Fortunately, the pandemic has not affected construction activity as it’s on the rise. With unemployment also increasing, you might assume that would solve the worker shortage problem. However, not everyone who is out of a job has the knowledge and skills to use construction equipment and tools.
On top of the shortage, the construction industry is dealing with climbing lumber prices. National Association of Home Builders
reports lumber and building material prices have soared more than 5 percent in 2020.
What does all of this mean for the industry and construction equipment? It’s a clear indicator that the industry needs to maximize its resources and efficiencies. With construction equipment being the most expensive and important business asset, it’s critical to stay on top of maintenance and updates. So, how do you go about that?
First, more than 70 percent of the respondents in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and USG Corporation survey claim technology can boost labor productivity and project delivery. With that said, an efficient way to track the status of all the equipment and resources is to use asset tracking construction software. The software helps companies improve efficiencies and do more with less.
Moreover, the asset management software minimizes waste in managing and tracking assets. One of the benefits of the software is that it will increase the possibility that the needed assets will be ready and operational. It will notify you when it’s time for maintenance and upgrades. You don’t want to stop progress on a project because construction equipment quits functioning.
Sometimes maintenance isn’t enough. Therefore, here are five reasons to upgrade your construction equipment.
1. Increase Worker Safety
Despite decreasing worker injuries, construction companies must remain vigilant about worker safety as a jobsite contains many hazards. In 2019, the industry reported almost 80,000 nonfatal injuries. It remains the highest out of all industries combined according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Furthermore, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the construction industry accounts for 20 percent of worker deaths for 2019.
Anything a company can do to improve worker safety is a must-do and upgrading equipment will do that. Imagine if parents were still using baby car seats from the 1980s. It’d be horrifying because car seats keep improving with every reiteration. Construction equipment is the same way. Newer models come with improved safety features and can handle more than the older equipment.
It’s tempting to buy older equipment to save on expenses. However, this could end up driving up the cost more as the equipment is more likely to malfunction, causing numerous unplanned for expenses. If someone gets injured, it could lead to an expensive lawsuit.
2. Increase Project Capacity
Swapping aging equipment for newer models means your construction equipment will be able to handle bigger jobs. As a result, the project could finish ahead of schedule. Or rather, it may finish on time whereas the old equipment could cause a missed deadline. Newer equipment will be more durable, more efficient, and simpler to operate.
It’s very possible that new construction equipment could complete a task in two hours that would take old equipment three hours to complete. At first glance, an hour’s savings may not sound like much, but not when you multiply it. A task that’s 10 times larger will take 30 hours to complete on the aging equipment and only 20 hours on the new. You’re cutting the task time by a third.
3. Increase Profits
Rather than looking at upgrading equipment as an expenditure, view it as an investment that will pay off in the long run. Newer equipment will be easier and cheaper to maintain. As previously stated, upgraded construction equipment will be able to achieve more in less time. Every hour shaved is money saved.
Outdated construction equipment is less efficient in using fuel, which increases your costs. It’s slower and requires more upkeep. The older it is, the more care it will need. It could reach the point that maintenance will not suffice and it needs to undergo repairs.
Newer equipment improves the quality of work. It’s more likely to execute the tasks exactly as expected. Older equipment that fails will cause delays. Delays often involve penalties.
The same goes for security cameras. You may not think of them as construction equipment, but they play a big role in worker safety. Like with large equipment, having current security camera technology could lead to a faster ROI. Using old or outdated camera equipment can be a detriment to your site’s security. The best video surveillance service providers to partner with are those who actively seek out the newest in product innovation and technologies.
When you’re talking to prospective clients, tell them about your current equipment, security cameras, and technology. Explain why working with a company that has current equipment is an advantage. You’ll stand out from your competitors.
4. Increase Uptime
While upgrading to new equipment involves a large initial investment, it will yield a faster return on investment. Not only does the new equipment increase the chances of getting the work done correctly, but also, it’s more likely to last for the duration of the project. Newer equipment allows you to scale and keep up with demand.
Outdated and old construction equipment can break down multiple times on a project. You may not be able to get a licensed technician to come to the jobsite quickly enough. Besides, it may not be possible to repair it on the jobsite or it may not be repairable at all. In either case, it will require renting a replacement. Between the price of repairs and renting a backup, the costs add up.
5. Increase Employee Morale
Employees that are challenged and get the opportunity to work with new equipment are happier employees. They’re more likely to work harder and more efficiently. You take away the burden of dealing with outdated construction equipment. They’re not constantly having to fiddle with it, maintain it, fix it, and whatever else ails the equipment.
The best equipment doesn’t work alone. It needs people to operate it. The most skilled construction workers will want to work with current equipment and technologies. Thus, having updated equipment can help you land the best talent.
Knowing they get to work with current equipment, will help keep them excited about their work. Think about the last time you bought something that cost thousands of dollars. It could be a house, a car, or a boat. You can’t wait to move in, drive it, or take it out on a lake. That’s how your workers will feel about their jobs when they have dependable and current equipment.
5 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Construction Equipment
Asset management software will help identify construction equipment that needs to be upgraded. Here are five signs you can also watch for.
1. The equipment can’t handle its tasks
If the equipment doesn’t have the capability to perform its tasks as required, then it’s going to cause your profits to leak. Consider renting a new model to take it for a test run. See how it performs. Does it save time? Cut repair costs?
2. Maintenance is becoming a regular occurrence.
Equipment that regularly breaks down is going to eat up time and money. Consider how much it delays the project when it’s broken. Lost workdays and missed deadlines can quickly grow expensive. Equipment that requires more maintenance can also be an increased safety risk.
3. Can’t handle big jobs.
Older equipment tends to have a limit on how much it can handle. Newer equipment has the horsepower and strength to manage larger capacity tasks faster.
4. It’s getting harder to find replacement parts.
Construction equipment manufacturers can only have so much inventory available for older equipment. They want to stock up on parts for newer equipment. To make room for newer equipment replacement parts means sacrificing shelf space for older parts.
5. Fuel costs are higher than necessary.
Homeowners replace the air conditioner filter a few times a year. The reason for this is that the dirtier the filter, the harder the air conditioning needs to work in putting out cold air. The harder it works, the more energy it uses up. The more energy it uses, the higher the electric bill.
The same analogy applies to older equipment. They don’t work as efficiently as newer construction equipment. Thus, they go through fuel faster than average. It’s hard to compare older and newer equipment fuel usage.
For instance, the upgraded equipment could be bigger and have a larger fuel tank capacity. You need to take into consideration how much time the newer equipment saves in completing the task. It’s also likely to be more fuel efficient.
Time to Upgrade Construction Equipment
Advances in construction equipment and technology help workers do their jobs more efficiently. When you upgrade your construction equipment, productivity can skyrocket while boosting worker safety.
Considering the labor shortage in construction, construction equipment and security technology eases that by making the business more efficient with its resources. Investing in the right equipment can mean the difference between finishing on time within budget and missing deadlines with cost overruns.
Want to explore what’s new in construction? Check out these articles:
- Construction Trends for 2021
- Construction technologies that solve COVID-19 problems
- How to conduct a construction site security risk assessment