Top Strategies for Rental Success

By taking time to understand department needs, managers can ensure a successful experience.

By Thomas A. Westerkamp, contributing writer  

Maintenance and engineering departments rely on a range of rented equipment to supplement their in-house resources. No matter the equipment — from portable generators and cooling units to specialized power tools and mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) — managers must have a strategy in place to ensure they rent the most appropriate and effective tools when the need arises to ensure a successful rental experience. 

By assessing a department’s specific equipment rental needs, staying abreast of product advances, and taking time to understand contracts, costs, safety, and operator training requirements, managers can ensure a successful rental experience.  

Assessing needs 

Just as each department’s staff possesses different skills and experiences, each project presents managers looking to rent equipment with a unique set of issues and challenges. The manager’s challenge is to understand the project’s specific needs in order to make the most appropriate equipment rental decision. 

Let’s consider a project that involves placing 15 32-feet-long by 4-feet-wide prestressed concrete double tee beams, supported by iron work previously installed by an in-house integrated maintenance and construction department. Among the questions that managers need to answer before renting equipment to complete the task are these: 

  • What is the location? A low-slope roof on a three-story building 
  • Is the rental ongoing, intermittent or a one-time need? One-time need 
  • Does the department have the capability in house to complete the project? No 
  • What type of equipment does the task require? A truck crane with an operator 
  • What are the terrain and site conditions? Outdoors, level ground and dry 
  • What are the requirements for the rental equipment’s capacity, load, height and reach? The equipment must be able to lift beams with a load capacity of one beam, and it must have a 100-foot boom and a 20-foot stick. 

In this example, the manager might decide to hire a prestressed concrete manufacturer who visits the site to determine requirements and write a proposal. This proposal lists lessor costs and their responsibilities to: manufacture and deliver the prestressed concrete beams; provide flatbed trucks and drivers to deliver them to the owner’s site and move them on site; provide a truck crane with necessary load, height and reach capacity and an operator to operate the crane and helper to install them on the roof. 

The operator positions the truck crane and lifts the beams onto the roof. The helper does onsite maintenance of the truck crane, such as a safety inspection; checks if all safety accessories, such as outriggers for balance, are attached and working properly; performs preventive maintenance and lubrication; and rigs the beams and positions them on the roof’s I-beam supports. 

The helper also measures the overall length of the roof to be covered and swings them into position so there is uniform space between beams as they are lifted to the roof and over the parapet by the operator. The helper stick-welds two steel plates onto embedded steel in the beams to connect one beam to the next and integrate all the beams. 

The owner provides the staging area for the flatbed trucks and access to the staging area. The owner also provides access for the truck crane and access for the flatbed trucks at the building so the crane hook can reach the center of the beams where each one is rigged for the lift. 

Thomas A. Westerkamp is a maintenance and engineering management consultant and president of the work management division of Westerkamp Group LLC. 

Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »

  posted on 11/3/2022   Article Use Policy

Related Topics: