Rocky Mountain Construction

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Indianapolis, IN, USA (HQ)

903 E. Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

Call: (317) 423-2325

Beyond Basic Rental Equipment

by: Christina Andrews, United Rentals
Heavy equipment is essential to construction work, and most contractors know that renting can pay off by filling equipment gaps, reducing capital expenditures, and providing the chance to experiment with the latest machines.

What many may not realize is the full extent of the role today’s temporary equipment providers can play in helping to meet goals and bring projects to successful completion.

By getting acquainted with the full scope of equipment, services, and solutions available from large vendors, you can discover new ways to increase safety, productivity, and sustainability.

Cradle-to-Grave Job Site Essentials
Projects don’t start with digging in the dirt. First comes installing job site fencing, laying down composite mats, and setting up office trailers, storage containers, and porta potties. All of this temporary infrastructure is available from one-stop equipment providers.

Temporary power is a must-have for off-grid and remote job sites. Contractors can rent everything from portable diesel generators to industrial mobile generators from the same company that supplies their excavators and aerial lifts. They can also take advantage of remote monitoring to check the fuel status of each generator.

Safety and security are essential to success. Rental options include smart turnstiles, ignition keypad locks installed on equipment, storage containers with interior locking rods, and wearable devices.

Customized Options
Every project has unique needs. Rental providers can work with contractors to customize solutions and services that save time and money.

For example, they can offer custom-stocked proboxes and tool trailers so crews have easy access to the tools they need to get the job done without interruption. Managed tool trailers and smart proboxes offer additional benefits: They help companies track tools and tool utilization, reducing tool loss and over-tooling.

Some vendors offer inventory-on-demand trailers — stocked with anything from tools to parts to PPE — that allow employees to enter job cost codes for job cost allocation.

Specialty Equipment and Engineering
Many job sites require dewatering, utility installation, or both. Large rental equipment providers carry pumps, tanks, and hoses for a variety of dewatering systems, as well as trench shielding and shoring equipment — from trench boxes to shores, walers, braces, and, in some cases, modular hydraulic bracing systems. These systems eliminate the need for welding, speeding the shoring of large excavations and saving contractors money.

Rental providers with expertise in dewatering and trench systems also offer technical guidance and site-specific solutions. For example, they can design a dewatering system that maximizes efficiency and may eliminate rework and generate cost savings. A turnkey provider will even perform the installation on request.

An equipment partner that has in-house registered Professional Engineers can provide custom-engineered trench safety solutions when needed. If the depth of an excavation, the soil conditions, or surcharges exceed the design parameters outlined in the manufacturer’s tabulated data, a custom-engineered solution is necessary. An equipment partner can create a site-specific design using rental equipment and customer-owned equipment.

Specialty equipment and expertise also come into play when contractors are required to filter groundwater for contaminants before releasing it into a body of water. A rental partner can advise on whether filtration is required. If it is, they can provide the advice, equipment, and onsite support to help ensure the job is done right.

Maintenance Services
Large rental vendors have a wealth of in-depth knowledge and experience across a broad range of areas. One area that is often overlooked and undervalued is equipment maintenance. Proper preventative maintenance protects the contractor’s investment, prolongs the life of a fleet, and guards against unplanned downtime. Regular inspections help protect the safety of workers.

Rental companies that offer equipment maintenance can take over the maintenance and inspection of owned equipment, either on-demand or onsite, freeing contractors to focus on their core business.

Improving Sustainability
Contractors increasingly face pressure from project owners to meet sustainability goals. Rental providers can help.

Renting is a smart way to try the newest equipment, including alternatively powered equipment that reduces fossil fuel consumption and minimizes or eliminates greenhouse gas emissions. Vendors that carry electric and hybrid equipment can advise on run times and the best charging options based on grid availability and work schedules.

Rental inventories may include alternatively fueled generators and battery energy storage solutions (BESS). Pairing a generator with a BESS significantly reduces generator runtime, cutting fuel consumption by as much as 80 percent and emissions by up to 50 percent.

However, the best way to reduce emissions isn’t always by leveraging a different piece of equipment. Rental providers help contractors identify the biggest opportunities for improvement, which may include switching to renewable diesel fuel.

Another way to reduce fuel consumption and emissions is through remote environmental monitoring. Often, job site heaters run 24/7. Rental providers may offer remote environmental monitoring solutions. Contractors can configure alerts that notify them via text or email when the ambient temperature or humidity exceeds predetermined thresholds. They can then adjust the heater’s thermostat — remotely, in some cases — so the heater doesn’t run when it doesn’t need to.

One of the more challenging aspects of reducing job site emissions is tracking them. Digital tools offered by some rental equipment vendors extend to dashboards that calculate emissions based on telematics data and the type of fuel used. Some dashboards even show which equipment and which job sites are generating the most emissions.

Digital Solutions for Efficiency and Security
Large job sites today depend on digital tools to maximize productivity, safety, and security. Basic GPS equipment tracking provides immediate visibility into the location of each piece of telematics-enabled equipment with the help of a software platform that includes a mobile app. Some rental provider apps also make it possible to rent and return equipment with a few clicks and pay invoices just as easily.

Platforms available from large rental partners allow contractors to run utilization reports on telematics-enabled equipment in order to optimize utilization and right-size fleets. These platforms enable solutions such as tool tracking, remote monitoring of equipment and environmental conditions, and customizable diagnostic alerts that facilitate equipment maintenance.

The most robust software platforms form the basis of a fully connected job site. Connected job sites can automate and seamlessly integrate two critical aspects of safety and security: perimeter access management and equipment access management. They may allow the same RFID-enabled worker ID badges to authenticate entrants at smart turnstiles and at equipment ignition locks when card readers are added to the locks by the rental provider.

Digital access management tools reduce the burden of manually checking badges at entry points and assigning unique PIN codes to dozens of equipment operators.

A rental equipment vendor can help contractors evaluate job site and project needs and suggest digital solutions that fit the budget and deliver tangible results.

Power of Partnership
Partnering with one large equipment provider allows contractors to consolidate vendors, which drives a host of administrative efficiencies. More importantly, it enables a collaboration that can pay off in numerous ways and at multiple project stages, unlocking opportunities to work more safely and productively and meet project goals more efficiently and affordably.

By talking with a full-service rental equipment vendor well before a job starts, contractors can learn about their offerings and decide what equipment, services, and solutions will benefit their project.

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