5 Essentials Nearly Every Jobsite Needs

Avoid delays by planning for these must-haves up front.

Want to keep your construction project moving smoothly from groundbreaking to completion? Don’t forget to plan and budget for the “extras” that most jobsites will require at some point in the project.

1. Temporary fencing

Temporary fences, often required by local ordinances, provide a security and safety barrier for your jobsite. They help deter intruders and protect valuable tools, equipment and materials. They can also assist in the containment of soil and runoff.

Several types of temporary fencing are available. The least secure is the plastic mesh variety, which is easily cut or moved aside. Rolled chain link fencing used to be an industry standard, but it is now being supplanted by welded wire mesh panels, which are more resistant to cutting and can be designed with anti-climb features.

Depending on your jobsite location, you may want to add privacy/wind screens or, to preempt noise complaints, acoustic barriers.

2. Portable toilets

Workers can waste a lot of time waiting in line if the jobsite lacks sufficient portable toilets. OSHA requires at least one porta potty for up to 20 workers. You’ll need more as the number of workers increases. At construction sites and industrial settings, the standard ratio is one porta potty per 10 workers in a 40-hour work week. You may want to consider adding separate portable restrooms for female workers.

3. Jobsite lighting

Unless all of your work is done outdoors during the daytime, there are times when you will need temporary lighting on your site. There are lots of options including hand lamps or drop lights, light stands for larger open areas, light strings for widespread lighting or tunnels, and light towers for nighttime work. OSHA defines the amount of lighting needed in terms of foot-candles.

When choosing temporary lighting, consider the size of the area you need to illuminate, the power source you have available and the type of light that would work best (such as halogen, LED or fluorescent). An equipment rental provider can help you choose the right temporary lighting for maximum safety and productivity. Plugging into outlets? Don’t forget extension cords with GFCI protectors.

4. Heating and cooling

No one does their best work when they’re too hot or too cold. Temporary heating and cooling solutions let you achieve a jobsite temperature that’s not only more comfortable for your workers, but also safer.

Crews face a danger of frostbite if they’re working outside when the thermometer (or the temperature with wind chill) dips below 32 degrees. To choose the right temporary heating solution, consider ventilation, safety and space. These factors will dictate whether indirect fired heaters, direct fired heaters, make-up air heaters or electric heaters are your best bet. Work with your temporary equipment provider to choose the right heater type and size.

Hot weather brings other risks. A study of outdoor construction workers in Washington state found that the risk of traumatic injury increased by 0.5% for every increase of 1 degree C (1.8 degree F) in the humidex, a measure that combines temperature and humidity.

To reduce the risks associated with hot temperatures, OSHA recommends creating a shaded or cooled resting area. Cooling options for these areas include industrial grade fans, evaporative coolers (best for hot and dry conditions) and spot coolers that use refrigerant (best for hot and humid conditions).

5. Temporary power

If you’re not using utility power, you probably budgeted for generators to run your heavy-duty saws, grinders and drills, your lights, your dewatering pumps and other special equipment. But don’t forget to account for the power you’ll need to run and cool the jobsite trailer or to keep certain materials stored at the right temperature.

Choosing the type and number of generators to rent means thinking ahead. What total running wattage will you need? What fuel sources will jobsite conditions allow? How much noise is acceptable based on where the generator will sit? (Quieter options include silenced generators and inverter generators.) How many tools will you need to plug into one generator at the same time? (The answer will dictate how many outlets it should have.) Will you be moving the generator around to different areas of the site? (If so, consider a unit with no-flat wheels and collapsing transporting handles.)

A generator, fence or porta potty might not be your first consideration when planning a job, but you’ll kick yourself if you don’t have these basics when it’s time to hit the dirt.


Construction Worker in Truck Cab
Your single-source jobsite solutions partner.

Whether you need temporary fencing, portable restrooms, light towers, temporary power or something else, United Rentals is your single-source provider for jobsite equipment and solutions. Contact any of our solution groups below and maximize your uptime.

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