Monday, February 1, 2010

Crane Ordinance: Part 2

Last week, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Miami rejected part of Miami-Dade County's crane ordinance. The Court concluded that part of Miami-Dade County's crane ordinance was overruled by federal wind load standards set forth by OSHA. Miami-Dade County had approved the ordinance after a series of fatal crane accidents in the county. The Miami-Dade County Crane ordinance requires crane operators to undergo certification and requires that cranes be designed as "permanent" structures. The Plaintiff's who challenged the ordinance argued that cranes should be designed as "temporary" structures. This distinction is important because it determines the wind speed the cranes must be designed for. Currently, most crane manufacturers design cranes to meet European guidelines (i.e. 92 mph winds). On the other hand, the County Ordinance requires that they be designed to Hurricane Category 3 winds (111-130 mph).

I personally think this decision is a big win for the construction industry. It will prevent municipalities from legislating ordinances that require more than what's already required by OSHA. Designing a crane as a "permanent structure" to wind speeds of 130 mph is a total overkill that will drive up the cost of construction.

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