Construction downtime leads to lost productivity that impacts your business. Whether the downtime is planned or unplanned, minimizing it should be part of your emergency strategy to avoid missing deadlines and disappointing your clients. Backup equipment is critical to reducing downtime and staying on track. Here’s why it’s so vital and what you should have on hand to circumvent unexpected delays.

Implications of Construction Downtime

Downtimes — unintended or not — are productivity killers. They extend project deadlines, disrupt workflows and bring everything to a halt. It makes you rethink how to compensate for the lost time, often resulting in rushed projects compromising quality. Here are the top negative consequences of downtime. 

It Costs Money

Metals, mining and heavy industrial companies lose 23 hours every month due to suspended operations, equating to 1.2 million hours a year across the entire sector. Because of these hefty costs, organizations can’t afford downtime. It prompts project delays, which merit another negotiation with the client. Many have preventive or emergency measures to bring loss as close to zero as possible. 

It Puts Your Reputation at Risk

Construction downtime compromises your good name when project deliverables are postponed. You also miss future opportunities with your existing partnerships. It’s hard to reverse these outcomes because business relationships thrive on trust. Promises mean more weight when it comes to long-term collaborations. Retracting the original deadline because of downtime can put a dent in your reputation.

You Can Get Sued

You may also face legal implications, such as breach of contract and negligence, for failing to meet the project timeline. Causes like a natural disaster may be justifiable, but if it’s due to an equipment breakdown, explain why things pivoted. You may have to pay damages to settle the problem. 

Importance of Backup Equipment 

Backup equipment is plan B for your emergency measures. It kicks in once the key tools fail because of electrical problems, operator error or improper operation. It’s critical to have it for reducing downtime. Backups can help:

  • Ensure continuity of operations: A working second excavator or wheel loader can quickly replace a piece of malfunctioning heavy machinery so contractors can carry on with the tasks without causing additional problems.
  • Minimize project delays and cost overruns: Extra equipment enables the team to cushion issues associated with delays and unexpected costs while honoring the timetable.
  • Enhance risk management and project resilience: A backup plan allows contractors and managers to control risky events that can raise the budget and the probability of the project failing.

Types of Backup Equipment in Reducing Downtime

Construction teams should have alternatives for the following machinery to make a seamless transition during work interruptions.

1. Power Generators

These are necessary to remedy construction downtime. In case of outages, generators can provide power sources to continue drilling, lifting or transporting tasks. These tools come in different sizes, power and fuel to suit every need. 

Portable generators are ideal for lighting and small-scale projects involving appliances and charging devices. Solar panels are an alternative. Companies promoting sustainability may choose this as their auxiliary power juice for sustaining handheld tools. It’s cost-effective  and appeals to environmentally conscious clients who come to you for a private residential project.

Meanwhile, diesel generators can boot larger equipment and heavy machinery, providing consistent electricity in case of major grid shutdowns. Construction managers may combine them with natural gas generators and use a hybrid system to run HVAC units when the supply is cut off.

Companies pair generators with transfer switches that instantly connect the equipment to backup power when the primary electricity source fails. This way, not even a minute is wasted in the contractors’ productive time. Automatic transfer switches can be arranged in different setups, like the standard utility to generator, which toggles power from the primary to the standby power source.

2. Spare Tools and Equipment

You should have reserve equipment for unforeseen situations, such as when a hand drill or a portable concrete mixer stops working. 

Secure spares for when the fundamental tools stop working. Failing to find a simple drill replacement could result in delays. Reserves are the quickest and most affordable solutions to breakdowns. Checking your inventory of parts should be included in your maintenance routine. Ensure you have a stock of components on hand to enable quick repairs and prevent further work interruptions. 

3. Temporary Climate Control Systems

Construction jobs are known to carry high risks — including the weather. During summer, the scorching heat can lead to elevated physical and mental fatigue in construction workers, reducing their performance, increasing the risk of errors and slowing down their reactions to correct these mishaps. 

A substitute HVAC system is critical in this case. A temporary climate control system can create a conducive environment for work and ensure the project is completed on time. It keeps the productivity levels of contractors high by regulating humidity.

Here’s another reason you need a backup HVAC — most contractors opt for a temporary system instead of a built-in one to condition the building before occupancy. It avoids ruining the warranty if the unit is used to heat a structure that’s not adequately enclosed and damages brand-new equipment. Additionally, it can expedite the drying of walls, remove moisture from the environment and protect the interior.

4. Communication Systems

Communication is critical in construction since several people engage in one task or project.  

Be sure to have an alternative phone that can send an SMS, a CB or a satellite handset. 

You’ll find these useful when communicating sudden project changes, updating people unable to attend meetings and during emergencies. They ensure seamless communication in all types of situations. 

Backup Equipment Can Minimize Construction Downtime

Planned downtime is one thing, but unprecedented ones often lead to financial losses. This affects the project through reduced productivity, revenue loss, substandard work quality due to rushing and dissatisfied customers. 

Focus on reducing downtime by investing in backup equipment as part of your contingency plan. Some outages are unpredictable, but at least you’ll be ready when construction downtime happens.