Selecting the latest plant and equipment for housebuilding

Selecting the latest plant and equipment for housebuilding

With construction plant offering more versatility than ever, PHPD has teamed up with JCB to assess the key considerations when selecting the latest plant and equipment for the housebuilding sector. 

On a typical housebuilding site, ground works can span the entire project – from early preparation work right through to the finishing touches. Across the spectrum of machinery available to the building trade, there are certain criteria which remain constant.

Machines which deliver high performance, reduced downtime, operator comfort, safety benefits and low operating costs will always be fundamental. However, each specific machine type brings a series of further aspects to consider. PHPD takes a look at some of the key machines JCB believes will give housebuilders maximum return.

Compact excavators
As companies seek to extract maximum value from their resources, excavators can be asked to perform a series of tasks onsite. Those which deliver great stability, dig depth and reach can become an excellent and profitable multi-tasking tool.

The latest developments in the design of compact excavators include hydraulic isolation which ensures that machines cannot be operated by accident or until the operator is seated and ready for work. In addition, load indication monitoring – previously exclusive to heavier machines – is now available on more compact excavators than ever before.

In recent years, security has improved rapidly through the introduction of key or keypad operated immobilisers along with the ability of owners and fleet operators to remotely monitor and locate their plant.

In this sector, JCB has just introduced the brand new 15C-1 – a rental specification 1.5-tonne mini excavator that carries the same next generation DNA as the larger mini and midi excavators in the JCB line-up. Available with cab or canopy, it features 100% steel bodywork for maximum impact protection and ease of repair and 500-hour greasing intervals to reduce downtime.

Whether the project requires a compact machine with extreme manoeuvrability for the most confined of urban sites, or the lifting of heavy roofing materials several stories high, key criteria for selecting telescopic handlers are usually the same: safety, operating costs, reliability and productivity.

The demand for high performance and productivity is a constant in any application. Therefore, it is crucial to select the optimum combination of power, lift height and machine dimensions to deliver the fastest possible cycle times for the job the machine is most likely to undertake.

The latest addition to the JCB range is the 540-180 HiViz Loadall. This offers a 5% improvement in lift height, 10% greater forward reach, 50% lower SAE serviceability rating, 50% service cost saving over 1,000 hours and 20% faster cycle times. It brings the number of Loadall models in the JCB range to 30 – with up to 82 variations tailored for specific industry demands.

Tracked excavators
Heavy-duty tracked excavators are purpose-built for groundworking tasks and play a significant role in the early stages of housebuilding. They can be used for ground clearance, levelling or creating footings and foundations. Other tasks include digging drainage lines or trenches for utilities through to landscaping and heavy lifting such as the raising of concrete for suspended floors.

Power and stability are pre-requisites for digging performance, but accuracy is also paramount – as small errors can lead to costly rectification work that will decimate margins.

JCB’s JS131 excavator is proving popular with hire firms supplying to housebuilders. It builds on the success of JCB’s popular JS130, but is powered by a rental-specific 55kW (74hp) version of the Ecomax diesel engine. This fuel-efficient power unit meets Tier 4 Final emissions standards without a diesel particulate filter (DPF) or any requirement for Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and a diesel exhaust fluid.

Site dumpers
Site dumpers play a crucial role on a housebuilding site. Strength of construction, ease of operation, tipping height and skip type should all be considered, as should manoeuvrability and physical machine size. 
However, following a number of incidents and serious accidents in the UK involving site dumpers, the safety of operators and other personnel onsite is of critical importance and should be the primary concern. Optimum visibility, stability and operator protection must be at the forefront of any model selected, validated by compliance with the latest legislation including ISO 5006:2017. 
The JCB 7T-1 HiViz has been developed specifically to address these industry concerns and meets this legislation. The operator has a direct line of vision to a 1.4m height at a 1m distance from the machine when laden – a 77% improvement compared to a 6-tonne dumper. Stability is improved through a 16% lower payload centre of gravity due to the unique skip and lower chassis design. 

Backhoe loaders
Since the 1950s, the backhoe loader has been the benchmark for versatility in construction equipment. With loader and excavator functionality combined with their ability to power a vast range of specialist attachments, backhoe loaders excel in the non-stop working environments found on building sites.  

The backhoe loader is proven in tasks spanning all phases of a typical construction project. It is accomplished in general construction, residential building and onsite materials handling applications, through to underground utility installation and landscaping – capable of digging, site-stripping, backfilling, grading and dozing as well as hauling, hoisting, forklifting, grabbing and materials handling.

Recent years have seen the introduction of both the JCB 3CX Compact – which delivers big machine performance to confined housing sites – and the JCB Pilingmaster which has established a new piling market between pedestrian mini piling rigs and full-size crawler machines.

Skid steer loaders
An increasingly popular machine in UK construction is the skid steer loader. Manoeuvrable in tight, confined areas and easily transported between job sites, they don’t sacrifice power, safety, visibility, comfort or productivity.

Hugely versatile tool carriers, capable of a vast array of applications due to the breadth of attachments they can effectively power, skid steer loaders can form a cost-effective addition to the builder’s fleet.

The JCB Teleskid is the world’s first skid steer and compact track loader with a telescopic boom. This new product can reach 60% further forward than any other skid steer on the market and is the only skid steer in the world that can dig below its chassis to a depth of around 1m.

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