National Commission for the
Certification of Crane Operators
Committed to Quality, Integrity, and Fairness in Testing since 1995


Lift Director

Written Exam - Core Exam Outline

The Core portion of the NCCCO Lift Director Written Examination tests the following knowledge areas relating to mobile and tower cranes:

Domain 1: Site
Approximately 20% of test

Domain 2: Roles, Responsibilities, and Qualifications
Approximately 17.5% of test

Domain 3: Lifting Operations
Approximately 20% of test

Domain 4: Lift Plans
Approximately 5% of test

Domain 5: Rigging
Approximately 25% of test

Domain 6: Signals
Approximately 12.5% of test 


  1. Know how to identify and address hazards related to ground/surface conditions during lifting operations, such as:
    1. Subsurface (voids, tanks, utilities)
    2. Ground conditions (slopes, drainage, soil type)
    3. Traffic control
  2. Know how to identify and address hazards related to site access/transportation, such as:
    1. Clearance/obstructions
    2. Slopes
    3. Compaction
    4. Ground bearing
    5. Traffic control
  3. Know how to determine appropriate matting/cribbing. Elements of concern include, but are not limited to:
    1. Types
    2. Materials
    3. Sizing (PSI vs. PSF, mat size adjustment for ground condition)
  4. Know how to identify and address hazards associated with power lines or transmitter/communication towers, such as:
    1. Defined lift zone vs. non-defined lift zone
    2. During operations (>350kV, <350kV, working closer than Table A)
    3. During travel
    4. Emergency procedures
  5. Know how to identify and address environmental conditions that adversely affect lifting operations, such as:
    1. Weather (wind, lightning, snow/ice/frost, rain, fog, extreme temperatures)
    2. Lighting conditions (artificial or natural)
  6. Know how to identify and address hazards associated with lifting operations, such as:
    1. Taglines
    2. Non-standard rigging (specialty lifting devices)


  1. Know the roles, responsibilities, and qualifications of personnel involved in the lifting operations, such as:
    1. Lift director
    2. Site supervisor
    3. Crane operator (mobile, tower)
    4. Crane owner
    5. Crane user
    6. Signalperson
    7. Rigger
    8. Controlling entity
    9. Dedicated spotter


  1. Know how to identify and address hazards associated with special lifting operations, such as:
    1. Critical lifts
    2. Personnel lifting
    3. Multi-crane lifts
    4. Multiple load line lifts
    5. Pick and carry
    6. Assembly/disassembly
    7. Lifting on, from or to water (e.g., barges, trestles, docks, launching)
    8. Duty cycle operations
    9. Demolition
  2. Know and understand the requirements for communications during lifting operations


  1. Know when and how to conduct pre-lift meetings
  2. Know how to read, interpret, and communicate lift plans
  3. Know how to recognize and address deviations from the lift plan prior to or during a lift, including items such as:
    1. Site / environmental (tail swing, clearance to structures)
    2. Crane configuration/location
    3. Personnel
    4. Load
    5. Rigging
  4. Know how to plan for contingencies (i.e., emergency lay down, shutdown, securing, personnel rescue)


  1. Understand inspection standards and regulations
  2. Understand non-inspection standards and regulations
  3. Know the proper application of rigging
  4. Know how to select the proper rigging equipment


  1. Know standard method signals for:
    1. Hand signals
    2. Voice signals
    3. New signals
  2. Understand crane dynamic principles and limitations
  3. Know signaling regulations and requirements
  4. Know how to determine safe load paths and movements

For operator and rigger exam outlines, refer to the appropriate candidate handbooks.