Construction Plant Overview
This massive area of the construction industry divides predominantly into construction plant sales and plant hire. General plant hire companies carry a range of heavy plant along with smaller items, which are classified as tool hire. Specialist items of plant hire also exist such as crane hire companies and access lift companies. (see also Plant and Tool Hire in our top menu bar) ...more
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Construction Plant Explained
A massive array of construction plant and machinery is available to either hire or purchase. Options are available to suit budget constraints and can be tailored to suit specific project requirements. Construction plant hire companies, also referred to as plant hire specialists, will be able to supply plant for all purposes with various size and power specifications. Smaller plant and machinery may fall under the tool hire category. Tools are generally considered to be hand held but in this context items such as small air compressors, small cement mixers and pump tucks are likely to available from tool hire companies.
Main stream construction plant hire companies are generally able to supply a range of essential construction plant from excavators to cement mixers. Some plant hire companies may chose to specialise in groundwork equipment, road maintenance equipment or even landscaping equipment.
Construction plant specialists are likely to provide varying hire contract lengths from days to weeks and even months for large projects. Hire costs generally decrease with the length of the hire period. Day hire rates are likely to be the most expensive particularly where heavy plant such as tracked excavators or the like is hired. Heavy plant on site establishment costs are high as it will require transport to site by low loader, hence with more days on site transport costs can be spread out. Usually plant and machinery will be supplied without an operator, however if qualified operators are not available heavy plant hire contractors will usually supply both plant and operator. Hiring a construction plant contractor may well cut costs and save time in the long run.
Construction plant sales companies will sell construction related plant and machinery with some specialising in particular product areas. Many plant hire companies will offer exhire plant and machinery for sale to the general public. Exhire plant or used equipment is likely to be well used and at least three years old. Prices can be competitive but price usually reflects condition. For long projects that may require intermittent usage of specialist plant exhire equipment many represent a cost effective solution. Machinery and plant spares can generally be obtained from plant and machinery dealers.
General plant hire companies are likely to provide excavator and digger hire. Excavators on offer will typically ft in to two main categories, tracked and wheeled excavators. Tracked excavators, also referred to as 360 excavators, represent the more powerful end of the market with their tonnage giving a general indication of their size and power. Tracked excavators are useful on sites with wet or soft ground as their tracks spread their weight over the ground making them less prone to becoming stuck. Where road surfaces are present smaller tracked excavators can be supplied with rubber tracks to prevent road surface damage. The mini excavator is one of the most popular hire choices for landscaping and home DIY projects due to its ability to fit through standard doorways and rubber tracks. Wheeled excavators are available in 360 excavator format and are particularly useful for road work sites where damage to the road surface must be limited and faster tracking speeds are necessary. Another form of wheeled digger is the versatile backhoe excavator which is usually mounted on a tractor unit with an accompanying hydraulic front loader. Wheeled diggers are commonly referred to as 'JCB' backhoe excavators. They are versatile and are a popular choice for residential building sites, especially for foundation excavation.
Where handling of bulk materials is necessary a loading shovel or wheeled loader can provide the ideal solution. Wheeled loaders, sometimes referred to as front end loaders, are available to hire or buy in a variety of different sizes capable of shifting various quantities with each bucket load. Earthmoving often requires the transport and movement of vast amounts of soil and rock. Bulldozers are used to strip large amounts of soil from the construction site and to clear the site to form a level development surface. Dozers can be supplied or purchased in a number of different sizes and can be used to pull items like compaction rollers. To transport large quantities of excavated material specialist earthmoving trucks can be used. Earthmoving trucks, sometimes known as heavy duty dump trucks or articulated dump trucks, are a common site on road construction projects. They can hold tonnes of material in one load and have a hydraulic tipping mechanism to enable the instant placement of excavated materials. Where smaller earth movements are undertaken, for example on a residential building sites, dumpers or dump trucks could be used. Dumpers generally range from one tonne to ten tonne machines and are available in four wheel drive format. Where ground conditions are soft and wet tracked dumpers may provide an invaluable solution to enable construction work to continue. Also available in a variety of sizes they can be equipped with rear mounted attachments such as stump grinders and augers.
Other materials handling equipment such as telehandlers, also known as telescopic handlers, may prove to be an essential requirement for construction sites to move heavy and bulky items, such as bricks. They have the ability to lift materials at multiple heights and reach materials from a distance. Where terrain is particularly rough a more conventional rough terrain forklift could be considered. To move awkward and heavy items cranes may prove to be the only answer. Usually supplied with an accompanying operator and with crawler cranes also available for large civil engineering projects where rough ground is present. Where level ground is present in industrial situations conventional forklifts are readily available on a purchase or hire basis. Other more specialist groundwork equipment in the form of stone crushers and compaction equipment, such as vibrating plates and road rollers is also widely available.
The larger the construction site the more construction plant can be utilised effectively. Specialist items like concrete pumps and screed pumps are items that will enable cost savings where large material volumes are involved. Plaster mixers are also likely to provide similar cost savings if used on the right project.
Road finishing equipment is also a large subcategory of construction plant with companies commonly specialising in plant hire or purchase. Plant may be needed to paint road lines, finish surfaces or compact sub base materials. Floor saws can be used to cut road surfaces prior to road works. Line marking equipment is available in lorry mounted form, trailer mounted format or as standalone walk behind units to suit a variety of needs. Trenching machines could also be considered for service trench excavation.
Scaffold systems are a major product and commonly hired item. Scaffolds are usually hired as they are only needed for one off usages such as restoration or new build projects. Available in many formats to suit different building types scaffold systems can generally be customised to suit any buildings. Smaller scaffold towers enable safe working at height in many different environments.
All construction projects with a duration of over a day are likely to need site storage provisions. Lockable steel containers are a popular choice for storage of tools and small plant as they are secure and vandal resistant. Containers are available from a number of hire companies which may also offer other site provisions such as welfare facilities and site offices. Most companies will also give the option to buy with a few providing a bespoke container fabrication service.