- Is a licence mandatory for construction machinery?
No, a licence is not mandatory for construction machinery. However, contractors are legally obliged to instruct their machinery operators in theory and practice. In the event of damage, the contractor must provide proof that it adequately instructed the assigned machinery operator. The ZUMBau is a very good basis for this.
- For which machinery categories are there licences?
Our website, www.zumbau.org, provides an overview of all machinery categories developed by ZUMBau for which examinations (theory and practice) can be taken.
- How much does a ZUMBau examination cost?
The examination centres have different pricing rates. Only the minimum cost of the examination is stipulated by ZUMBau. Price quotations, schedules and prices can be requested from the examination centres.
- Are there financial subsidies for the courses and examinations?
Yes, the Trade Association of the Construction Industry (BG BAU) has launched a programme of financial subsidies for courses offered by examination centres that are based on ZUMBau guidelines.
- Is a certificate of competence issued on passing an examination?
Yes. On passing the examination, each examinee receives a certificate of competence from the accredited examination centre to pass on to their company, and a check-card which he or she carries on construction sites to present to inspectors (from the regulatory body or trade association) on request. In this way, the contractor documents the thorough, comprehensive instruction of personnel whom it assigns to independently operate construction machinery.
- How can you prepare for the examinations?
Depending on prior knowledge and experience, we recommend a training course for beginners or advanced construction machinery operators at an examination centre approved by ZUMBau.
The examination centres are listed on our website, www.zumbau.org, by machinery category.
- Does ZUMBau offer training courses or advanced training?
Training courses – such as for apprentices, beginners, experienced construction machinery operators, or individually tailored to companies’ needs – fall under the responsibility of examination centres approved by ZUMBau.
Examination centres can be found here under Examination locations.
- What are the preconditions for taking an examination?
Any person who is older than 18, is physically and mentally capable, and who can speak German, may take the examination.
Physical capability can be confirmed by self-certification or by an occupational health examination according to the relevant trade association principles.
It is necessary to speak German in order to pass the theoretical examination and follow the instructor’s direction during the practical tests.
The examination board decides on eligibility
- Are preparatory courses a precondition for taking an examination?
While there is no requirement to undergo a training course before being allowed to take the examination, we expressly recommend that machinery operators participate in courses for their particular category of machinery in preparation for the ZUMBau examination.
The duration and content of the course may vary significantly depending on the examinee’s previous training. Details can be discussed beforehand with the examination centre.
- If you do not pass an examination, is it possible to repeat it?
If you do not pass an examination, in whole or in part, you may repeat it twice upon application to the examination board.
Parts of the examination that have been passed are recognised if no more than two years have gone by since the exam.
If an examinee does not pass an examination, they receive notification explaining which part of the examination fell below the pass mark.
- How early must an examination date be scheduled with ZUMBau?
Examination dates must be registered at the latest two weeks in advance via
- Are there ZUMBau examinations for truck loading cranes and bottom-slewing cranes?
There has been a ZUMBau operator’s licence for truck loading cranes since 2019, and for bottom-slewing cranes since 2020.
You can find the examination centres on our website www.zumbau.org
- If I lose my operator’s licence, where do I get it replaced?
The examination centre where you took the examination can provide a replacement document on presentation of proof (subject to a fee).
- Is it permissible to transfer a machinery licence acquired in the GDR to a ZUMBau ID?
No, to qualify for the ZUMBau licence it is necessary to take an examination based on the ZUMBau standard. If you already have many years of experience, it makes sense to undertake a short refresher course. The duration and content of the course may vary significantly depending on the examinee’s previous training. Details can be discussed beforehand with the examination centre. In this regard please contact any ZUMBau-approved examination centre of your choice.
- Will my ZUMBau operator’s licence be recognised by the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (SUVA) in Switzerland?
The SUVA (Switzerland) and ZUMBau mutually recognise licences in the “tower crane” machinery category.
If a SUVA licence with attested validity is presented to an approved examination centre, the centre can issue a ZUMBau operator’s licence (check-card). Tower crane operator training is mutually recognised by the SUVA and ZUMBau.
When transferring the licence, the examination centre making the transfer issues a registration number (e.g. LWBG_01TK_20170321_00.0111).
The SUVA examination date is shown in red. “SUVA transfer” is then noted in the “Comments” section in the federal central register.
The applicant will be charged an administration fee of 150 euros by the accredited examination centre. Of that total, 100 euros covers the work of the examination centre (coordinating with the SUVA, producing/issuing the check-card, etc.), and 50 euros is sent to ZUMBau to cover entry in the federal central register. The prices do not include VAT.
- Who is ZUMBau GbR supported by?
An admissions board for examination centres in the German construction industry has been established in order to fulfil the relevant tasks. The German Construction Confederation (ZDB) and the Federation of the German Construction Industry (HDB) are the supporting organisations in setting requirements for the examination of machinery operators in the German construction industry.
The German Demolition Association (DA) is a further supporting organisation in setting requirements for examining demolition excavator and long-front excavator operators.
Detailed information is contained in the statutes of the admissions board.
- Who is responsible for accrediting an examination centre?
ZUMBau GbR approves the examination centres.
The German Demolition Association (DA) is additionally responsible for accreditations in the demolition excavator and long-front excavator machinery categories.
ZUMBau keeps a list of accredited examination centres for the respective machinery types.
Regular audits by auditors assigned by ZUMBau assure the quality of the ZUMBau examination centres.
- How is an examination centre certified?
ZUMBau GbR has developed requirement catalogues for examination centres in the various machinery categories. An initial audit and regular follow-up audits by external auditors assigned by ZUMBau enable accreditation, and assure the quality of the ZUMBau examination centres.
The certification process is subject to a fee, and requires a positive audit outcome. It is only available to companies not involved in building construction. For reasons of quality assurance, a company is not permitted to examine its own employees.
Certification is valid for two years. Within this time, at least one audit usually takes place to further document the quality of the examination centre. If no objection is submitted within one month of expiry of the certificate, it is then extended for a fee.
- Who is on the ZUMBau examination board?
The examination is supervised by an examination board. The examination board consists of at least three full expert members: the chair, the first assessor, and the second assessor. A deputy is nominated for each member.
The chair and their deputy are nominated by the accredited examination centre.
The first assessor and their deputy are appointed by the regional association of the ZDB or HDB that is responsible for the accredited examination centre, as well as by a further supporting organisation named in the inter-organisational agreement for a specific construction machinery category where appropriate.
The second assessor and their deputy are appointed by the Trade Association of the Construction Industry.
The examination board passes resolutions by a majority of votes cast. A record of the examination is drawn up, which must be signed by the examiners.