Heavy equipment is pretty much synonymous with the construction industry for most people. Big yellow machines are a clear indication that some kind of major construction project is currently happening!

But people outside of the industry probably don’t really know what these machines really do or what they’re called.

Whether you’re considering getting into a career in construction, or you’re just curious to learn about the equipment, here are a few of the most common types of equipment used in construction.


This one’s probably the most recognizable piece of construction equipment, and if you’ve seen one in action you probably already have a good understanding of what it’s used for.

Backhoes are used for digging, or excavating; they’re sometimes also referred to as excavators. They’re able to dig through difficult or tightly-packed terrain, and they can crush or flatten material as well.

These machines are able to travel over the rough terrain of a construction site because they have a powerful track instead of wheels– kind of the same way that military tanks move.


Just like backhoes, bulldozers have a track that allows them to travel over rough, uneven terrain on a job site.

Instead of the bucket that’s used for moving material on a backhoe, bulldozers have a plate that can be used to push or move materials. Using a bulldozer is a convenient way to move a lot of materials or even condense them for stability or easier transportation.

Bulldozers can also be used to level out the terrain at a job site, creating a flat surface.


Graders are similar to bulldozers– they have a plate on the front that’s used for moving materials. However, graders tend to be larger.

Their main purpose is smoothing out terrain to keep things level. They can be used to finish a job site or maintain “roads” for easier transportation around the different parts of a site.

Scissor Lift

When constructing a building, it’s often necessary for construction workers to work from considerable heights. In order to safely do this, there are a number of methods that can be used (all of which require some training and safety knowledge!)

Scissor lifts can be either electric or engine-powered– engine-powered lifts are used for rougher terrain and are more mobile at unfinished job sites.

A scissor lift consists of a compartment where workers can stand, while a steel ladder-like mechanism unfolds underneath them to help them reach the desired height.


While forklifts are most often used in a warehouse context, they can also be incredibly useful on job sites. They’re specifically designed to help workers load, unload, and transport heavy materials that would be difficult to lift on their own.

Some forklifts are made for unloading materials just a few feet off the ground, while some are created to help workers lift materials up high to help transport necessary equipment either in a warehouse or on a construction job site.

Do I need special licensing to operate construction equipment?

The required licensing and certification depends on the equipment. For instance, forklift operators are required to be forklift certified by the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA). Meanwhile, to use a backhoe, you don’t need to obtain any specific certification.

If you’re considering getting into the construction industry and have questions about what kinds of licenses and certifications you might need, feel free to give us a call.

You can also view our Careers page in order to see our current job openings, or simply text REDSTONE to 22100 to view open positions and apply online.