Machinery

What kind of digger do you need for your job?

July 16, 2018
Machinery
16/7/2018

What kind of digger do you need for your job?

Heavy machinery is often required on construction sites, landscaping jobs and other development projects. When deciding which digger to hire, it’s important that the machine’s capabilities are suitable to get the job done in a safe and efficient manner.

In this piece, we take a look at the main things to consider next time you need to hire an excavator or skid steer.

Types of civil equipment:

Two of the most common types of civil equipment used today are excavators and skid steers:

  • Excavators - large machines for heavy lifting, major digging tasks and jobs where power is a necessity. The bucket faces towards the driver.
  • Skid steers - smaller machines that are more maneuverable, easier to change accessories and perfect for confined spaces. The bucket faces away from the driver.

Excavators trade maneuverability for significantly greater on-the-job power. You wouldn’t use a machine like this to move a pallet, but it’s indispensable for major construction, demolition and landscaping jobs

Excavators come in a range of makes and sizes. Mini excavators (under 6 tonne) are great for residential jobs that require working around existing structures. Whilst they are versatile and fuel efficient, they lack the reach, dig depth and lift capacity of larger models. When working in restricted areas, it is important to look for zero tail swing and reduced tail swing units. This will reduce the risk of damaging your surroundings.

Medium sized excavators (6-10 tonne) provide a good balance between performance (more dig depth, reach and power) and being able to work tight areas. For large residential, and small-medium sized commercial jobs, medium sized excavators are often the way to go.

Standard sized excavators (10-45 tonnes) deliver the power required for heavy lifting, have hydraulics that can handle multiple tools, and allow you to get more done during the day. It is important to consider the ground surface that is supporting the equipment - due to the increased weight, these machines are known to damage landscaped earth and thin concrete slabs.

Skid steers are often used on residential construction sites where access is limited. With a zero-radius turning ability, and a smaller footprint than similar-sized excavators, they are often appropriate for use in landscaping jobs, civil works such as curbs, and general ‘lift and carry’ tasks. Although they are not as powerful as excavators, skid steers do provide enough grunt to complete a wide range of tasks with ease.Skid steers are often used on residential construction sites where access is limited. With a zero-radius turning ability, and a smaller footprint than similar-sized excavators, they are often appropriate for use in landscaping jobs, civil works such as curbs, and general ‘lift and carry’ tasks. Although they are not as powerful as excavators, skid steers do provide enough grunt to complete a wide range of tasks with ease.

Understand the site you are working on

It is important to consider the environment that your hire equipment will be working in. Asking the following questions may help you to get a better idea of the type of digger (and attachments) best suited to your needs:

  • What kind of materials do I need to move? Do I need to break rocks or slabs of concrete?
  • What are the ground conditions of the job site? Are there any landscaped areas or places where heavy machinery might not be appropriate?
  • Where are the access points? How much space is available for maneuvering at the entrance, and is there off-street parking for the delivery vehicle?
  • Once we get the digger onsite, how much space do I have to move around? Will a zero tail-swing model or skid steer be required to fit into the hard-to-reach places?
  • How much material do I need to move? How heavy is the material?
  • What depth will I need to dig to?
  • What types of buckets, rock breakers and drive units are available?
  • What is the maximum bucket capacity required? Which types of material are going in the bucket?
  • What is the maximum dump/boom height required?
  • Who will be operating the equipment? How much experience do they have with each model that we are thinking about hiring?

By understanding more about the work being undertaken, the site conditions, and other related factors, it is much easier to make an informed decision about which digger will be most suitable for the job at hand.

Considerations to make when choosing between machines:

One you have a better idea of the scope of work required, it’s time to narrow down the specifications that you will need. Think about the engine size, weight, physical footprint and bucket capacity to get a better idea of which machines are likely to be the best fit.

Every time you estimate a job, you use the volumes of dirt you need to move, grade, slope or compact as a basis for costs. But it’s not often that you compare multiple jobs based on digging depth, reach, breakout force, bucket capacity and lift capacities.

If your work site has issues with access, or precarious ground conditions, look for lighter models such as zero tail swing excavators and skid steers. Most jobs that require excavators can get by with counterweight models. However, if you are lifting extremely heavy objects, other options might be necessary.

It is also important to consider how your vehicle will be delivered to the job site - does the hire company deliver and collect vehicles, or will you need to do this yourself? Note: EquipmentShare can deliver any machine in our fleet to addresses between Hamilton and Whangarei!

Telematics is a relatively new innovation in the equipment and construction industries that is changing the way machines are managed. Our vehicles run the ES Track system, which allows for access control, equipment usage reports, GPS tracking, geofencing, vehicle diagnostics, maintenance scheduling and much more. For contractors, the benefits of using telematics are numerous: improved machine utilization, reduced downtime, more accurate bids and job costing, reduced administration work, ELD compliance and less headaches.

We’re here to help

If you need help with deciding which digger is right for your needs or are looking to hire civil equipment in Auckland, feel free to get in touch with us via email, phone (0800-600-147), or Facebook Messenger.