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Hiring generators for construction: what you need to know

Petrol and diesel-powered pure sine wave inverter generators are invaluable for many construction projects, especially those in remote or off-grid areas where they may be used to supplement or replace grid electricity to keep your equipment running.

However, gennies are far from a one-size-fits-all solution. To decide which type of inverter generator or portable generator hire is the best fit for your needs, your equipment supplier needs as much information as possible about your backup power requirements and other aspects of your site. This includes:

What are you intending to run off the generator?

Do you need strong power output to charge tools and run handheld equipment such as welders, heavy machinery or even to power a home or other building? Do you require an inverter generator to run air compressors, air conditioners, sensitive electronics, pressure washers or household appliances? How much of this equipment will be running at the same time? Are noise levels a concern?

How do you intend to connect it?

Do you want your generator to be hard-wired for dedicated petrol inverter generator use, or do you need a distribution board to connect via outlets? Outlets are only available for generators up to 125kVA, but nearly all machines can be hard-wired.

What type of voltage do you need?

Do you require single phase power (240V/50Hz), three phase power (240V or 415V/50Hz) or a special voltage or frequency to power imported equipment? Single phase power is the standard for homes, while many industrial settings use three phase power. A pure sine wave generator with power inverters will deliver workers in remote Australian locations with the power output required to run power tools, air compressors and even solar panels. Fuel efficiency and run time are also important considerations, and that is why Coates partners with major brands such as Briggs & Stratton, Honda, Yamaha, Hyundai and Dewalt to provide tailored solutions for every project.

How much current are you drawing?

Do you know what current (in amps) is being drawn from your equipment? For most power applications this can be calculated as follows:

  • Single phase power: 4.5 amps per kVA
  • Three phase power: 1 amp per kVA

What size generator do you need?

Generators come in a wide range of sizes to meet all power needs, from briefcase-sized camping generators and portable generators for individual power tools, up to container-style generators that can be connected to form on-site power stations. To calculate the size of generator you need (in kVA), your supplier needs to know your total power requirements (in kW).

A generator will contain information about its size (in kW or hp, found on the motor name plate) and the type of motor fitted (DOL, Star Delta, soft starter and others). Speak to a Coates service professional regarding your requirements for engine speed, power output, noise levels, fuel efficiency, run time, fuel tank size and other important considerations. The Honda EF2000iS pure sine wave portable generator, for example, is ideal backup 'camping generator' for running general office appliances such as a small air conditioner and sensitive electronics.

For larger operations, Coates supplies trailer-mounted generators and skid-mounted generators with enough backup power for large construction sites and building projects all around Australia. A power outage can cost big money during construction delays, a scenario you won't have to endure when using pure sine wave petrol generators and diesel generators from Coates.

What fuel option do you prefer?

Most small and portable generators below 8kVA run on petrol. Larger generators usually run on diesel. You should also indicate whether you need on-site refuelling or a large fuel tank to make refuelling less frequent.

How long do you intend to use it?

Inverter generators cannot be run indefinitely. If you need to run a pure sine wave petrol generator or diesel generator around the clock, you should consider hiring more than one to balance the load and make sure you have a backup.

What other equipment do you need?

To get a generator up and running, you'll likely need to hire equipment and accessories. Common generator accessories include cable sets and covers, extension leads, changeover switches, spare fuel tanks, barriers and trailers.

Do you have any special requirements?

If you're working in a residential area and need to keep the noise levels down, you could benefit from silenced generators  with sound-reduced canopies. You should also inform your supplier if the petrol inverter generator will be used in a confined space or if there are access issues on your site.

What type of delivery method do you prefer?

Your generator can be transported on a trailer, tilt tray, side loader or crane truck, depending on its size and access on your site. If you need to hire a petrol or diesel generator anywhere in Australia, contact your nearest Coates branch.

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