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2008

New York City Overhauls Operator Licensing Rules

November 2008 – New York City Buildings Commissioner, Robert LiMandri, announced strict new criteria last month for individuals seeking licenses to operate certain mobile cranes in the city. 

New applicants for Class C cranes (i.e. mobile cranes of 50 tons capacity or less, and 200 ft. of boom or less) must now obtain certification from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO).  They must also undergo a criminal background check, demonstrate physical fitness and comply with a substance abuse policy.

Individuals who currently hold active Class C operator licenses must meet the new requirements and obtain NCCCO certification by September 30, 2009, to retain their licenses.

“These new requirements will better ensure individuals have the necessary skills and knowledge to safely operate the most advanced mobile cranes available,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “Any type of crane is a complex piece of machinery that requires a unique set of skills, and these modernized tests accurately measure one's ability for the cranes being used today."

To obtain a Class C license, an applicant must also have at least two years of experience within the three years prior to application.  This experience must have been under the direct and continuing supervision of a licensed Class C hoist machine operator in New York City or in another jurisdiction that regulates crane operators.  At least one of the required years of experience must be in New York City or another dense urban environment.

Applicants must pass NCCCO written and practical exams specific to the equipment for which the New York City Class C license is to be issued. The exams will be administered at NCCCO testing facilities or facilities approved by NCCCO. “Certification by NCCCO will demonstrate that an applicant has adequate knowledge and experience using the appropriate crane model,” New York City’s Buildings Department stated.

The Department will periodically audit a random sample of the applications submitted and work with the City’s Department of Investigation (DOI) to pursue disciplinary action against those found to have submitted fraudulent information, or who do not otherwise meet the necessary requirements.

The need for this licensing overhaul comes after DOI's arrest in June of the Department’s senior crane inspector, following which the testing process was halted on allegations that the testing had been compromised.  “To ensure the integrity of the process, the Department is now working with NCCCO to begin administering the NCCCO exams,” a Buildings Department statement noted.

For the time being, the City's Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) will continue to administer exams for Class A and Class B licenses for tower cranes and larger mobile cranes. However, the Buildings Department reports it is currently exploring alternative ways to administer those exams also.

NCCCO has established a dedicated resource page on its web site at http://www.nccco.org/nccco/state-licensing-requrements/state-licensing/new-york-city-central/ for anyone wishing to take NCCCO exams to comply with New York City’s new requirement.  More information on licensing procedures for Class C HMO licensees, including a step-by-step guide on how to obtain a Class C license, can be found at the Department’s website at www.nyc.gov/buildings.