Weighing the Choices in the Aerial Work Arena

  May 21, 2013

When narrowing down the options for the most appropriate piece of lift equipment, one of the primary determinants — besides specifying desired equipment features and proper accessories — is the length of service required and the anticipated frequency of use. If a manager is responsible for an integrated maintenance and construction department that has a continuous need for an aerial work platform and heavy lifting for a fairly continuous schedule of construction and maintenance tasks, the most appropriate option is to buy either a new unit or a reconditioned unit.

To determine the best option, a good place to start is to review the past several years' worth of work-order activity and the backlog of work still to be done, with the goal of identifying the tasks that require aerial equipment. Answering several key questions is essential to determine the optimum aerial equipment selection.

What kinds of tasks can managers anticipate that will require an aerial work platform? Personnel or material lifting? Electrical-insulator cleaning? Window washing and or tuckpointing building exteriors? Interior or exterior relamping? Structural construction work? Roof repair or construction? HVAC component installation, repair or replacement?

After assessing tasks that require an aerial work platform for technicians, the next step is to sort the tasks by the type of equipment each requires. This process will reveal the best options.

Before making a final decision, managers also need to consider the availability of storage space for the equipment, as well as heavy-equipment operations and maintenance staff to use the equipment and perform repairs and preventive maintenance necessary to keep the equipment in top condition over the long haul.

Managers also must consider the cost and space requirements of parts inventories for the aerial word platforms, as well as repair-shop space, tools and equipment, such as a lift or grease pit. Along with these requirements, safety, operation and maintenance training programs are needed to support the effort.


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