Our industry is all about tools and equipment. Construction managers and business owners often feel that acquiring the newest machinery is the solution to all of their problems on site. Is this true though? Buying new equipment in construction can be a really challenging procedure, given all the different factors that should be taken into consideration. That’s why, it’s very important to weigh carefully the advantages and disadvantages first.
Before we move further, let’s have a quick look at the different dangers that could appear on site due to equipment failures. First of all, it should be a given for everyone in construction that machinery should be thoroughly examined as often as possible. There are many places to get lazy or light-minded, but construction sites are definitely not one of them. In a nutshell, we could divide the potential dangers into the following categories:
- Timeworn or damaged parts: A defective machine part can easily break while being used and result in the fatal injury of workers or in the best scenario in the serious damage of the machine per se.
- Electrical failures: Electrocution should be regarded as a common danger in construction, due to exposed power lines. Furthermore, electrical failures could be the reason for machinery to move uncontrollably.
- Safety deficiencies: Sometimes safety systems can fail and create various unexpected problems both to machinery and personnel. Burn accidents, severe cuts or crushing injuries could be unfortunately common elements on the list.
- Structural failures: Building and heavy machinery (eg. crane) collapses can prove to be a deadly threat both for people and projects. Unbalanced or over-weighted equipment is never a good idea.
Pros of buying new equipment
When a company has a little extra cash left saved up, it’s always a good idea to reinvest. There are numerous benefits that go along with owning the equipment you use and they can be narrowed down to the following five categories:
1. Staying up to date with technological change
It’s no secret that using cutting edge technology can make your job much easier. The same applies to construction where new equipment can offer endless possibilities and increase your potential. On top of that, being always informed about the latest technological achievements on the field can offer you a great help in being one step ahead of the competition.
2. Increasing productivity
Newer equipment can boost productivity, too. You have all the necessary machinery ready to roll at any point. This can offer you great flexibility and independence in terms of planning and eventually carrying through your construction project.
3. Saving time on site
Newer equipment means fewer damages and as a result less time dedicated to repairing stuff. In that way, you can minimize delays on the site and keep all your projects running on time. Important boost of productivity once again!
4. Boosting safety
As we already saw above, staying ahead of risk on the construction site should always be a priority. By using newly built equipment in construction, you are reducing considerably the risk of any accidents taking place on-site. Without a doubt, the only investment that is beyond any cost.
5. Used equipment can actually bring profit back
Equipment that’s still got some life in it always has a resell or trade value. Treat your tools right and make sure that they’re kept under good conditions (i.e. not left out to potential theft or the elements). A consistent maintenance schedule could help a lot in that direction.
Cons of buying new equipment:
Buying new equipment, however, is not always the most profitable choice. There are many projects where renting or leasing equipment looks like a better fit. Some of the most characteristic disadvantages could be summed on the next five:
1. Costly choice
Brand new equipment can a serious hit for your budget. Sometimes you may be able to find what you need on a less pricey and slightly used version. In those cases, investing tons of money on new equipment might not be the best idea. Moreover, excessive up-front costs should be also taken into consideration when you are looking for modern machinery.
2. No long-term need of the machinery
While working within construction, you will be part of many different kinds of projects. Some of them won’t have a really long-term perspective. Under such circumstances, it may not be worthy to buy new equipment, since you can cover your needs simply by renting used construction equipment.
3. Money and time spent in training workers on new machinery
Acquiring newly constructed machinery is just the first step of taking the most out of that decision. The next step -and probably the most vital one- is to train properly your workers on how to use the equipment. This process can take a lot of time and financial resources. That’s why, a thorough estimation of the situation has to take place before any hasty decision.
4. Storage, maintenance and transportation
Having your own modern equipment can be really convenient, but it can be a big responsibility, as well. You are the one who have to take care of storage, maintenance and transportation and that can be proved to be quite a challenge.
5. Frequent updates
Sometimes just buying the new equipment isn’t enough. There is machinery which is in constant need of updating. Frequent updates can be turned out to be a never-ending and pretty costly process. Therefore, renting can be a better choice every now and then.
Keep your options open
Every choice of equipment acquisition has its own advantages and drawbacks. What you have to do, in order to make sure that you are doing the best for your construction company is to get enough information for all the different possibilities:
When you decide to lease construction equipment, there’s a good chance that you will pay less money on machinery than you would have if you bought it. Nevertheless, due to the lease you may have less flexibility as you aren’t able to buy or return the equipment before the expiration of the contract. On top of that, in the long run you aren’t saving any financial resources if you decide eventually to purchase the machinery.
There are plenty of online guides to leasing equipment that detail how it works, what the liabilities are, and what you can expect throughout the entire process. Make sure you know what the contract entails before you sign anything!
Renting can be the perfect option, when you are looking for short-term or one-time project equipment. Furthermore, you are extremely flexible in returning or exchanging the machinery since you don’t own it. Renting can be an excellent alternative for equipment which gets quickly out-of-date.
Buying new equipment in construction is definitely a long and challenging procedure. Before you reach a final decision, you have to take into consideration all the short and long-term benefits and costs. In that way, you will be sure that you make the best choice in your effort to optimize the whole construction project management process.