Choosing the Right Excavator Rental
Renting the right equipment for a project may seem like an obvious first step; however, the impact it has on efficiency is often overlooked. In cases where you end up renting or buying smaller equipment than what your job requires, the production rate will immediately drop, and so will the construction process.
Although some projects may call for specific tools or equipment, there are going to be times when the supplier does not have the necessary model in-store. When this happens, most project managers will consider opting for a smaller design that can still get the job done. The reasoning here is to avoid wasting any time waiting to order the right equipment.
However, the issues with this reasoning are as follows:
1. It’s short-sighted thinking
2. Often inaccurate
3. Renting the wrong equipment does not help the project cycle
4. Smaller equipment will take longer to complete the task
5. It negatively impacts operation speed
While improving productivity seems like the best decision,
it does not always provide long-term advantages. By getting the right equipment
at the start—before breaking ground—it will be easier to hit the intended
deadlines on time. Choosing the right equipment for the job has been proven to
produce higher-quality work and increase the overall productivity rate.
Preparation and Site Readiness
There are a few things that need to be considered before you begin preparing your site for work. Some include, but are not limited to the following:
Site access: How will your team and the necessary equipment
get to the site for preparation? Plan out where you will park the equipment,
the location of surrounding infrastructure, and how deliveries will be handled
when the time comes.
1. Safety: Assess the potential dangers on the site, and have a
plan in place to manage safety protocols to keep the team protected.
2. Scheduling: To ensure time is used efficiently, have a designated team for each step of the preparation.
3. A recommended timeline for site preparation involves four
Soil and geotechnical reporting
During this reporting phase, tests are taken of the soil to ensure the correct foundation, slope, groundwater, and other decisions
are made for the project. This helps align the actual site conditions to the
recommendations and plans of the design, as well as construction teams.
Clearing and excavation
The clearing process involves removing all vegetation and
excavating the soil to make way for the setting of the foundation.
For stability, the soil beneath the foundation must be compacted
to the right density before any construction can proceed. The extent to which
compaction is required varies depending on the soil type and conditions.
Effective Operation Techniques
Use the right machine
With so many options available, it can be difficult to know
exactly which excavator is right for your project. The type of project you’re
working on will determine the exact size and model of the excavator needed.
Different equipment is required for excavation slopes or digging at an angle
than dealing with mostly flat terrain.
Know the 70% rule—and follow it
The 70% rule comes into play when you are working on a
slope. While it usually is not a problem to excavate on a slope, anything over
a 70% slope grade should be considered dangerous and recognized as the maximum
working limit. A surveyor can help assess the steepness of a slope to determine
whether it is safe to excavate or not.
Examine the conditions
Given that the elements—such as rain, snow, ice, loose
rocks, mud, etc.—can have a drastic impact on a site’s conditions, it’s best to
avoid working when these elements are present. Wait for the bad conditions to
pass before starting up again, keeping in mind you may need to clear the site
again to improve the terrain’s stability.
Strategies for Productive Excavation
Positioning the Excavator
The optimum setup for an excavator allows the operator to
dig to the front or rear while dumping to the sides. Ideally, an excavator will
sit on a larger platform, allowing for better stability underneath the machine.
Optimizing Digging Range
Digging outside the range of your excavator stick—35 to 45 degrees from the vertical back to a vertical position—lowers efficiency, lengthens cycle times, and could cause instability.
Ideally, the bucket should be filled by the time your stick returns to the vertical position. To optimize this, the operator should use the stick crowd force and bucket curl force to give the machine breakout power without burning through additional fuel.
Finding and Marking Utilities
Calling the local One Call System in your region before beginning to dig is a legal requirement for a construction project and can save you both time, as well as money, down the line. The call should be made at least 48 hours before you plan to start digging, outlining where and when the excavation will happen.
A local utilities representative will then be dispatched to
the area to mark their facilities. Keep in mind that these markings are
approximate, and operators should keep a tolerance zone between 18 and 36
inches to either side of the mark.
Optimizing Fuel Efficiency and Cost Management
Reduce Idle Times
Data has shown that idling contributes to over 6 billion gallons of wasted gasoline and diesel combined, annually. In addition to increasing fuel costs, idling a machine for extended periods has the potential to wear out components, thus shortening the lifespan of the engine.
Some recommendations for reducing idling are:
1. Allow a maximum of five minutes for the engine to warm
2. Limit shut-down time to two minutes for older equipment.
Keep equipment off during breaks.
Available idling technology can help mitigate these issues
further by reducing the engine’s revolutions per minute once a machine has been
idle for some time.
Regular maintenance and equipment inspections are known to extend the lifespan of both the components as well as the overall machine. This can involve:
• Adjusting belts to their proper tension
• Lubricating machines
• Adjusting track tensions
• Completing tire checks
• Sharpening cutting edge and teeth
• Frequent oil changes
Air filter changes
As well, replacing machine fluids according to the
maintenance schedule is an ideal solution for improving fuel efficiency.
Ensuring your machines receive the proper fluid type and amount allows them to
run more effectively, without risking damage or operational failure.
Provide Proper Training
Integrated training programs have been proven to be effective in developing skilled operators who understand the importance of proper equipment use. These programs can involve teaching new—and experienced—operators how to:
• Drive safely and responsibly
• Avoid sharp braking
• Avoid rapid acceleration
• Reduce excessive idling
• Limit or avoid speeding
• Obtain good operating habits
• Become knowledgeable about fuel efficiency
To improve the overall performance of your excavator rental, operators should be trained on the
available features and how they impact fuel efficiency outcomes. Ongoing
training throughout the project helps reinforce these behaviours, improving the
overall performance across all job tasks.
Safety, Compliance, and Project Management
Conduct Thorough Equipment Inspections
Before renting or purchasing any piece of construction equipment, you should always conduct a thorough inspection or ask a trained operator to do so. Confirming its safety and reliability is essential to guaranteeing effective performance of all equipment throughout the project.
The inspection should include:
• Reviewing all components (mechanical, electrical, and
• Checking for signs of wear, damage, or malfunction.
• Checking for proper functionality of safety features, such
as brakes, lights, alarms, and backup cameras.
• Inspecting the condition of tires, tracks, and other moving
• Identifying potential safety hazards and addressing them
Verify Equipment Compliance and Certification
When renting or buying any construction equipment, it’s crucial to verify that the machinery meets the necessary compliance standards and has the required certifications. You should receive all confirmation before leaving the supplier with the equipment. These requirements include:
• Equipment adherence to safety guidelines set by the
• Compliance labels, tags, or certificates indicate that the
equipment has undergone proper testing and meets safety standards.
• Confirmation that the equipment is designed, manufactured,
and maintained to operate safely, reducing the risk of accidents and legal
How to Take Advantage of Excavator Rentals
Renting equipment from a reputable supplier can mean the
difference between completing a construction job efficiently or fumbling the
project altogether. With the wide range of high-quality equipment available at
your disposal, you want to ensure you receive the right equipment for the job.
Do your research ahead of time and come prepared with a well-thought-out plan.