With COVID-19 restrictions across Australia and New Zealand calling for tradespeople to practice social distancing, tradies are modifying their work habits. The current guidelines require businesses to reduce the number of work-site tasks undertaken daily - putting pressure on everyone to do more with less. Then there is the requirement to shift rosters around so that there are less workers on-site at any time and doing all this without cutting corners on safety.
With a reduced crew and more to do, jobs once handled efficiently by three tradies on manual tools are now being done by one person and a machine. But uncertainty over future employment and work environments means tradies are wary of buying new equipment - hiring is the favoured option.
So let's look at how tradies in the building, plumbing, landscaping and electrical sectors can save time, and how some of our customers are working through COVID-19 with support from Kennards Hire.
Helping builders do more with less
Cameron Neilsen from Diamond Building and Constructions says one reason to hire equipment right now is that businesses don’t have the funds to purchase and are concerned about job security.
“A lot of builders are scared to spend, so hiring is a good option right now,” he says. “Hiring is not only time efficient, it’s cost efficient. You just go to Kennards and hire it – it’s easy.”
Cameron says social distancing has been another adjustment in terms of industry work habits.
“Everyone is being more careful about general hygiene.”
A 1.8 tonne mini excavator makes it easier to do more with less, reducing the number of workers on-site. With 360 degree cab rotation, an excavator allows one person to excavate and load a skip in a narrow space.
When the time comes to install elements like overhead duct work, a 19-32 foot scissor lift (electric or diesel) allows installers to safely reposition while remaining elevated, saving time.
Gear to help plumbers find problems fast
Young Plumbing Group’s Tom Young says equipment like a pipe/cable locator and transmitter takes the guesswork out of finding underground problems. The unit can locate underground energised and de-energised wires, cables and pipes, getting to the root of the problem faster.
In addition, a pipe camera can show the client as well as the plumber the cause of a broken pipe, whether it’s general deterioration, invasive roots or a reckless shovel.
“I hired a camera from Kennards recently with a transmitter that sends a signal so you can see where it’s running,” Tom says.
“Again, it takes out the guesswork. With the camera you can show the client what’s going on. People like to see what the problem is first-hand.”
Tom says he uses a mobile hydraulic platform for higher-level stack work because it’s faster, safer and more convenient. Instead of shifting ladders, platform and contents can be moved without the need for the operator to descend.
As is the case for many trades, COVID-19 has affected how Tom and his crew behave on-site.
“The virus has made us a whole lot more conscious of social distancing,” he says. “Clients like it if you’re maintaining a distance and wearing gloves. You need to reassure people that you’re taking steps to be careful.”
Assisting landscapers to reduce workers on-site
Aaron Weston employs 14 people at his business, Westcon Landscaping. He says a mini excavator reduces the number of workers needed on a site, which helps him comply with social distancing rules. The machine also speeds up the time it takes to dig and level a surface.
“We use the excavator every day, as well as the post hole digger,” Aaron says. “The excavator cuts the number of boys on-site down to an operator and a spotter.”
It only takes one person to operate a hand-held, petrol-driven post hole digger for boring fence post holes or planting shrubs and trees. For removing tree stumps, a four-stroke, petrol-powered stump grinder can reduce a 300mm high stump to 250mm below ground. Aaron usually uses a petrol model, grinding the stump down before filling in the cavity.
He says COVID-19 rules have slowed some tasks down, which makes time-saving machines like the excavator and post hole digger more valuable so the crew can get to other tasks on-site.
“If we’re building a retaining wall, we can’t hand the blocks directly to each other. We have to place the blocks down and get the next person to pick them up. The regulations require extra handling to get the job done.”
Reducing the time electricians need to spend on-site
For electricians working on commercial or large residential projects, a self-propelled scissor lift comes in handy. A common scissor lift feature is an extending deck, which allows for extra reach while staying safe at height. It can travel while elevated and has pot-hole safety protection. There’s also 240V power to the deck, plus proportional speed and lift controls.
“If you’re doing commercial work you save lots of time, you can’t work off an 18-foot ladder, you have to use them in commercial jobs,” he says.
“Travelling while operating means you don’t have to go up and down.”
When placing temporary electrical cables across public pathways and roads, high visibility cable ramps protect cables and eliminates trip hazards. Cables are laid into channels within the ramp, which is then sealed, shielding cables from passing traffic. This speeds up the time and reduces the social interaction needed to place cables, while also protecting the public.
These items and a lot more besides are available from your local Kennards Hire branch, where every bit of equipment is cleaned and sanitised before being sent out.
With contactless pickup and delivery methods in place, a signature is not required and social distancing applies while customers are being shown how to use equipment. Call your nearest Kennards Hire branch for the tools to help get your jobs completed faster.