Construction sites can pose a number of challenges for running effective on-site communications. With no two construction projects ever the same, each requires its own unique combination of solutions, factoring in things like size, number of workers, vertical construction, specific safety requirements, use of machinery and so on.
In addition, the communication demands of a construction project change over time as it moves through different phases, as structures develop and create new impediments to signal, as tall buildings get higher, creating a greater network area.
Despite all these variables, over the years Brentwood Radios for Construction has come to understand that bespoke on-site two way radio solutions are more often than not built around four key ingredients.
1. The Handset
Two way radio handsets have formed the core of wireless communication solutions in the construction industry for decades. Tough, reliable and mobile, two way radios enable effective coordination or work across sites and support critical safety management. High quality models like the Vertex EVX S24 are ideal for use in construction. Ultra compact and simple to use, the S24 does not get in the way when you are carrying other equipment around all day and can be operated while you are busy with other things. It also offers extras like noise cancellation for use around heavy machinery.
2. Safety features
Safety is one of the key communications priorities on any construction site, so we always recommend two way radios that support a range of safety features that will help to protect workers. These include things like emergency override buttons that either interrupt all calls to make urgent announcements or else trigger an alarm across the network. These can also be tailored to create an emergency freeze function, with a specific alarm used to tell operatives they need to cease immediately and switch off all machinery. We also recommend Man Down, a fall detection feature that automatically raises the alarm, and Lone Worker, a remote monitoring protocol for colleagues operating in hazardous areas.
3. Network range boosters
Construction sites come in all shapes and sizes, and on the largest – whether it is a new housing complex covering a large area or a skyscraper project with operations at height – network coverage provided by two way radio handsets alone can be insufficient. The most common solution is to install repeater units which make signal transmission more efficient, together with a distributed antenna system (DAS) to further increase signal quality across a large area. Another option for the very biggest sites is IP Site Connect, a digital software system which uses broadband to integrate repeater units in separate networks, effectively turning several smaller networks into a single giant one.
4. Intercom systems
Intercom systems integrated into two way radio networks can serve a number of functions on a construction site. Increasingly, firms are using them to control security and access into a site. Someone arriving at the gates can use the intercom to speak to a foreman or designated person via their two way radio, and the gates can be activated remotely with the push of a button on the handset. This means gates do not have to be manned at all times. Another common use of intercoms is on cranes, with a specialised pedal system allowing crane operators to communicate with colleagues on the ground hands free.