspections in Alberta
1. Who sets the requirements for inspecting Tower Cranes?
In Alberta, the requirements are set by Alberta OH&S. In the OHS code they have a small section for tower cranes under Part 6. They also reference CSA Z248 (Code for Tower Cranes), which goes into greater detail the requirements on inspection. Since OHS references CSA Z248 it requires the user to follow the CSA code as part of the law.
2. I’m about to erect a tower crane, do I need it inspected before I erect it?
Yes, Alberta OHS says that all structural and rigging components must be inspected under the direction and control of an engineer before the crane is used for the first time on site. Also, Alberta OHS references CSA Z248, and in that code it requires the structural inspection to be performed before erection. By requiring the inspection to occur before erection, it allows for a more thorough inspection. Components that are not easily accessible in the air are usually accessible when the component is on the ground. For example, all pins/bolts should be removed to perform Magnetic Particle inspections which can’t occur when the crane is erected. If repairs are required it is a lot easier to fix the repairs when the unit is on the ground as opposed to in the air.
3. What are some of the problem areas on a tower crane?
One of the most common issues with a tower crane is dented/bent lacings. Most of the time this occurs during transport and when erecting the tower crane. If you do notice damaged lacings, you should call an engineer with crane experience to have a look at it before you continue operating the crane.
4. I have erected my tower crane, do I need it inspected again now that it is in the air?
You are not required to have an inspection by an engineer once you have erected the crane. However, you do still need to perform an inspection before the crane is placed into service. This inspection shall be carried out by the erecting personnel, and the operator. At this time they will do their operational tests, load tests, re-torque all tower bolts, and inspect all running rope. They should also look at the structural components to make sure there is no damage from transport. If any damage is noted you should contact an engineer with crane experience prior to operating the crane.
5. My tower crane will be in operation on the same site for more than a year, do I need it inspected?
Yes, a Tower Crane that is in operation on the same site for more than a year requires an inspection to be performed under the direction of an engineer after each period of 12 months (or 2000h). The inspector will climb the crane looking for structural defects, and check any wire rope for deterioration. Also, the inspector will use ultrasonic testing on all accessible pins to verify there are no internal defects. Other items that shall be performed include an operational test, and a load test.
6. My tower crane is going to another site, do I need it inspected even though it has not been a year since the last inspection?
Yes, according to Alberta OHS a tower crane must be inspected if the crane is moved from project to project.
7. I just had a misadventure (eg. shock loading, contact with another crane) with my tower crane, what do I do now?
We would suggest stop using the crane till you can have an engineer look at it. If it is determined that the crane needs to be repaired then that repair shall be carried out in accordance with the engineer’s recommendations. No repair shall be done on any tower crane unless it’s been approved by the manufacturer or by an engineer. Once a repair on structural components has been completed a load test shall be performed as outlined in CSA Z248.
8. Who is qualified to do the inspection on my tower crane?
This is something that gets overlooked a lot. You want to have someone that is knowledgeable in tower cranes and that has the proper inspection tickets. The tower crane code outlines that inspectors shall be qualified to CSA W178.2. That essentially means that the inspector must have a minimum of a CWB Level 1 ticket with a CSA W59 code endorsement. Also, any inspector that uses nondestructive test methods (eg. magnetic particle, ultrasonic) must have the ticket that is associated with the methods they are using. For example, there have been inspection companies that have gotten in trouble with Occupational Health and Safety because their inspectors did not have the proper tickets. Make sure the inspection company you hire sends a qualified person.
Tower Cranes are an integral part of construction and they need to be safely maintained and inspected regularly. At Sparta Inspections we have the personnel that can help you with your inspection needs.