On-site Equipment Do’s and Don’ts

Tips for choosing and using installation machinery
August 22, 2013

Do: Make job and site requirements the first priority.

Take into account the installation requirements of the project first. Think of price second. “The equipment required for installation is determined mainly by the logistics of the jobsite: access to specified locations, the size and weight of the material being installed, etc.,” says Danny O’Brien, field superintendent with contract glazier Benson Industries, www.bensonglobal.com. “Suppliers are primarily chosen because of their overall service, availability and reliability. Pricing, for the most part, is secondary.”

Do: Collaborate early.

Bring equipment suppliers into the planning process early. “We work very closely with the suppliers at the earliest stages of the project to ensure smooth setup, use and training on supplies and equipment. We have less frequent contact as the job progresses,” O’Brien says. “The supplier must know the specific strengths and limitations of the equipment they provide, as well as its service and maintenance [requirements].”

Don’t: Forget power.

Many installers only consider how to get power to the site. However, they need to consider the power to the equipment itself. There can be a drop in voltage from one corner of the building to the other, and from the ground floor to the installation level. “A lot of times, [glazing contractors] assume the power is going to be good and they are not going to have any voltage issues,” says Joe Simone, operations manager for Spider, a division of SafeWorks, www.spiderstaging.com.

Do: Plan for material staging.

Installers need to carefully plan the size and location of where they are going to store their panels on site and where they are going to rig them for lifting. For high-rise buildings, there are often multiple staging areas at many floors of the building. The resources and time required to move panels to these elevated stages needs to be considered.

Don’t: Forget about site access.

Site access and availability might dictate what installation equipment can be used, and when. “On many sites, installers will face challenges getting access—they will only have access at specific times,” Simone says. “Installers need to consider when they will be able to get deliveries, whether they will have sufficient security for products, and other issues related to the site.”

Do: Complete an installation review.

“Suppliers are usually brought on the project site weeks before the crews start to review installation, engineering and availability of hoisting and suspended scaffolding needed for installation,” O’Brien says.

Do: Get support when needed.

Equipment malfunctions or operating concerns can easily stall a project, creating potentially costly problems for glazing contractors. Ensure that equipment suppliers are available to provide immediate support, and potentially on-site assistance. “Most suppliers are chosen based on prior experience, as well as availability and reliability of their service,” O’Brien says.

  • Equipment Top 10

    Top tips and common problems when choosing and using installation equipment, from Danny O’Brien, field superintendent for Benson Industries.

    Top 5 considerations when choosing an equipment supplier:

    1. Availability
    2. Reliability
    3. Prompt on-site service
    4. Repair and replacement of parts
    5. Pricing

    Top 5 warning signs when choosing an equipment supplier:

    1. Unfair equipment pricing
    2. Equipment limitations
    3. Poor service
    4. Long wait for replacement parts
    5. An engineering department that isn’t knowledgeable.