Two tips for safely transporting and handling your construction materials

Posted on: 5 June 2017

Damaged construction materials can not only drastically increase the costs of your project, but could also result in serious delays (due to the time spent waiting for the replacement materials to arrive). As such, it's sensible to take measures to ensure that your materials remain safe when they're being transported to the construction site and whilst they're being moved around inside it. Here are two ways to do this.

Keep materials secured inside the vehicle

When loading up the truck or van that you will be using to transport your materials, it is vital to ensure that the goods are fully secured before you begin your journey to the building site. If a heavy piece of steel frame or timber were to be thrown around in the vehicle's storage area whilst it's in transit, it could cause irreparable damage to fragile goods, such as glass sheeting.

As such, make sure to use the appropriate equipment to keep your materials stationary throughout the journey. Ratchet straps are usually the best option; these are made from extremely strong fabric, attached to robust fasteners that can be hooked onto the floor or internal walls of the vehicle.

If you will be using a trailer attached to a car or van to move your materials, it is also a good idea to use heavy-duty tarps, particularly if you will be transporting timber, as just one short spell of rain could result in the wood developing wet rot and mould.

Even with all of these measures in place, it is still important to keep a close eye on your materials throughout the drive. Ideally, you should pull over and examine the condition of the goods at least once every half an hour. During these inspections, make sure to tighten any ratchet straps that have loosened and re-pack any small items that may have fallen onto the floor of the storage container.

Hire trained staff to operate the lifting equipment

It is just as important to monitor the handling and movement of your construction materials after they arrive on the site, as damage can occur even during a short journey from one end of the site to the other.

The best way to keep your materials in perfect condition is to ensure that those tasked with handling them are trained to do so. If any goods need to be transported via a forklift or a crane, for instance, you should insist that only trained operators of these vehicles are allowed to perform these jobs.

A skilled and qualified operator will understand how to load materials properly (for example, they will know to evenly distribute items along the forklift to prevent weight imbalances). They will also be able to cope with any changes in terrain that might affect stability and cause the materials to fall to the ground.

Additionally, an experienced operator will be better equipped to accurately gauge the weight of construction materials they need to move and will be less likely to overload the machinery (overloading could cause the forklift to tip over or, in the case of a crane, cause the hoist to collapse and drop the materials).