Construction site logistics is a complex and core component of building construction. It details how to move heavy equipment and labor onto and around a construction site pragmatically, safely, and efficiently. If you’re a project planner, developer, or construction manager, you’ll need to consider both site logistics and supply chain management to meet your business objectives.
The pandemic has also brought about new realities that affect every aspect of the construction process. Prudent decision-making and a proactive approach are prerequisites to navigating this new normal, and all the more reason for having robust construction site logistics.
What Is Construction Logistics?
Construction site logistics refers to the supply and disposal of material shipments, equipment, and personnel to and from a construction site. Strategic construction logistics planning is essential to ensure material and equipment arrive on time and undamaged. Additionally, it also maintains the teams’ safety and enables a productive workflow.
Construction Site Logistics Considerations
Every construction site has a multitude of materials and resources that need to be delivered on time, to the correct locations on-site, and according to management’s rules. The absence of a construction logistics plan (CPL) can bottleneck the entire project. Urban developments on tight sites and busy roads require additional considerations to limit delays and disturbance to adjacent properties and the public.
Below are some of the numerous considerations that need to be factored into construction site operations and safety protocols:
- Materials and equipment required for every step of the construction
- Zoning restrictions and construction permits
- Construction team size
- Off-site prefabrication and assembly
- Material procurement and supply chain management
- Personnel and pedestrian safety
- Warehouse storage and inventory management
- Quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA)
- Loading and unloading bays for materials
- Vehicle types and size
- Transport and delivery routes
- Safe access routes to and from the construction site
- Equipment, tools, and construction cranes for lifting and hoisting
- The frequency of deliverables
- Any demolition or preparatory excavation work
Time and space management is vital, as deliveries and interim storage activities are adjusted according to the needs and progress of the construction process. The positions of new materials and equipment have to align with the construction plan, which may include sorting and picking, depending on the scope of the project.
Interim storage also has to be safely arranged in a space-saving manner to keep costs low, certain equipment and materials shouldn’t be left exposed to the elements, and this has to be accounted for. All these variables and processes can be factored into a strategic site logistics plan that improves productivity and adheres to compliance.
What Are The Benefits of a Site Logistics Plan?
To quote Benjamin Franklin: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Logistically speaking, poor planning leads to inefficiencies and lost revenue. Logistics construction management teams have to create a timeline for each stage of the project, and planning aids waste reduction, organization, and efficiency in the following ways:
- Healthy Cash Flow: A site logistics plan ensures you have the correct number of materials at the correct time. It reduces the risk of money wasted on surplus material that could have been spent elsewhere. It also minimizes the potential of emergency material procurement that may be more expensive to purchase on short notice.
- Sustainability: Every time a truck arrives and departs from a construction site, a project’s carbon footprint increases. For example, scheduling deliveries outside of peak traffic reduces time on the road and greenhouse gas emissions. A detailed CPL decreases carbon dioxide emissions and produces less landfill waste.
- Orderliness: Logistical planning helps maintain order, promoting further efficiency and overall health and safety for workers. The smoother the logistics processes are within a construction project, the more value a construction company can offer its clients. Ultimately, a well-run construction site translates to a positive client experience.
Construction Logistics and Supply Chain Management
The success of a construction project relies on the synergy between supply chain management and construction logistics. All stakeholders should have a comprehensive understanding of the resources, on-site logistics, and expertise needed to deliver the project on time and within budget. A single oversight can cause serious delays, so procuring reliable contractor relationships and careful planning are key.
According to the global consultancy company Turner and Townsend, construction supply chains can be lean or agile. Currently, the industry is transforming to accommodate automated processes through technology and digital intelligence to improve efficiencies as buildings have become increasingly complex and require design input by specialist suppliers.
Simultaneously, there is industry fragmentation due to the growth of these specialist contractors, the proliferation of products, and fragmentation of design and control activities, which is why an efficient supply chain is vital. Suppose the supply chain is the interconnected hierarchy of supply contracts necessary to procure a built asset. In that case, logic follows that sound supply chain management can lower margins, aid long-term project planning, and repeat pairing with clients.
Although each supply chain is different, participants involved at various stages of the process should always strive to ensure the smooth running of the entire project. A tight supply chain provides certainty regarding the timely availability of supplies necessary to complete the project according to compliance and client deadlines. Contractors need to establish a reliable supply chain that enables the productive performance and success of their businesses.
Core Elements of Effective Safety Planning?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides in-depth guidelines for implementing a safe construction site that adheres to standard compliance protocols. Some include:
- Safety Training: A site-specific induction needs to be carried out for all employees.
- Safety Audits: Having procedures in place to report, assess, and address potential risks.
- On-site security: Cordoning off restricted areas to avoid theft of and damage to materials, as well as protect personnel and the public from construction hazards.
- Clear signage: Everyone on site should be able to access safety protocols and resources, as well as find amenities, fire equipment, and entry/exit points.
- Provide protective equipment (PPE): PPE such as high visibility vests, safety goggles, and safety harnesses, as well as hardhats, is compulsory to ensure worker protection.
- Chemical storage compliance: To reduce the risk of fires, explosions, asphyxiation, explosions, and pollution, chemicals need to be stored safely and securely.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to construction site logistics and supply chain management. We know there’s nothing more frustrating than experiencing project delays due to mismanagement. At Cowtown Express, we’ll ensure your distribution and delivery network is infallible. With over 30 years of experience in the construction industry, our expert team and vast network of carriers are here to help you meet your production demands. Find out more about our construction shipping and logistics today!