Is an RBQ licence required to install an overhead crane in Quebec?
If you’re part of the industrial sector and there’s a crane project in the air, that’s a legitimate question. Whether on a construction site, in an existing building, or even outside, is an RBQ (Régie du bâtiment du Québec) licence required for such an installation? Since these are laws enacted by the Government of Quebec, it is normal to wonder and hesitate in this area. Let us demystify the subject of the crane within this legislation.
The Overhead Crane: A Production Machine
First, the central element of this question is related to the nature of the overhead crane. The latter is considered to be production machinery within the meaning of the Regulation respecting the application of the Act respecting labour relations, vocational training and workforce management in the construction industry (R-20, r.1). The same Regulation makes it clear that when these types of installations “are carried out by regular employees of the machinery manufacturer”, these works “are not included in the word “construction”. In other words, since the crane is classified as production machinery, its installation is not subject to the law of the construction sector.
So, in general, the simple answer to the question “Is an RBQ licence required to install an overhead crane in Quebec?” would be NO. That said, some lifting equipment installations still must be carried out under the decree of this Act. Let us see why.
Image 1 – Construction without a building permit
Modifying the Building
When installing lifting equipment, some accessories related to the production machine must be attached to the building. These components are an integral part of the crane, or machine, and are therefore not subject to the laws of construction. However, if these elements are anchored to the structure in such a way as to cause a modification of the building, for example using a weld, then this installation will fall into the category of construction work. Here are two classic examples: conductor bars and rails. The brackets that support the power bars must be attached to something. If these brackets are welded to the building, an RBQ licence will be required. The same goes for the rails: they can be fixed to the structure with J-shaped bolts, a type of fastener that does not alter the building. But if the equipment supplier opts for welded fastener rails, a licence will also be required.
Image 2 – Excavation and concrete foundation works under construction permit
Similarly, labour must be done under construction legislation when it comes to reinforcing a foundation to accommodate the bearing structure of an overhead crane, or even when digging the ground for an outdoor installation. Even with a semi-self-supporting structure, the anchoring to the wall will involve welding in most cases. This intervention changes the structure of the building, not to mention the fact that a large load has been added to the building.
In summary, when it comes to structural reinforcement or welding on any part of the building, the RBQ licence is required.
As we have just said, any modification to the building immediately places the work under the legislation of the construction law. And in such circumstances, the service provider is required to hold an RBQ licence. But that’s not all! If the RBQ licence concerns the company itself, what about its workers? They must also provide competency certificates related to their type of profession, be it a steel fitter, industrial mechanic, etc. When work is done under the auspices of the RBQ, it is not enough to verify that the company carrying out the mandate holds a licence. We must also ensure that the workers themselves have the certificates issued by the Commission de la Construction du Québec (CCQ).
An obstacle to a turnkey project?
Under that kind of legislative particularity, part of the crane installation work can be challenging. Why? Because the supplier must meet the requirements of the construction industry, both at the level of the company and its workers. If they cannot comply, the client will be forced to turn to an additional provider, causing complications to the whole project.
So, feel free to contact us for that kind of constraint. Premium, in collaboration with its partners, has developed expertise in this field, allowing it to offer a turnkey service. Structures Industrielles Premium, a sister company of the Premium Industrial Group, specializes in the installation of structures and has the licence and all necessary worker certificates. A strong partnership that allows you to have peace of mind in your project, knowing that the laws in force will be respected.