What to check for when hired equipment arrives on your project
The task of receiving equipment deliveries is often left to a person who has not been told what to look for. Things to check when hired equipment arrives on the project include:
- That the item is actually for the project (sounds very basic, but it wouldn’t be the first time something is delivered to the incorrect project).
- That the item is what was ordered – sometimes suppliers deliver smaller, or bigger, machines, and on occasion even the wrong item. (Bigger items usually use more fuel and they might not be suited for the task. Obviously, small items may be ineffective, and you’ll probably be paying the price of the original item that was ordered.)
- Damage to the item, such as; bumps, scratches, cracked windows and damaged lights. These damages should be noted on the delivery note, put in writing to the supplier, and if possible photographs should be submitted to the supplier, as well as a set kept on the project. Suppliers will charge for damages they find on the machine when it’s returned, so it’s important to record existing damages so the project isn’t charged for pre-existing damage when the item is returned.
- The condition of wearing parts and cutting edges, since the project is normally charged for their replacement or additional wear.
- The condition of the tires, because those that are damaged or in a poor condition often result in deflated tires, which not only cost time to repair but the project could be liable for new tires when the item is returned to the supplier.
- Ensuring the item is in a roadworthy and in an operational condition, that there aren’t oil leaks. It has to be able to do what it’s supposed to do.
- That all the parts and fittings are included with the delivery, and that wheeled machines come with at least one spare tire.
- The fuel level of the machine which should be recorded, since suppliers normally expect their machines to be returned full of fuel, and will charge for additional fuel they have to put in (but of course the converse doesn’t happen, and often machines arrive with minimal fuel. When large items take several hundred litres of fuel, this could result in a significant additional cost).
- When the item is being charged at a mileage rate, the odometer reading should be recorded and compared to what’s on the delivery document.
- When the item is being charged for the hours or days it’s on the project, then it could be important to record the time the machine arrived on the project. For example, if the item arrived in the late afternoon, the project shouldn’t be charged for that day.
Where the item is supplied with an operator, it’s important to check that the operator has all the correct licenses to operate the equipment. The operator should attend a project-specific introduction or induction so that they are aware of the rules and the hazards of the project before they start working.
Understanding the conditions in the hire agreement
Often items of equipment are hired, but the project team has not read the terms of the hire agreement, which can be fairly stringent. The terms should include:
- The hire rate for the machine, and whether it’s charged hourly, daily or monthly.
- The minimum hours, or minimum days, the item will be invoiced for.
- Whether a surcharge applies if the machine is worked excessive hours or travels more kilometres.
- What the hire charges will be if the machine can’t work due to rain, force-majeure, or non-work days on the project.
- Which party is responsible for insurance – more importantly is the machine insured?
- Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance (these costs can sometimes be large, adding significantly to the hire costs).
- Who supplies fuel, oil and cutting edges, and for cranes the slings.
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