5 Tips for Managing and Maintaining Your Construction Site and Equipment
Managing your construction site and equipment is no easy feat, especially if you’re responsible for multiple building projects across the country.
Not having a strategy in place could lead to unnecessary downtime of critical equipment, project delays, disgruntled customers, and may even compromise the safety of workers across your construction sites.
In this guide, we’ll cover these 5 valuable factors for optimising your equipment and keeping your construction sites running smoothly:
Continuously Monitor the Health of Your Construction Equipment
Getting maximum life out of your construction assets will help to ensure business profitability in the long term. To do that, you need your equipment to be in the best working order.
Planning preventative maintenance and routine inspections will help you achieve this. It keeps equipment and tools performing well while also reducing the risk of repairs and unplanned downtime.
An asset maintenance strategy could include:
- Changing lubricating oils when needed
- Regularly cleaning machinery to remove ingrained dirt and dust
- Checking for manufacturing errors on machinery, like poor casting or holes out of position
- Detecting changes to the condition of equipment through vibration monitoring and oil debris analysis
- Replacing worn-out components before they break
- Checking the remaining service life of each asset
Adopt an Easy Communication Process for Site Workers
The lines of communication should be as open and straightforward as possible for all your workers. Ideally, you want to achieve two important outcomes from good communication across sites:
- You want workers to feel comfortable enough to approach you if there’s an issue
- You want to provide a simple and accurate way to exchange data relating to the performance of equipment
The first point is easy enough to tackle; make yourself identifiable as the project manager and take the time to talk to workers. By getting to know them and establishing trust, you can learn about potential issues regarding equipment before a disaster occurs.
The second point is a bit more tricky to implement. For equipment problems to be logged and tracked, you need to find a system that both workers and senior management can use. The system should allow for essential information to go back and forth, so problems can be dealt with as they arise. This helps to avoid unnecessary delays, cuts down on overtime, and ultimately saves money.
Use Equipment Downtime to Your Advantage
With all the best intentions, unplanned downtime can occur when you least expect it. For example, it can happen due to irregularities such as building regulations and weather-related delays. In fact, in the UK alone, 20% of the overall build budget is lost due to weather complications.
So, when this downtime does occur, be prepared to make the most of it. You can:
- Make sure you have the necessary construction equipment and tools in place for when work resumes
- Undertake maintenance and inspection orders
- Ensure all construction vehicles are in good working condition
- Get on top of paperwork and supplier management to minimise further disruption
Provide Robust Equipment Training
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 80% of construction workplaces report that machines and tools represent the top physical safety risk to workers. Any accidents or incidents can also cause damage to expensive construction equipment.
However, well-trained equipment operators can significantly reduce this risk. These skilled workers can understand how to use equipment properly, within limitations, and also potentially recognise any hazards or problems before they cause significant issues.
Ideally, significant training should include equipment demonstrations, reviews and constant testing.
In some cases, certification may be needed to prove operator knowledge and skill. If so, both short and lengthy plant operation courses can be undertaken at the National Construction College.
Regular refresher training is also a good idea to ensure your workers keep up with changing trends in procedures and practices.
Deploy a Construction Asset Management Software Tool
The above recommendations can all be managed through the implementation of an asset management software solution. There are many benefits to conducting processes and managing construction equipment with an asset management tool, such as:
- Logging all equipment data and work orders into one centralised system
- Creating a register of all assets across each construction site and log details such as purchase price, depreciation value and lease information
- Building a preventative maintenance schedule for each essential asset
- Allowing multiple users to log in to the system to exchange information and contribute to a service log
Asset tracking is also an integral feature of asset management software. It enables you to tag and track equipment in real-time, allowing you to quickly locate items and arrange for them to be transferred from one site to another. Real-time tracking is possible with a Real-time Location System that links with a barcode, QR code or via GPS tracker. The latter being highly recommended for valuable machinery, which is often a target for thieves.
Effective asset management tools can also be linked with financial and HR functions. This allows purchase orders, invoicing information and contractor details to also be accessed through one central system. You can even store CPD (Continuing Professional Development) records and easily identify which workers are due for onboarding or refresher training.
Summary: Factors to Consider When Managing and Maintaining Your Site Equipment
On a construction site, things seldom go to plan one hundred per cent of the time. However, a strategy that places the health of construction assets at its core can help you to ensure that faults with equipment are kept at low risk. So, it’s worth considering the following:
- Putting a preventative maintenance programme in place to tackle problems with equipment before failures occur
- Setting up an effective communication plan that enables workers and management to communicate accurately and securely
- Making the most of unplanned downtime so that further operational disruption can be avoided
- Training workers to ensure knowledge and skills are kept up to date and health and safety processes are adhered to
Finally, you should also consider implementing some form of asset management software to pull this strategy together and to ensure all essential asset-related data is kept safely in a single place.