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What Happens if Your Hired Excavator Breaks on the Job Site?

Construction gear, and particularly excavators, is built tough and designed to last. Most of the time, you can expect your equipment to perform well and experience minimal issues. But ultimately, like any complex machinery, excavators can break down from time to time.

And when the broken piece of equipment is hired, it can make the situation more complex. You not only need to think about how to get on with the job ASAP, but also how to resolve the problem with your lender as easily as possible. Read on for the steps to follow if your hired excavator breaks down on the job site.

Evaluate the Situation

Anyone who has experience operating heavy machinery knows that each machine can have its own quirks. This doesn’t mean that there’s necessarily anything wrong with them, but just that even with mass production, there can still be a bit of variation between how two machines operate.


This said, there’s a difference between a machine having a quirk and having a real problem with its operation. If you use multiple machines and find that one isn’t as responsive as another, that could mean it’s overdue for a service but isn’t problematic. But if you have any doubt about the proper functioning of a machine, it’s always essential to play it safe and cease operation. This ensures your safety and minimises any damage to the machine.

Take Photos and Make Notes

Once it’s clear your excavator isn’t working properly — or has outright broken down — it’s important to shift focus to the next steps. Such an outcome is sure to be frustrating, but ultimately, you’ll save time by switching gears and focusing on a solution instead of trying to get the excavator working again.

The best course of action is to immediately take some photos and make notes about the breakdown. You don’t need to write pages and pages, but be sure to note the time, the operator, and the location where it happened. Then, describe any reason or issue you feel may have contributed to the excavator’s breakdown or anything unusual you noticed, like a screeching or grinding sound, before it stopped working.

Get in Contact With the Lender

Once you’ve stopped using the equipment and documented the issue, it’s time to contact the lender. It’s really important to do this right away, since the sooner you act the sooner you’ll be able to resolve the issue. Depending on the nature of the problem, it’s possible the excavator will either need a quick repair or a full replacement. It’s not always possible to determine that until an in-person assessment is done, but the photos and notes you’ve taken will help speed up the process.

If it ends up being a repair job, then it may be able to be done on-site. If it’s a larger problem or one that will require replacement, then the timeframe for pick up of the old excavator and delivery of the new will be longer. If you can arrange for it, it’s a good idea to clear a path (if one isn’t there already) on the job site between the excavator and the entrance. This ensures that if a pickup is required, there won’t be a delay to the truck once it arrives or an unexpected disruption to other crew that suddenly has to make room for it.

Communicate With Other Operators


With over 390,000 construction businesses operating in Australia, every project and crew’s needs are different. Sometimes, excavators can be used for a task on the job site that’s independent of other crew and their equipment. Other times, however, there will also be other jobs expecting to have an excavator available.

It’s therefore important to begin communicating with other crew as soon as possible about the possible delays, and to set up some alternative timetables with them to ensure the disruption caused by the breakdown is minimised.

Dealing with a hired excavator that’s broken down on the job site can be frustrating, but with the proper steps and a lender you can trust, you should be able to resolve the problem without too much inconvenience.

Have you ever had a tool or piece of construction equipment breakdown? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: SPH

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