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The Complete Guide to Earth-Moving Equipment and Determining What You Need On Your Site

Determining what earth-moving equipment is necessary for use on a construction site can be a challenging process. After all, every project is different, and selecting the gear you need to get the job done has to take into account a wide variety of factors. 

A job site will always be bustling with many people and pieces of equipment, and there are many variables that can unfold across the life of a project. Deciding what collection of construction equipment will be needed can quickly become a frustrating task without the necessary knowledge in-hand.

Fortunately, once you’ve got the info, drawing up a plan becomes much more manageable. This requires an understanding of how different pieces of earth-moving equipment operate, as well as their strengths and weaknesses compared to other pieces of equipment. To assist with this process, we’ve compiled the following guide to earth-moving equipment and determining what you need on your construction site.

Guide to Earth-Moving Equipment

The Wheeled Skid Steer

This piece of gear is squat but strong. Also, for earth-moving tasks that involve tight-access points, this can be the ideal selection thanks to the maneuverability a wheeled skid steer has via its wheel-based (instead of track-based) movement. In general, i’s also a pretty terrific and versatile all-arounder.

The Posi Track

There can be some real overlap between the wheeled skid steer and the posi track in terms of the jobs they can handle. Nonetheless, they do have some key differences. For example, for earth-moving jobs where the posi track’s tracks would be an impediment, a wheeled skid steer is the better pick. If by contrast some earth-moving needs to be done in muddy and damp earth, 

then a posi track would usually be the one to choose. 

The Excavator

Most commonly seen taking on the biggest jobs on the biggest sites, the excavator is the equipment you get when you’ve got a huge earth-moving task to do. A big machine like a 48T excavator will certainly turn heads if seen in operation. That said, it’s also possible to acquire smaller excavators for smaller jobs. Smaller excavators could be ideal for tasks that require the length and reach an excavator can provide where other equipment may struggle to operate.

Dump Truck

No one should forget the trusty dump truck! After all, while the aforementioned pieces of equipment can do the job of earth-moving at the ground level, moving tonne after tonne of dirt across the job site (or off it) will ultimately be inefficient if done by something like a wheeled skid steer or posi track. This is where the dump truck can be very useful. 

Redrawing the Blueprint

With a solid understanding of key pieces of earth-moving equipment, it should be possible to begin drawing up a blueprint for what machines may best work for a construction project. At the same time, it’s important to remember that construction projects and job sites are of course not static things. Instead, they can move very fast and spawn off into different directions that require the crew to approach tackling a task fluidly. 

When it comes to earth-moving equipment, this means it’s wise to keep in mind the versatility of equipment you may acquire. If an unexpected task arises, it’s possible that one of the machines you already have may be able to handle it.

Of course, it’s always possible that a certain task may require a highly customised piece of equipment, which will require some extra time and consideration to confirm it’s the best one for the job. That’s all part of the nature of working in construction. It’s therefore a good idea to budget for a little extra time now and then when determining the right earth-moving equipment for a project.

Building a Project Plan

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the global construction industry was seeing spending of around US $12 trillion dollars (approximately AU $15.5 trillion dollars). It’s no secret the pandemic has hit the local sector hard. But just as recovery is now in sight, we’re certainly all looking forward to seeing construction sites across the nation bustling once again. 

This guide offers a template for any crew looking to get together a list of the earth-moving equipment they need to get a construction project done. No matter the project, be sure to consider how a wheeled skid steer, posi track, excavator and dump truck can factor into your planning. 

What other tips do you have for deciding what earth-moving equipment you need on site? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: SPH

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