Equipment is a set of tools or machinery needed to get a task done.
But in building construction, construction equipment is referred to as a collection of tools coupled together for carrying out specific or multiple tasks on a construction site.
These pieces of equipment are usually heavy-duty. This means that they are powered by an engine that can perform heavy tasks.
It's common to see construction equipment on construction sites. But differentiating them and identifying their specific functions requires some background knowledge. For easy understanding, these equipment are grouped into 4 according to their functions.
Trailers are used for transporting heavy goods and construction materials. They are long vehicles that consist of two parts: an unpowered vehicle that carries the load and a powered vehicle that propels the trailer.
Construction materials like cement, heavy logs of wood, long iron rods, and slabs are transported using trailers.
Other pieces of construction equipment that cannot be driven over long distances to construction sites are also transported using trailers. They include loaders, mixers, and trenchers.
These are also called dump trucks. They have an open-top vessel used for carrying construction materials like sand, stones, and other heavy materials used for construction.
Tippers are one of the most essential pieces of construction equipment you can find on a site. They’re the medium of transporting basic construction materials.
These are similar to tippers. But while tippers have their cabs fitted at the front of the load skit, dumpers have their load skit in front of the driver.
Dumpers have lifting skips that make it possible to offload their content above the ground level. They also have swivel skips that allow them to tip sideways, especially when used in narrow sites.
They are, however, a common source of major accidents on sites involving construction vehicles.
Just like the name suggests, they’re used to carry liquid to and fro a construction site. The need for tank trucks includes supplying water, fuel, gas, and liquid chemicals. They come in various sizes and designs to fit their purposes.
Tank trucks for spraying water on the construction site come with spraying devices attached to their nozzles to aid the even spread of water on the soil.
Without this attached device, the water poured on the ground may be too much, thereby making the ground sludgy and unstable. It may also be too little that the soil will not stick to one another.
Excavators are used for digging trenches and foundations, demolishing structures, uprooting tree stumps, dredging rivers, handling materials, and so on.
They use hydraulic systems to carry out the mechanical functions of the machine and chain wheel system for their movement.
Excavators are made of three parts: the undercarriage, which has tracks and blades like that of a bulldozer; the house, which accommodates the engine, fuel tank, operator cab, and others; the arm, which provides an up-and-down and digging movements.
This is a type of excavator that has a digging bucket at the end of a two-part articulated arm. The part of the arm closer to the vehicle is called the boom. It is attached to the vehicle through a pivot that allows it to pivot left and right through a total of about 180 degrees. The other part is known as the dipper, and it provides an attachment for the bucket.
Loaders are majorly used to load soil, stones, and rumbles from demolitions or rocks into a truck or a different location. They have big buckets and short arms.
With the use of loaders, jobs that may take days of manual labor are accomplished in hours. They use hydraulic systems to perform their operations and, unlike bulldozers, they use 4 wheels for their movement.
A bulldozer is a powerful piece of construction equipment. It has a metal blade fitted at its front with which it pushes materials like soil, rubbles, and rocks during construction.
Some use tracks as a means of movement to move through rough terrains while some move on four wheels.
The main uses of bulldozers include earthmoving, ground leveling, deforestation, and road carving. While heavy bulldozers are used to level the site before construction begins, the construction process is done using small bulldozers.
A grader, which is also called a motor grader or road grader, is used to level the ground during construction. It has three axles: a steering wheel that’s followed by a grading blade and two axles that carry the cab and engine.
Some graders have attachments such as a compactor, ripper, or scarifier. Graders are used after heavy equipment like bulldozers have been used for rough leveling of the ground.
They are used to achieve a high level of precision in the final grading of the ground. This is achieved through the adjustable blade that can be adjusted to different heights and angles.
Trenchers are heavy construction equipment dedicated to digging trenches on site. They are used for laying pipes, laying electrical cables, installing drainages, and so on.
They may need different digging implements to carry out such tasks, depending on the hardness, depth, and width of the surfaces to be cut. These implements are attached to different types of trenchers.
The various types of trenchers are wheel trenchers, which are made up of toothed metal wheels; chain trenchers, which use digging chains or belts driven around a rounded frame; micro trenchers, which cut trenches with small dimensions; and portable trenchers, which are easy to handle and operate.
Cranes are used for the movement of construction materials on a site. They are used in high-rise building construction for lifting materials to tall heights and tight spaces.
They are saddled with chains, hoist ropes, or wire ropes with which they can lift materials in vertical or horizontal manners. Cranes consist of vertical masts that provide support. They feature jibs, which are the operating arms that lift the load, and counter jibs that balance the action of the jibs and prevent the crane from toppling.
On construction sites, forklifts are used for moving heavy materials from where they are stored to where they are needed. They are suitable for maneuvering materials across rough terrains on construction sites and over long distances that may be impossible to transport using manual labor.
Forklifts used on construction sites may act as a crane to lift materials to a height of a three-story building. They can be used in place of cranes as cheaper alternatives.
They are also called temporary elevators, builder hoists, or construction elevators. Like cranes, they are used for high-rise buildings and large construction projects.
They are used to carry workers, materials, and equipment between floors in a building, or from ground level up to a certain height.
Hoists are made of one or two cages, like an elevator, traveling vertically along stacked mast tower sections. To ensure that the hoist is stable, mast sections are attached to the structure at 25 feet intervals.
These are machines with rotating tanks or drums used to either mix concrete on a construction site or transport mixed concrete to a site. Just like the manual way of preparing concrete, it combines cement, aggregate such as sand or stone with water in large volumes to form concrete.
These mixers come in different types and are employed to suit different types of construction projects.
They are designed to transport mixed concrete to a construction site. While on transit, their tanks are continually rotated to prevent the concrete from solidifying. This type of concrete mixer can also be used to prepare concrete directly on the site.
These are suitable for small-scale construction projects, repairs, and renovations. They are towed to construction sites and are powered using electric motors.
Compactors are used to compress the soil to make it sturdier and enable construction activities to be carried out on it.
They come in different types ranging from small plate compactors that operate using motors but are controlled by pulling or pushing to heavy-duty machines whose axles are replaced by one or two heavy metal rollers.
They are also used after land-filling an area or to compact crushed rocks into the soil to provide a stone foundation.
After a compactor is used on a construction site, road rollers are used to suppress the high spots caused by the compactor to produce a smooth surface for construction. A typical road roller has a smooth drum as one of its axles, which is in front of the driver.