Today, contractors and other construction professionals undertake many types of construction activities that required different groupings, types and sizes of equipment for earth excavation, moving and lifting. There is a piece of equipment dedicated to practically any construction work or activity both large and small scale, with many performing multiple functions. The use of appropriate equipment contributes to quality, economy, safety, speed and timely completion of the construction project. As the size and complexity of construction projects continues to grow, so does the need and dependency of specialized construction equipment.
It is the work of the project team to match the right type of equipment or combination of equipment to suit the work at hand. How effectively this is done has a lot of influence on the success of any building project. There are different classifications of construction equipment. These include excavators, loaders, elevated platform, concrete preparation and handling machinery, safety equipment among others. Below is a list of the ten equipment categories that every construction site must have, and a description of the uses of the most essential/versatile piece of equipment in each category.
1. Earth moving equipment
When dealing with site work construction, there will always be the need to excavate soil, and transfer gravel, sand and tons of waste to and from the site. This is why loader equipment must be part of your arsenal of construction site machinery.
Bulldozers – A bulldozer is a tractor unit equipped with a blade at the front. The tractor uses the blade to push, cut, shear and roll material in front of it. Bulldozers come in a variety of sizes with different operating ranges and capabilities. Apart from surface excavation, bulldozers are fairly versatile and can be used for a range of application including grading, leveling and demolitions.
Other earth moving equipment can be used alongside or instead of the bulldozer include:
* Front-end loaders
* Motor graders
2. Excavation and loading equipment
Back hoe loaders –
Back hoe loaders are typically tractor powered and operate on tires. They are typically very powerful, articulated and maneuverable. They come in many sizes and are ideal for light excavation, moving material, trenching, loading and light demolition. They double up as a loader and a hoe and can accommodate a range of accessories and attachments for different operations on the construction site. What makes back hoe loaders so essential to construction sites is the range of attachments that they combine with, making them extremely versatile.
Other excavation equipment include:
* Front shovels
3. Concrete mixing equipment
Concrete is the most popular construction material due to its versatility, ease of use and unique structural benefits it offers. It therefore goes without saying that no construction site is complete without the requisite equipment for mixing, transport and delivery of concrete.
4.Portable concrete mixers
A concrete mixer is a device that combines aggregates such as sand and or gravel, cement and water to form concrete. Typically concrete mixers consist of a revolving drum equipped with blades that mixes components. Depending on the scale of the project, small, portable concrete mixers are used so that the concrete is prepared on the construction site. This ensures that the works have ample time to transport and use it before it hardens.
For large scale projects such as road works and high-rise building, concrete mixers are typically located offsite, with the concrete being transported to the construction site in special trucks equipped with rotating drums to maintain the concrete’s quality during transport.
5. Transport equipment
Trucks play an extremely important role in material and earth moving operations. Like the rest of construction equipment types, trucks are available in a wide range of sizes and designs, depending on the hauling conditions needed. Obviously, larger trucks are needed for large projects where larger loads of soil and material have to be moved. For small projects, small 4 X 4 pickup trucks may suffice. Depending on design of type of load, truck can dump from the rear using a hydraulic system or from the sides.
6. Lifting equipment
Lifting equipment are used to move people (personnel lifts) and hoist material to elevated platforms on a construction site.
A crane is a machine generally equipped with a hoist, sheaves chains or wire ropes that can be used to lift and lower materials as well as move them horizontally. Small, simple cranes can do the job fine for small projects, but they are other types of cranes with complex combinations of booms and jibes for use in large scale operations. Other lifting equipment include:
* Forklifts – used in lifting and unloading materials from transport trucks
*conveyors – moving materials and people horizontally
* Hoist – elevators used to move personnel up and down.
7. Aerial work platforms
An elevated platform is a mechanical contraption that provides temporary access to people, equipment and materials to otherwise inaccessible areas, usually above the ground. Elevated platforms are also known as lift platforms, lift tables or cherry pickers. They typically offer temporary access during specific phases of construction and maintenance work.
8. Reinforcement material
Also known as reinforcement steel, rebars are made of steel and commonly used to increase the tensile strength of concrete and walls in reinforced masonry and reinforced concrete structures. rebars are typically made from carbon steel, and can be smooth of given ridges and twisted for better mechanical bonding with concrete.
9. Drilling equipment
Drilling holes in masonry, stone, concrete wall forms and concrete floors is a common operation on construction sites.
Hammer drill and rotary hammers
A hammer drill is a rotary drill that operates using a hammering action. The drill provides short hammer thrusts in rapid succession to pulverize brittle rocks and other materials thereby providing quicker drilling with minimum effort.
Higher powered drills are known as rotary hammers and modern units allow the rotation and hammer action to be used in combination or separately.
10. Safety equipment
Safety is an important consideration in construction and every site must have a collection of life saving gear these include hard hats, safety harnesses, safety jackets, gloves/gauntlets, eye protection goggles, ear protection equipment, high visibility clothing, and fire extinguishers.
There has been a tremendous improvement in health and safety in construction sites over the past few years thanks to the increased use of this life saving equipment.