This important issue is often glossed over, the tendency is for the site maintenance and plant maintenance to be forgotten in relation to the capital cost and output obtained. Planned maintenance is an ideal but very costly state of affairs. It enables a constant review of the mechanical efficiency of a piece of plant on the basis that prevention is better than cure. It can only be related to the cost involved in respect of the company turnover. It follows that a large company, employing several hundred pieces of plant would require full time service engineers, with vans, to travel round from site to site to ensure that plant is being maintained and serviced regularly.

Some companies work on the basis that they pay the machine operators a machine bonus on the basis that if the machine is well maintained, lubricating oil and grease applied and when necessary, the overall cost is greatly reduced. An old adage is ‘a pint of oil is the cheapest form of maintenance ever devised’. It is the responsibility of all plant departments to ensure that when a fitter is sent to a particular site, his journey should be routed via other sites, where he can check over the condition of pieces of plant to ensure that maintenance and adjustments are being carried out. It must, however, be realised that the breakdown is top priority and men should be routed so that the breakdown is covered first and the preventative maintenance covered afterwards.

It must be remembered that every machine requires maintenance and this should be pre-planned. Prevention is better than cure. To bring about an efficient maintenance scheme, labour is required in the form of service engineers, vans and these, together with the material involved, must be allowed for when assessing the cost of a plant department in relation to the use of general and, especially, specialised equipment.

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The time and labour savings The type of plant and number required will be effected by

1. The sequence of the work dictated by the design of the building.

2. The methods of construction used by the contractor.

3. The working space available.

4. The quantity of work involved.

5. The time available to do the work.

This may involve the balancing of plant, for example and excavator can excavate 24 m3 per hour, which requires removal off site. The Lorries used are 8m3 capacity therefore 24/8 = 3 Lorries will be required. This is called plant balancing. This balance will affect the numbers required as well as the duration of the work. If the plants are not balanced efficiency on site will not be achieved. Implications for programming methods

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