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


Lift Director

Written Exam - Specialty Exams Outline

The lift scenario questions found on the Lift Director Specialty Exams are designed to evaluate a candidate’s ability to comprehend the presented information and apply knowledge of lift planning and directing in circumstances that may be found in real life situations. During the exam administration, candidates will be provided a supplementary booklet that includes simulated lift plans intended to replicate real work conditions. These documents will be used to answer a series of scenario-based questions relating to the information on the plans.

As in actual work conditions, lift plans are made and approved using the best information available to those drafting those plans. However, actual site conditions are constantly changing, or mistakes may have been made during the initial design process and upon arrival at a site, a lift director often must make adjustments based on actual site conditions. Many of the lift scenario questions contained within the exam are specifically designed to test a candidate’s ability to understand and adjust to these changing circumstances.

The Lift Director Specialty Exams contain questions related to standard load chart usage, as well as questions using single-crane and multiple-crane lift plans. Many of the questions require the use of one or more load charts, and it is recommended that candidates become familiar with the charts prior to taking the examinations.

The Lift Director—Mobile Cranes Specialty Exam uses the following load charts:

  • Grove (Rough Terrain) TLL

  • Manitowoc LBC

The Lift Director—Tower Cranes Specialty Exam uses the following load charts:

  • Tower Crane (Hammerhead) Chart D

  • Tower Crane (Luffing Boom) Chart F

The content domains in the outline for the Specialty Exams represent the knowledge areas that are generally relevant to load chart usage or lift planning. However, no specific percentage breakdown for the individual content domains has been generated, since multiple knowledge areas may be addressed in a single question.

Each Specialty Exam includes 15 multiple-choice questions broken down into three sections, each having five different scenarios:

  1. Load Chart Interpretations and Calculations (5 questions)
  2. Single-Crane Lift Plan (5 questions)
  3. Multi-Crane Lift Plan (5 questions)


  1. Know how to read and interpret load charts for mobile and tower cranes, including how to:
    1. Determine net capacity with a given configuration (including limiting factors)
    2. Determine maximum/minimum radius using a known load weight
    3. Determine crane configuration to optimize lifting capacity
    4. Calculate and apply percentage of rated capacity used


  1. Apply knowledge of requirements for single crane and multi-crane lifts, including:
    1. Critical lifts
    2. Pick and carry operations
    3. Duty cycle operations
    4. On rubber lifts
    5. Personnel lifting
  2. Apply knowledge of site factors which may affect lift plans and operations, including:
    1. Obstructions and clearances
    2. Ground conditions
    3. Environment/weather
    4. Power lines
    5. Site controls (e.g. pedestrians, vehicle traffic)
  3. Apply knowledge of crane factors which may affect lift plans and operations, including:
    1. Crane set-up (e.g. placement, outrigger spread, blocking/cribbing)
    2. Crane configuration
  4. Apply knowledge of personnel requirements which may affect lift plans and operations, including:
    1. Qualifications and responsibilities
    2. Communications
    3. Traffic controls
    4. Placement of personnel
  5. Apply knowledge of factors which may affect lift plans and operations, including:
    1. Load weight
    2. Unusually shaped loads
    3. Use of taglines
    4. Load paths and movements
    5. Load elevation and placement
  6. Know how to recognize and address deviations from the lift plan prior to or during the lift.
  7. Know how to plan for contingencies (e.g., emergency lay down, shutdown, securing, personnel rescue)