Tips on Winter Plant, Machinery, Equipment and Tool Hire

20 September 2019

Saving time and money…

…on Plant, Machinery, Equipment and Tool hire during the winter. When the cold spell begins to bite this year, you will need to be prepared with the right equipment on site. During this article we discuss just some of the sticking points to winter hire. What can be done to alleviate known winter issues on site and finally how consolidating your hire suppliers can save you time and money.

Winter on SiteAutumn officially begins on the 23rd of September this year, and it is a period of adjustment from the heady days of summer. We have had a great summer weather wise and now we must prepare for winter. Warmest Days on Record here in the UK and a relatively steady North Atlantic Jet-stream meant we enjoyed a good spell of settled summer weather. Which along with 2018 means we have had great summers.

Autumn in the UK kicks off with Harvest Festival on the 22nd of September. Primary school children will be practising for their harvest assembly, we are sure clutching a tin or something to offer as is traditionally the case up and down the country. But whilst Autumn celebrates the bounty of the summer crop and success of life – it does mean that winter is on our doorstep, ready to test us at work and in life generally.

These last sunlit days of summer and into autumn is time review what has worked on site and what is not working. Autumn is certainly time to prepare for winter. From speaking with our hire accounts, we know that preparation is key for ongoing operations in construction. Regardless of the size of the project, the project will always need to be completed. The risks and the seasons change, the budget and the objective do not fluctuate. Perhaps a contingency budget is activated to rectify a forethought event. In a bid to help you alleviate some of those risks and mitigate issues caused by seasons. Here are some tips on preparation for your operational review for winter.

Review Site Risk Assessments

Go back over your project management risk score sheets and look for how the weather and particularly seasonality is factored. Now may be time to ensure you have the right hire kit on order so you can make sure that you do not fall foul to short stock due to demand. The kind of hire items which can have stock issues during the winter are:

  1. Tower Lights
  2. Powered Access
  3. Street Cleaners (Road Sweepers Mainly)
  4. Wheel Washers
  5. Fuel
  6. Water Services
  7. Cabins and Storage
  8. Generators

Tower Lights

It goes without saying that light in site is of huge importance for safety and generally getting the job complete. The thing is, as the afternoons get darker into the autumn and winter, lack of appropriate task lighting just cuts into the working day. Technology has come on leaps and bounds making tower lighting hire, individual task light hire affordable and practical. Giving you the ability to hire and deploy tower lights that intelligently operate themselves.

Powered Access

It is incredible to think that winter is a key time of the year when some powered access is in short supply. Christmas is the reason with shopping centres, town centres and every conceivable public space wanting to put up festive season decorations. Typically scissor lifts and small mobile height access equipment get swamped in terms of demand. We advise pre hiring your powered access by booking it now for November and January.

Street Cleaners

Road Sweepers are often overlooked in the best site risk assessment or project management plan. There is no getting away with it. Site traffic pulls all sorts of debris and muck off site and onto local roads. This often causes and inconvenience to local traffic and can upset residents who you need on your side as your project progresses. Road sweepers are in short demand during the winter months as it is a busy time of the year.

Wheel Washers

Apart from the largest construction sites, civil engineering sites and sites where haulage is in and out throughout the day. A site wheel washer is a little-known marvel and can save on some local road cleaning using road sweepers. Wheel washing systems come in various formats, but we prefer units which are adjustable to any vehicle size and type, offer a wet or dry wash and do not require a movement order to deliver on site! Above all they must be practical and cost effective – all the best wheel wash units have these features and are often in high demand – another pre-book needed there!

Fuel

At around 78p (subject to location and availability*) per litre, our deliveries of diesel are always in demand. Keeping generators, self-contained site cabins, lighting, plant and machinery in action – fuel is often overlooked when it comes to winter. National demand goes through the roof as generators are powered up for longer and lights need their power source. The other issue we have to factor for (and we loath to mention it) but from the 31st of October this year there may be supply uncertainty due to Brexit. Switching to a managed fuel arrangement will ensure supply and can assist with budgeting.

Water

Did someone forget to order the water? There is no getting away from the stuff, it falls from the skies often, but the supply of fresh water is as important on site for several reasons. Obviously, there is the welfare side of things. But what about construction requirement of water for mixing aggregate. In the early stage of a build sometimes services are not in place, so you are going to need water bought in. Again, during the winter, it is wise to order in advance.

Cabins and Storage

Sometimes there is no chance of getting a days work done. As much as we’d like to get the job done, the weather often has other plans. Let’s face it, the UK is a nation of four seasons in one day. That jet stream we discussed earlier means that weather fronts can turn on a pin and what appeared to be a perfect, crisp winters day can be flipped into a non-productive dodge the inclement weather – pack that site up kind of thing. In this case you need secure storage. During the winter months it is not necessary the demand which is the issue here. If you want large or cumbersome kit on site to keep your equipment secure – then you need to prepare in advance and hire it before the weather gets bad.

Generators

Autumn and Winter is when power demand goes through the ceiling. Moving Generators about the country in inclement weather is not ideal – but can be done, likewise you do not have them onsite just in case as that sort of expenditure is impractical. And whilst solar technology is coming on leaps and bounds (the Prolight Mobile Solar Lighting functions perfectly in the UK), there is still no practical solution for solar power generation – especially in an emergency. If loss of power is something you need to factor for your site contingency plan. We do advise that you instruct us sooner than later. Complex power replacement in an emergency involves a site inspection to accurately provide for your demand and plan for your ongoing power requirements.

Getting the job done Safely in Winter

We are continuing with the winter theme by building a section of PAL Hire website to support Winter Equipment Hire. All of our core and main lines of equipment are still available, but this section of the website is “dialled in” to provide quick access to what you may need. The PAL Hire Winter Equipment Hire Section is currently split into four distinct sections:

Review your suppliers

Our final addition to this piece on hiring Winter Plant, Machinery, Tools and Equipment. Reviewing your hire suppliers is always a quick win to ensure you are getting value for money. But often the hidden cost is the amount of time you need to coordinate all of your plant, machinery, tools and equipment hire. Consolidating all of your equipment hire is one way of doing this. PAL Hire is uniquely positioned to serve as your hire department. With all the qualities and accountability, you would expect from a corporate department – just detached. Our large, SME and corporate account customers enjoy seamless account management, dedicated support and single point of billing. Add the ability to solve unforeseen issues on your behalf, with your objectives in mind and you have a formidable construction partner ready to get you to project completion with world class hire services.