Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Tower Crane Permit

Service overview

You need a Tower Crane Permit if your construction project requires the use of a tower crane.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues this permit.

Who

Property owners or their authorized agents can apply for this permit. Authorized agents may include:

  • Design professional
  • Attorney
  • Contractor
  • Licensed expediter

Requirements

Permit application

Apply for this permit using a Building Permit application. The permit application must include the complete scope of work and current owner information.

Along with your application, include:

  • The age of the tower crane that will be used on the project.
  • Whether the tower crane manufacturer is currently in business.
  • Whether the original equipment manufacturer’s parts are available for repairs.

Contractor

A licensed contractor must perform all work. The contractor must:

  • Have an active license.
  • Be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
  • Have current insurance on file with L&I.

Insurance

Certificate of Insurance with a minimum of $15,000,000 in general comprehensive liability insurance naming the City of Philadelphia as an additional insured and certificate holder.

Operator requirements

Only individuals who are certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), or another National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) or American National Standards Institute (ANSI) app program, can:

  • Erect, climb (jump), lower, or dismantle a tower crane.
  • Provide hand signals or verbal communication to a tower crane operator.
  • Perform rigging duties associated with the operation of a tower crane.

Inspections

A tower crane inspector certified by the NCCCO or another organization accredited by the NCCA must perform inspections:

  • Of all rigging equipment when it arrives at the installation site and prior to the commencement of the operation.
  • Following the erection, climbing (jumping), or lowering of the tower crane.
  • When it has been 180 days since the previous inspection of the tower crane.

Inspection documentation must be submitted to the department’s inspector within 10 days.

Plans

  • You must include plans or drawings detailing how the tower crane will be supported and attached to the building.
    • This documentation must be reviewed and sealed by a professional engineer registered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with expertise in structural design.
  • If your application requires plans, they must follow plan requirements.

Forms and other documents

Required preapprovals

For encroachments on the right-of-way

More +

Where and when

In person

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Office closes at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.

Online

You can apply online using eCLIPSE.

Cost

Fee types that may apply

Filing fee

  • $100

This fee is nonrefundable and must be submitted with your application. The fee will be credited toward the final permit fee.

Permit fee

  • Tower Crane: $258

Surcharge fees

  • City surcharge: $3 per permit
  • State surcharge: $4.50 per permit

Record retention fee

  • Per page larger than 8.5 in. by 14 in.: $4

Accelerated Plan Review fee (optional)

Applications for tower cranes that include plans are eligible for expedited review. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5 business days.

  • Fee: $2,000
    • $350 is due when you apply. You must pay the remainder once approved.

To apply, fill out an Accelerated Plan Review application and submit with your permit application. Accelerated review fees will not be credited toward your final permit fee.

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application

(There is a $200,000 limit for online payments.)

  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Cashier’s Station in the Municipal Services Building

(Items paid at the Cashier’s Station will be mailed within five business days.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2% surcharge)
  • Cash

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • Make all checks and money orders payable to the “City of Philadelphia.”
  • The individual or company listed on the check must be listed on the application.
  • Personal checks are accepted.
  • Checks and money orders must have issue dates within 12 months of the transaction.
Reasons your check may be rejected

L&I will not accept checks that are missing depository information or are:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Post-dated.
  • Starter checks without account info

Returned payment policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:

  1. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect a fee of $20.
  2. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.

How

You can apply for this permit in person at the Permit and License Center or online using eCLIPSE.

In person

1
Obtain any required pre-approvals before submitting your application to L&I.
2
Bring your completed application, application materials, and payment to the Permit and License Center.
  • Applications are reviewed within 20 business days.
  • The applicant can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5 business days.
3
If approved, the applicant will receive notice to pay the balance.

L&I will either issue your permit or request more information.

Before a permit can be issued, the contractor must be identified.

4
Once approved, schedule your inspections.

Contact your local inspection office when the contractor is ready to start work. The contact information and required inspections will be noted on your permit.

A Certificate of Approval will be issued upon successful completion of all required inspections.

Online

1
Log in to your eCLIPSE account and apply for a permit. Upload all required documents and pay the filing fee.

If applying as a licensed professional or contractor, you must first associate your license or registration with your online account.

2
The application will go to L&I and other City departments for review and approval.
  • Before a permit can be issued, the contractor must be identified and confirm association with the project.
  • Applications with plans are reviewed within 20 business days.
    • The applicant can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5 business days.
3
If approved, the applicant will receive notice to pay the balance.

If not approved, the applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required.

4
Once you are approved, schedule an inspection.

When the contractor is ready to start work, request an inspection through eCLIPSE or by calling (215) 255-4040.

Approval documents will be issued upon successful completion of all required inspections.


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