The Top 4 Most Commonly Used Heavy Construction Equipment And Their Uses


Any time you pass by a construction site, especially if you have young children, you are often forced to stop because they are fascinated by the heavy equipment. Watching them work, you can understand why. They are feats of modern engineering.

Looking at a heavy construction grade excavator or dump truck work always prompts questions. How are they able to do what they do? Which are the most used and why? If you’ve been hankering for answers, then you’ll find them below.

The Top 4 pieces of heavy construction equipment

  • Excavator
  • Bulldozer
  • Forklift
  • Crane

The Excavator

Of the heavy-duty equipment, perhaps there is none more versatile than the excavator. Excavators can be used for digging foundations. If you’ve passed by just begun construction and marveled at the depth of a foundation and the precision with which its sides were cut, that is likely the work of an excavator.

The excavator that did that was large. However, there are smaller machines for specific jobs, as excavators are also used to dig trenches and lines for utilities to place their pipes.

Use has also been found for them in forestry where they have been used to clear land for housing developments and roads. They are used for mining and quarrying too, where they recover precious materials and transport earth from one place to another. Crawler excavators are some of the most versatile machines and are widely used in many industries.

The Bulldozer

The bulldozer is another multi-tasker, but its primary use is demolition. It is a powerful machine capable of exerting thousands of pounds of force per square inch. This enables it to push through or remove anything out of its path. This is why the term “bulldozer” is used to refer to any pushy person.

Beyond demolition, bulldozers are often useful in clearing and preparing land for construction, most notably that of roads. It is actually classified as a tractor, which is why it can be put to this use. The difference lies in the engineering below the bulldozer’s cab. The bulldozer runs on tracks, which allows it to move over all terrain.

Bulldozers can be seen in landfills, where their pushing and compacting power assist in keeping debris manageable. These machines don’t only push, they pull as well. With the right attachment, the bulldozers can be applied to pulling items like old pipelines and foundation steel out of the ground.

The Forklift

Forklifts aren’t often seen early in the construction process, as the excavator and bulldozer. They come along later when the material arrives for building and it needs to be transported from place to place on the site.

Forklifts used on construction sites necessarily need to be more rugged and the industrial ones, like the all-terrain forklift, are built for outdoor construction conditions. If you need used forklifts for sale, these are probably easier to purchase than other examples of heavy-duty construction equipment spoken about here.

Once on-site, forklifts can be used to transport any packaged construction material, like parcels of plywood, steel, concrete, or brick, things that would be too heavy for human beings to transport in bulk or too time-consuming for them to unpack and transport individually.

Interestingly enough, people do not ordinarily associate them with the construction industry. However, even as people associate them with factory floors and warehouses, the forklift was borrowed by these industries from construction in the early part of the 20th century.

The Tower Crane

Along with developments in building materials, tower cranes have been credited with making the height of modern buildings possible. That’s because they take the building material like brick, concrete, and steel hundreds of feet up so that they can be incorporated into the structure. They can move material horizontally, which is one of their primary benefits.

Tower cranes are a construction marvel themselves, apart from the buildings they help create. Firstly, these cranes must be firmly mounted to help counterbalance the massive loads they lift. Secondly, they come to the site in pieces and have to be assembled upwards, piece by piece. Thirdly, the operator has to climb to their place on a ladder that can extend hundreds of feet upward.

The cab is often so high in the air that a cab operator is forced to spend their entire shift there. There are no bathroom breaks and they take bottles up to the cab to relieve themselves. They do this because it would take too long for them to come down and return to their post. A construction site could be shut down for as long as 30-45 minutes by a crane operator who needs to move.

Your children’s fascination with these machines is justified. As you can see from the information above, they are truly amazing.