what types of Heavy equipment are used in civil construction?

The job of a civil engineer is an all-encompassing job.  With the pandemic, they have to overcome remote work challenges in construction, adapt to new trends in construction, and manage projects like building different structures like bridges, highways, and waterways.

To do this, they use specialized construction equipment, tools, and instruments to guide them. 

Civil engineering relies on survey equipment, earth-moving equipment, heavy machinery, and other tools to make their jobs more comfortable and efficient. 

Without the heavy equipment they use, the structures they build and design wouldn’t be safe. 

Civil engineers also use geographic information systems and various drafting tools to map out and plot specific locations. 

Construction also uses software to help them design the structures that need to be built at that location. 

This is in addition to the different types of survey equipment civil engineers use to measure land and water areas, which may include a sophisticated GPS system designed for these types of applications.

In the article below, we will take a closer look at the heavy machinery used in construction projects.

11 Types of heavy equipment USED IN CONSTRUCTION




Excavators are essential construction equipment widely used in the civil construction industry. 

Their general purpose is excavation, but other than that, they are also used for many purposes like heavy lifting, demolition, river dredging, cutting of trees, etc.

Excavators contain a long arm with a digging bucket attached at the end. 

The operator maneuvers the heavy equipment, from the cab of the excavator, throughout the construction site

The cabin arrangement can be rotated up to 360 degrees, giving the operator the ability to work multiple areas from one location. 

Excavators are available in both wheeled and tracked forms of vehicles.


Dragline Excavator


A dragline excavator is another piece of heavy equipment integral to the construction industry.

It is generally used for larger-depth excavations. 

A dragline excavator consists of a long-length boom and a digging bucket that is suspended from the top of the boom using a cable.

Dragline excavators can be used for the construction of ports, for excavations underwater, or for sediment removal in water bodies.




A backhoe is another widely used piece of earth-moving equipment used in construction that can fulfill multiple purposes. 

The name itself implies that the digging arrangement is on the backside of the equipment, while the loading bucket is on the front.

Backhoe loaders are one of the most versatile pieces of construction equipment. They have a wide variety of uses across the construction industry. They can be used as:

  • earth moving equipment
  • small demolitions at the construction site
  • digging holes
  • excavation
  • landscaping
  • breaking up of concrete or asphalt.
  • dig trenches
  • loading and unloading materials

The bucket can be also replaced with other pieces of equipment like an auger, grappler, or hammer.

The backhoe is a useful piece of heavy equipment in the construction industry. With its many uses, it's an integral piece of equipment to use on construction projects.




Bulldozers are a commonly used piece of equipment used in construction.

Thanks to their wide tracks, the bulldozer is able to maneuver through difficult terrain no matter the construction site, and despite it being heavy equipment, this track helps to disperse the bulldozer's weight across a wide footprint, allowing it to work on different types of sites that may be muddy or sandy.

The bulldozer is primarily used as earth-moving equipment. The blade on the front of the bulldozer is used to push or remove the soil,  sand, and debris on construction sites.

This plate is lowered and raised using hydraulic pistons.

Bulldozers can also be equipped with an attachment called a ripper. A ripper is located on the back of the bulldozer and is used to break up surface rock, pavement, asphalt, or concrete.





Graders, or motor graders, are a type of heavy equipment used for the construction of roads. 

They are mainly used to level the soil surface. 

Graders contain a horizontal blade between the front and rear wheels, and this blade is lowered into the ground while working. 

The operating cabin is on the top of the rear axle arrangement.

Motor Graders are earth-moving equipment and can also be used to remove snow or dirt from the roads, flatten the surface of the soil before laying asphalt, or remove the unnecessary soil layer from the ground.

While a bulldozer is used for rough grading on construction projects, the grader is primarily used to finish grade. Thanks to the adjustable blade on the grader, it can be adjusted to achieve a high level of precision.


Wheel Tractor Scraper



A wheel tractor scraper is a piece of earth-moving equipment needed to flatten the surface of the soil through scraping. 

The front part contains a wheeled tractor vehicle, and the rear section includes a scraping arrangement, including a horizontal front blade, conveyor belt, and a soil-collecting hopper.

When the front blade is lowered onto the ground and the vehicle is moved, the blade starts digging the soil above the blade level. 

The soil excavated is collected in a hopper through a conveyor belt. 

When the hopper is full, the rear part is raised from the ground, and the hopper is unloaded at a soil dump yard.

The wheel tractor scraper is very efficient earth-moving equipment when the cut and dump areas are close to each other.




The heavy equipment trencher is used in construction to excavate trenches in the soil. 

The trenches are needed to lay the pipeline, cable or for drainage purposes. 

Trenching machines are available in chain trenchers and wheeled trenchers.

They all contain a fixed long arm with a digging chain. 

Chain trenchers are used when the ground is too hard for an excavator to cut through it. With the adjustable boom, chain trenchers are used for cutting wider trenches.

Wheeled trenchers have a metal wheel that has a digging tooth around it. 

Wheeled trenchers are more suitable for excavating hard soil layers. Because of its wheel, this equipment is able to dig trenches at variable depths.

Either type of trencher is available in tracked as well as wheeled vehicle forms.




Loaders are a piece of equipment used on the construction site to load material onto dump boxes, dump trucks, etc. 

Loaders are used in the construction industry to help remove materials from the construction site. Some of the materials that a loader moves may be excavated soil, demolition waste, raw materials, etc. 

A loader contains a large-sized bucket at its front with a short moving arm.

The loader may be either tracked or wheeled. 

Wheeled loaders are seen in construction sites, while tracked or crawled loaders are needed in places where wheeled vehicles cannot reach.


Tower Crane


Tower cranes are fixed cranes needed for hoisting purposes in the construction of tall structures. 

Heavy materials like concrete blocks, steel trusses, and frames can be easily lifted to the required height.

They consist of a mast, which is the vertical supporting tower, a jib that is the operating arm of the crane, a counter jib, which is the other arm that carries a counterweight on the rear side of the crane; and an operator cabin where the crane can be operated.




A paver or asphalt paver is pavement laying equipment that is needed in road construction. 

A paver contains a feeding bucket where the asphalt is continuously loaded by the dump truck. 

The paver distributes the asphalt evenly on the road surface with slight compaction. 

A roller is required after laying the asphalt layer for perfect compaction.


STEVENS Engineers and constructors

These are just a few of the pieces of equipment utilized in the construction industry.

As your Single Source Solution, STEVENS has the engineers and the tools needed to handle your Civil Construction Projects.

To see how STEVENS can help with your Civil Construction Project, click on the link below.


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