With construction site cleanup regulations becoming more stringent, sweeping contractors might find doors of opportunity opened to expand their business.
Cleanup happens on a variety of construction sites including new construction, road building, demolition, and rebuilding areas picking up materials from mud to spillage of large and small gravel. Due to the various sizes and structure of materials picked up, some sweepers will be more efficient than others. Because every job and market is different, it is up to contractors to determine if a unit upgrade is needed.
Construction Sites vs. Parking Lots
Sweeping equipment manufacturers say there has been consistent growth in construction site sweeping. As laws continue to be put into action monitoring stormwater regulations, it is increasingly important for construction firms to manage the material on their site. With several types of debris being tracked out onto roads, it is necessary for proper clean up to be taken. “Storm Water Phase III mandates that no construction site be allowed to exist if it is tracking material out onto the road,” says Brian Giles, Elgin sweeper product manager. “The fines are high, and if you don’t do it they will come take your discharge permit away — shutting down your site.”
As a result, many construction firms look to outsourcing as a cost-effective way to manage their waste and avoid fines. “Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to purchase and/or keep a sweeper (and operator) on site when it is only needed periodically,” says John Paraschak, Stewart-Amos. “Construction site cleaning can easily be added to most sweeping schedules and provides a nice chunk of supplemental revenue.”
Determining what unit to use on each site depends solely on the job. “You have to look at what is being swept,” says Tom Rokas, inside sales at Tymco. “Sometimes construction sites are so bad that they don’t need a sweeper, they need a front end loader. Sometimes going from parking lot sweeping to construction site sweeping presents a different set of challenges.”
One main challenge that Paraschak sees is that construction sites are far dirtier and contain higher concentrations of all types of debris. “This includes heavy fine dust, rock, stone, gravel, mud, sand, and all types of construction material,” he says. “Some of this is ground into the surface and forms a crust that can prove difficult to remove. By comparison, the typical parking lot contains lighter and less concentrated debris that is scattered about or collects in corners and along curbs. This type of debris is much easier to remove.”
Contractors can complete construction site cleanups with their smaller units, but they might face a variety of challenges. “A parking lot sweeper could do the job, the problem is that because of the size the power isn’t going to be there, and it may get frustrating for the operator to tackle a big job with a parking lot sweeper,” Rokas says. “There are alternatives, such as medium-size sweepers, that would be a better choice for construction cleanup. A medium-size sweeper may give you equal maneuverability and larger hopper capacity.”
Giles points out that because parking lot sweepers can’t pick up all of the material on a construction site, they will have to jump out and pick up the chunks and throw it in the back tearing up the machine. He also notes that contractors who use small units will have an issue getting rid of the material.
Some Available Models
A number of manufacturers make machines suitable for construction site sweeping. Tymco offers three models — Model 435, Model 500x, and Model 600. The Model 435 has a 72-in. lift for the hopper with a 32-in.-diameter gutter broom. The Model 500x has a usable hopper capacity of 4 cu. yds. and a variable dump height from 2 -11 ft. The Model 600 comes with a pick-up head and optional Broom Assist Head.