Cement mixers, concrete vibrators, angle grinders and many other machinery and tools used in construction are very costly to initially acquire or replace. Proper storage is important knowledge to have when you have a larger operation running with many different projects sitting at different stages in the construction process. There will be periods where you are extremely busy and have a tool shortage as all the different sites require them, on the flipside there will be periods where you are waiting for things to cure or business has slowed and you will be left with tools lying everywhere going unused.
Proper storage of tools can eliminate both of these problems, as when business picks up you will have a large inventory of pristine machinery to work with, and in periods where work is not being done you won’t have to worry about expensive equipment being subjected to rain or other elements. Proper storage solutions can also lower your overall maintenance costs in the long-run as larger machinery such as cement mixers and compactors will now have somewhere to go immediately when not in use rather than sitting unprotected until they are needed again. Proper storage routine will keep these machines much cleaner and more efficient and this can end up reducing the impact of the increased costs associated with large-scale storage.
When to Store Cement Mixers and Other Machinery
When to store your machinery will depend on a variety of factors. The first and most obvious of these factors would be if you largely rent or own the tools and equipment that is being used in your projects. If you simply own the tools such as spades and pickaxes and prefer to rent larger equipment such as cement mixers and concrete vibrators that are returned to their suppliers when not in use, you may not need to look into storage options and rather into protective and maintenance equipment for your tools.
Storing this equipment would simply extend your rental period and incur higher costs. With rented equipment it is a better option to return it to the supplier the moment it is not in use and rent it again when it is needed. If you find you are doing this frequently and for long periods of time, then it may be in your interests to look into purchasing the machinery or leasing it to own it after a certain period.
When renting machinery, you still need to pay attention to your owned tools. If you become complacent you may incur even higher costs than storage simply in replacing tools that should have lasted much longer. Debris should always be removed from tools at the end of the work day and they should never be left out in the rain as this will quickly lead to rust and splintering.
The second factor would be if you own the tools and equipment yourself, how much do you own and how often do you have excess sitting idle. If you have a small amount of machinery that gets moved between sites and projects, it would be better to invest in portable protection for it such as strong tarpaulins or large containers. If you have a large amount of tools and machinery that is sometimes fully utilised and other times left idle, it is definitely worthwhile for you to invest in a permanent, off-site storage facility.
Whether big or small the machinery and tools that you buy for your business can get very costly over time. Weather and other natural elements can increase maintenance or repair costs if they are simply left out in the open. By properly cleaning and storing them you will ensure that they are fully efficient when they are again needed and won’t need to be replaced nearly as often as machinery and other cement mixers that are left outside even after the same amount of use.
The next factor would be what is making the machinery currently need a storage space. For long periods of time off from work, such as the Christmas holidays when estates don’t allow work, periods where your project load is very low, or unplanned circumstances like the nationwide lockdown that forced all construction to end, it is definitely worthwhile to find a semi-permanent space to store your equipment. This would be a storage space that can also be used as a permanent storage space as mentioned above, but you instead take out a shorter contract that will end roughly when your work picks up again.
This will allow you to keep your equipment safe while also testing out the benefits of proper storage. If you see that the benefits outweigh the costs you can then extend the rental contract at the storage facility. If not, you can simply reclaim your equipment at the end of the rental period and return to whatever solution you were using before.
Larger operations where there are constantly more than one project in progress will definitely need to look into a permanent storage solution for cement mixers and other large machinery. Your workload will never stay busy forever and you will need to plan for times of inactivity. If work were to suddenly end and all machinery was left on-site on several different projects in different locations for months, almost all of it would need to be replaced when work begins again and this would be an extreme cost.
Where Can you Safely Store Cement Mixers
If you simply want to keep your equipment on-site when not in use, either for travel costs or necessity, it is still in your best interest to protect it as much as possible. If you are in an area that is prone to rain or very humid, a tarpaulin or even a gazebo should be erected over the area where the equipment is being stored. This will ensure its longevity and that it continues to work efficiently.
More permanent storage solutions will have to be catered for the size of your operation and how often your machines are on standby. For large-scale operations, although costly it will prove better in the long-term to invest in space that can house all of your equipment. This will help you avoid higher costs incurred during holidays or sudden work-closures when suddenly more storage is needed.
For smaller operations where your workload constantly rises and falls, it would be a benefit to have a storage space where more than half of your equipment can be stored. This will allow sufficient room when the workflow slows down and less cement mixers and tools are needed as well as not costing as much as a full warehouse. During sudden closures when all sites are no longer operating, extra storage can possibly be gained at your current facility on a short-term contract to avoid extra transport costs, or less permanent solutions can be erected on-site to cater for the overflow.
Other Types of Equipment You Will Need to Store
Besides the tools and equipment mentioned above such as cement mixers and compactors, worker PPE is always required on a construction site and should also be maintained. This will ensure not only efficiency and replacement cost-savings, but also ensure that the utmost safety measures are being put in place to protect workers. Worker PPE can lose its durability or effectiveness if not stored correctly or for too long.
You will need to check what your exact requirements are for what you are working on at that time, but in general all workers need protective headwear such as a helmet and protective gloves. If any loud or dangerous machinery such as angle grinders are being used, anyone in the vicinity will need hearing protection and eye protection in the form of earmuffs and safety goggles. A better step is a full face shield that can be used for grinding and dangerous chemical work.
With chemicals and even dust producing machinery, respiratory protection is also a requirement for any workers in the vicinity. If employees are working high up harnesses and fall protection equipment and measures will also need to be put into place. During times that they are not in use, all of this equipment will also need to be stored and properly maintained from the elements.
Improperly stored equipment could degrade and fail while in use and this can be extremely dangerous. Respirators lose effectiveness over time, helmets not stored properly may lose their durability and safety harnesses could snap when they are most needed. All equipment needs to be stored properly and their expiration dates adhered to if they have them.
With the rise of the coronavirus there is also a need for masks and other protective equipment such as sanitisers. It may be cost-efficient to purchase these items in bulk and store them rather than purchasing them as needed and running the possibility of running out. Unless you specifically purchase reusable masks your workers will need to be provided with fresh disposable masks, if reusable ones are given out then sufficient space to clean and sanitise them should also be provided.
Should You Sell Your Cement Mixers?
Proper storage solutions can help you save maintenance costs but like all other things there is still a cost involved. If you find that your cement mixers and other machinery is sitting idle in a warehouse for months on end, it may be time for you to take a step back and see if the size of your operation actually necessitates the maintenance and storage costs incurred with owning large machinery. Owning frees you from the clutches of rental agencies, but the costs don’t end when you drive your shiny new cement mixer away from the store.
If constantly used you will need to frequently clean out and repair your machinery to maintain efficiency and as mentioned above there are numerous times when they simply won’t be needed. If you can foresee a very long period where your workload may not be as large as it once was, you should look into selling some of your excess machinery. Duplicates can be sold and the workload put onto one machine and if you sell off everything there are still the rental and leasing agencies at your quick disposal.
It is a difficult balancing act but you will need to weigh up the benefits and disadvantages of quick-flow of cash from selling and then constant costs of renting, or constant costs of storage and maintenance but the flexibility of owning your own cement mixers whenever a pour is needed or compactors when fresh sand needs to be flattened. Every business is different and will have different workloads throughout the year so one solution won’t work for everyone. As long as high quality and safety are always your top concerns you can never go too wrong in construction.