07 May 2018

Power Your Project from Start to Finish

scaffolding cranes worker

Power Your Project from Start to Finish

Every jobsite has multiple facets working separately and together as a whole. Think about each and every element that makes up a site, from the cranes and boom lifts, to the job trailers and every tool that subcontractors need to get their job done. Each of these individual “cogs” need power in order to keep construction moving forward.

What does a lack of power mean to your budget? To your schedule? To your subcontractors? Are there alternatives you should be seeking out, and what are they? If that power isn’t online and flowing through the site, how are you going to offer peace of mind to all of those involved that your power problem will soon be solved? All of these are questions you’ve undoubtedly asked yourself at some point in time.

Without power – especially adequate power - construction can come to a grinding halt, costing contractors time and money. Fixing power shortage and outages rapidly should be at the top of the list for any contractor, but it can be difficult when the power supply is connected throughout a wider area that’s draining its resources. 

Relying on a power grid that serves a wide area isn’t the only challenge, though. Often times the local utility can be delayed in connecting temporary power to the site. When construction schedules depend on the availability of this power, any delay has a trickle-down effect on the whole project. Thunderstorms or any sudden change in weather conditions can bring a jobsite crashing to a standstill, while failing permanent transformers and switchgear can put the entire job in jeopardy. And, unfortunately, the failure of some generators isn’t always obvious, so they may go for long periods of time without functioning at full capacity. 

Even the tiniest of power outages or a small hiccup in the power system can cause a massive problem for contractors, particularly if it goes undetected for any period of time. 

And then there’s the huge amount of fuel that jobsites need. The average construction operation can consume hundreds of gallons of diesel every day and, with some of the most common pieces of on-site equipment, consumption can easily surpass 50 gallons of diesel an hour. Managing the huge quantities of fuel needed to generate a jobsite is one of the largest expenses for any project, and handling it correctly can save contractors thousands of dollars. 

Power - Vital To Any Jobsite

Let’s face it, power is needed for pretty much everything on a jobsite. Cranes, job trailers, and the tools and equipment subcontractors use need power, so each and every facet of the site can work smoothly in tandem.

If one area fails, it can create chaos for everyone involved. This is why it’s vital for contractors to have a standby power supply or electrical distribution system in place in case of an outage. 

And a power outage can strike at any moment. Take the Chicagoland area that was hit with an unexpected thunderstorm. Power outages plunged the city and its surrounding areas into darkness, causing huge businesses to cut out for a short period of time - or so they thought.

In fact, a 53,000 square foot casino was thought to have been out of power for just an hour or so. This wasn’t a disaster for the hotspot that generates millions of dollars of revenue every single hour - until they found out that the power outage wasn’t temporary.

The casino’s transformer had been struck by lightning, causing permanent damage and a long-term power outage that affected the entire facility - a revelation that could easily have cost the casino millions in revenue. 

The location of the casino, a barge, meant the facility faced additional challenges. But, most importantly, it needed a complex solution that would keep things ticking over while the transformer was properly repaired. 

Aggreko worked with the onsite electrical contractor to quickly bring in a solution to help alleviate the severe damage that meant the transformer needed to be replaced completely. The answer was to bring in two generators that operated in tandem to share the electrical load while repairs were carried out. 

This not only reduced the fuel consumption but, in addition, ensured the equipment needed didn’t impede access for pedestrians and vehicles - a must-have for the unique location of the casino and its reliance on daily footfall for revenue. 

How Hybrid Power Keeps You Running

Our Hybrid Power System has been designed to help jobsite managers save money and reduce emissions. For example, when the jobsite shuts down for the night and the primary generator has been switched off, it will power low-load applications with 3kW of battery power.

When the battery pack reaches 50%, the Hybrid Power System automatically restarts the generator to recharge. Your trailer, security system, or site lighting can run through the night with a dramatic reduction in fuel and generator usage.

Because the system uses no fuel, it costs nothing to operate and doesn’t produce any emissions or noise, giving jobsite managers the chance to save money with an alternative to a small power need. 

Fuel Management

If you unexpectedly ran out of fuel, what negative impacts would that have for your project, your timeline, and your budget?

Having a fuel management service reduces the stress of having to plan deliveries. Something that is fully optimized and managed alongside a jobsite’s operating pattern is what project managers have come to expect. While we monitor the fuel consumption and supply, taking care of any refueling without interruption, managers and subcontractor can continue to focus on the installations, renovations, and maintenance needed to get the job done.

Distribution of Power and the Bigger Picture

Because there are so many electrical elements on a jobsite or property that need to be powered day in and day out, it’s important for contractors to consider how that power is distributed amongst the equipment and throughout the site. The ability to distribute power across the entire site, whether the project is several stories tall or ten football fields wide, helps keep everyone working with the required power they need. 

Where do the distribution panels need to be set and how many do you need? Does that power need to stepped up or down from the temporary pole? Is the existing electrical system capable of handling the power demands during this expansion? There are countless other questions that come into play when deciding how to get power across your project. The one question you can’t leave unanswered is “who is capable of handling this?”. 

There are countless providers out there, but sifting through the information can take more time than you have. So a few things to consider when looking for the right one:

  • A proven track record of work
  • Specialization in the field
  • Fleet of equipment and availability

These seem obvious, but can often fall by the wayside when we’re in a rush trying to get the job moving. But what good is the power if you can’t move it from A to point B? A voltage drop because of faulty equipment or a lack of amperage because of a lack of experience in the setup may not spell doom to your project. But they can cause a bottleneck you don’t want or need to worry about.

Obviously, some equipment will use more power than others, which makes it more difficult to find a temporary solution to any power outages. At Aggreko, we strive to provide reliable and cost-effective rented power generators that can be individually designed to fit each and every outage case. 

Making sure your jobsite doesn’t grind to a halt when an outside forces like thunderstorms, lack of utility availability, or a power grid failure hits is a vital part of the process for contractors, and making sure that they have temporary solutions in place should anything happen is a top priority. 

Keep Your Jobsite Powered All Year