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Everything you need to know about the Construction Plant-hire Association


Construction Plant

Construction is one of the UK’s biggest employment sectors, with over 2 million workers, and a turnover of £100 billion - nearly 10% of GDP. But, there would be no construction industry without the excavators, dumpers, cranes, hoists and all the other machinery that is such an integral part of a construction site. Nearly all of this equipment is hired in from specialist companies who provide the right equipment, at the right time. The plant-hire industry is worth £3.5 billion to the UK economy.


Construction Plant-hire Association

The UK plant hire industry is the best established and most professional in the world, and the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) is the leading trade association in the UK. Established for 75 years, the Association has approximately 1,600 members throughout the United Kingdom. Members range from owner-operators with a single machine, right through to the largest companies in the industry, with hire fleets of thousands of machines. Together, CPA Members supply over 85% of hired plant to the construction industry.


CPA is a trade association, run by its Members, for the benefit of the industry. CPA has its own premises in the City of London, with a permanent staff of experienced employees. The Association is governed by a Council of Members, who are elected from within the membership and are representative of plant-hire companies of all types and sizes throughout the country.


What CPA does for Members

CPA is committed to providing Members with first class support services to help them run their business.


The CPA Model Conditions are widely regarded for plant hire agreements - fair to both hire company and customer, they clarify what each party’s responsibilities are.


CPA Best Practice Guides cover the essential health, safety and legal requirements for operating plant, and  have had endorsement from the HSE and industry. There are over 30 Best Practice Guides and approximately 60 Technical Information Notes, which are available free of charge, covering the safe use and maintenance of plant including mobile cranes, tower cranes, construction hoists and shoring technology.


Members also have access to comprehensive advice on business problems through CPA, as well as links to insurance, financial and other support services. All Members are kept up to date with email alerts, through the CPA website, and through the quarterly CPA Bulletin.


Working in the Industry

To help provide focus points within its diverse membership, CPA has formed Special Interest Groups to tackle issues within specialist sectors, for example, mobile cranes, or construction hoists. The latest group to be formed is the Suction and Vacuum Excavator Interest Group (SAVE). As well as networking and information-sharing, these groups frame the standards and practices relevant to that sector. The groups are also very successful contact points for external organisations - for example government regulators - who need access to a concentrated pool of industry expertise.


Special Interest Groups have been instrumental in providing CPA’s contribution to British and European Standards work, and have provided the core expertise behind published standards including:

  • BS7121 - Safe Use of Cranes series
  • BS7212 - Safe Use of Construction Hoists
  • BS EN 13000 – Mobile Cranes
  • BS EN 14439 – Tower Cranes
  • BS EN 280 – Mobile Elevating Work Platforms
  • BS EN 12158 – Construction Hoists


The Rail Plant Association is part of CPA, focusing on the special needs of companies hiring equipment for railway maintenance.


Government and Regulators

CPA has an important role to perform as a link between Government bodies and the plant-hire industry. It has worked closely with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on a range of issues, and HSE specialists are an integral part of the work of CPA’s Special Interest Groups.


Since 2009, CPA has led the Strategic Forum for Construction Plant Safety Group, drawing together expertise from all parts of the supply chain in construction. Publications and projects for this group include

  • Tower crane safety
  • Use of quick-hitches on excavators
  • Overhead crushing in MEWPs
  • Safe use of Telehandlers
  • Fitness for task
  • Competence of plant operators


Training and competence of operators is a crucial element in safe use of plant, and CPA works closely with CITB, the Construction Industry Training Board. CPA has been instrumental in the development of training schemes and competence testing through the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS), for example Crane / Lifting Operations Supervisor.


Working in Construction

CPA maintains close links with other bodies in the construction industry, and more widely with utilities and public services organisations. Issues and solutions are shared through trade bodies and employees’ organisations in construction.



Your CPA Contacts



Kevin Minton - Chief Executive.


David Smith - Legal Manager.


Adam Godwin Rail Plant Association, CPA Bulletin.


Peter Brown - Technical & Development inc. Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group- 


Rob Squires - Training & Safety, Special Interest Groups. 


Chris Cassley - Policy Manager. 


Colin Wood - Special Advisor.









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