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Common Construction Vehicles and Their Functions

Common Construction Vehicles and Their Functions

Construction is one of the oldest industries in human history, as it has provided us with countless man-made marvels. Luckily, advancement in technology ensures that our building methods and efficiency are better than they’ve ever been. If you’re in the building business and need a quick refresher, or if you’re just curious about the field as a whole, check out these standard construction vehicles and their functions.

Bulldozers and Dump Trucks

These devices are the most recognizable construction vehicles around and are combined on the list because they both function similarly. With its bruting blade at the front, a bulldozer drives earth and building materials from point A to point B. While a dump truck lacks the ability to terraform landscaping, it too delivers resources to and from a location. Both vehicles function to save time and labor—the bulldozer, of course, is also able to dig and build trenches at a construction site.


The tallest vehicles among a construction fleet, cranes, are used for massive construction projects. They can lift large objects such as beams and ultimately assist in erecting large structures, monuments, or buildings. Cranes come in various forms, such as a tower, terrain, or mounted model. Each variant is tailored for the needs of a construction job. The main appeal of using a crane is its ability to handle hefty materials with ease. They typically operate on a hydraulic system.


Excavator is a broad term for heavy construction equipment that removes or digs through the earth. In truth, excavators come in all shapes and sizes, with each variant possessing specific functions. Additionally, the classifications between excavator models usually relate to the vehicle’s attachments and how it drives.

Crawlers use tank-like tracks to move around, making them perfect for use on uneven terrain. You’ll typically find a bucket attachment affixed to the end of this excavator’s arm, used for trench work and general digging. Some variations of the crawler include a long-reach excavator, which features an ultra-extendable arm for tight-space excavating or deep drilling. Wheeler excavators do many functions while working on four tires, making these vehicles perfect for level-ground worksites.

Dragline excavators are immense and function solely for surface mining, deep excavation, or underwater projects. They use a hoisted rope system that drags the bucket toward the operator. Smaller skid steers or medium-sized suction excavators manage debris cleanup on a job site, with the latter being best for fragile dig projects.


Perhaps the most invaluable innovation within the industrial industry to date is forklifts, which make the lives of laborers far easier and more painless. Typically found in warehouses or at docks, these moving machines are also present at standard construction sites. Operators can load the fork attachment with pallets, boxes, or building materials and transport them to another area. The material is hoisted above the operator’s cab or seat to allow better movement and visibility. Some forklifts today work independently of humans, instead operated by robots and AI.

It’s fun to think about how ancient monuments and structures were built without the modern comforts of the industrial industry. Through truly knowing the common construction vehicles and their functions, we can appreciate the innovative technology that continues to build this world.

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