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Managers' Roles Expand into Light Construction
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: Four Key Questions When Specifying Light-Construction EquipmentPt. 3: Attachments Ensure Versatility in Light-Construction EquipmentPt. 4: Light-Construction Equipment: Rent vs. BuyPt. 5: Operators Need Training on Light-Construction Equipment
Times are changing for grounds departments in institutional and commercial facilities. For years, managers and crews have fine-tuned their skills by performing traditional grounds care activities, including mowing turf and maintaining landscaped areas. But as their roles have expanded, managers now have begun to learn more about equipment they can use to tackle light-construction projects, such as installing irrigation systems and building hardscapes.
“It seems like more of our customers are looking at ways to expand their business or to reduce their overall cost by taking on some of the work themselves that they used to hire out,” says Kevin Hershberger, senior market professional with Caterpillar.
Mowers and utility vehicles still are the most widely used pieces of equipment in many grounds department fleets. But it is becoming more common for managers to specify light-construction equipment, such as skid-steer loaders, large tractors, and excavators, to complete projects designed to bring value to their organizations and further enhance the appearance of their landscapes.
As grounds departments take on these new responsibilities, manufacturers and dealers are working together to ensure managers have the equipment and training necessary to complete this new array of tasks safely and efficiently. Before specifying this equipment, managers have to answer key questions, including whether to rent or buy, and they need to understand the attachment options available to make equipment more versatile and crews more productive.