The following is a review of the current status and future plans of the research concerning tower crane operations, carried out by the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). Firstly, an empirical time-motion study of crane operations on building sites is described. The results can be used for creating a crane selection guideline in a textual or knowledge based form and in crane automation ideas evaluation. Secondly, the current crane automation research results carried out by VTT are summarized and possible applications to a tower crane are characterized. Thirdly, some of the future activities in crane automation research in VTT are discussed. In those studies an integrated approach to crane automation problems will be applied, where development of the sites overall order, systematic construction management methods, knowledge or simulation based crane selection methods, adaptation of building components and crane selection methods, adaptation of building components and crane automation will be gradually combined on the way to the long term goal: a highly automated building frame erection system.