Portable Generators for Construction Sites




Copyright © 2007 Will Gruver

Portable power generators are an essential part of the construction industry. In many situations, contractors may find themselves at job sites where the lack of electrical service or power failures requires them to utilize portable lighting units. The same portable lighting equipment has come into play during disaster-recovery operations such as the recent Hurricane Katrina crisis, and multitudes of other situations where damaging weather wreaked havoc. Portable power generators allow the contractors or disaster relief personnel to extend working hours for almost any project and help them meet deadlines or put in overtime hours, until the task is completed.

Ultimately, there is not one specific set of circumstances that determines whether portable lighting will be required. There is a wide range of lighting equipment use, from small tasks to enormous undertakings. In areas where power is available, compact portable lighting often brightens dark work areas. Generally, road crews and construction sites frequently use lighting towers with four 1,000-watt lamps to light their workspace, after the sun goes down.

Lighting towers are the ultimate in portability and are able to be operated off a portable generator, which comes in handy during road-paving projects. The workers simply attach the lighting unit to the road paving equipment, with the unit connected to an on-board power source. At times, portable power units can also be used in lighting for recreational events and indoor lighting where other lighting sources aren’t available. The lighting units with a self-attached power generator can generally operate between 60 and 100 hours before refueling.

Most electricians use light towers for large outdoor job site illumination and portable lights for their indoor lighting needs. In-fact, most job site illumination is done through the use of rented rather than owned products. Light towers and portable power generators are popular rental items, and it is very likely that many of the units on job sites today are actually rented units. Temporary lighting is a staple of the construction industry and demands for such lighting solutions ranges from the practical to precautionary.

Another big area where power generators are used is in countless farms all across the United States. Irrigation pumps and other equipment are the workhorses in an industry vital to our national economy and quality of life. 

On many occasions, generator powered equipment is used to move crops from the farm to the dinner table. The use of generators for agricultural operations is critical in remote locations. They permit farmers and ranchers to perform critical tasks, which helps to save time and effort increasing productivity.

The U.S. construction industry employs nearly six million people and contributes billions annually to the economy. This is due in no small part to the power that they are able to harness from power generators, which allows them to work in remote locations for long periods of time.

The majority of complaints associated with the nighttime construction are noise, vibration, and illumination. Noise problems are normally caused by the operation of the power generators. While good illumination is necessary for the work to proceed at night and for the safety of the traveling public, proper work zone illumination can be very intrusive to project neighbors. 

Noise generation on most construction projects is the result of equipment that requires the use of power generators, including the lighting equipment. Many of the power generator components are liable to generate noise that will generally be continuous. To make things worse for neighbors, job sites will typically remain operational for a few days to a few weeks, ensuring that the noise issue will be a short-term nuisance.

A significant number of construction projects involve urban work.  Therefore, it is inevitable that loud generators might be part of the arrangement.  Although job site noise is a nuisance to most people, many residents also consider the improved conditions they will experience once the project is completed.

Given the additional quandary of breaking traffic flows during the daytime hours, many municipalities are requiring road crews to only work at night, when traffic is light.

Many job site managers do take steps to minimize noise pollution from the job site. Many sites employ source control mechanisms by adding insulation to engine compartments and exhaust systems to the power generator engines. Other job sites try to employ path controls, which try to utilize barriers and walls to the best effect to reduce noise from the job site. The majority of job sites try to utilize a combination of both approaches.

Unfortunately for local residents, it is seldom possible to completely eliminate noise from the job site, so patience is often required from local residents as work crew’s rush to complete their work.

About The Author:

Written by: Will Gruver of US Power & Environment. USPE's Eden Prairie, MN headquarters, assisted by in-house product technical and operations specialists, has the experience gained from supplying, installing and maintaining on-site energy systems across the country and around the world. They buy, sell, rent and repair natural gas and diesel power generators. To learn more, visit their website at: http://www.uspowerco.com or give them a call at: 877-772-6018