Jan 05, 2022

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Categories: News

Best Walkie Talkies For Construction – Consider These Key Features

The best walkie talkies for construction will be a bespoke two way radio setup designed to meet the specific needs of the construction site based on the size, environment and team that you’re working with. This will include radios that: 

  • provide crystal clear communications
  • are robust and able to withstand dust, water, knocks and drops,
  • utilise ultra-high frequency (UHF) to enable long-range communications in built-up environments or cover crane to ground distance,
  • have multiple channels that can be programmed to your needs
  • offer GPS tracking to locate users
  • have emergency call features enabled
  • boast excellent battery life
  • have a simple push-to-talk (PTT) function

Communications Are Key

Every construction site requires two way radio communications. Along with hard hats, cranes, tradespeople, project managers and beams, a walkie talkie is an essential piece of the jigsaw for every well functioning site and project management team that takes their health and safety seriously.

With the potential for lone working, stringent health and safety requirements to meet, dangerous activities and significant distance between other teams to overcome, the number, and type of radios that you need will be bespoke to your site, location, and how many people need access to them.

There are plenty of options to choose from to ensure that everyone on-site stays connected with uninterrupted signals enabling them to reach others at the touch of a button when they need assistance or advice.

Setting Up Your Site’s Communications System

NRC radios have over 30 years of experience supplying two way radios, or walkie talkies as they’re more commonly referred to, for the construction industry. We aim to help project managers and tradespeople working in the construction industry to communicate easily to direct people and services appropriately, so that projects are completed safely, on time and within budget.

Our friendly team can offer professional advice, competitive pricing, and options to hire or purchase market-leading two way radios to create bespoke communications solutions for construction sites. If you need to connect managers, tradespeople, subcontractors and security to complete projects on time and safety, please get in touch.

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Need advice about radios for your construction? 

Ask our experts – call 0151 263 9993 or send an enquiry.

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Using Radios In Construction

Man using walkie talkie on building site

Two way radios are brilliant bits of kit for when you need to communicate quickly, easily and reliably with other people that are not physically standing next to you, which is often the case on a busy building site that can be spread out over a large area with multiple sub-sites and buildings in various state of completion, and lots of different sub-contractors milling around.

Simple to use, difficult to damage radios are tried and tested communication devices for the construction industry and are particularly useful when you don’t have the luxury of being able to rely on mobile data or wifi signals such as in remote areas or complex buildings with thick walls, high cranes, out-buildings or underground areas.

Read on to understand when two way radios are useful in construction, who can use them, why they’re a better solution for most when compared to mobile phones, and radio models to consider.


Features To Look Out For

Walkie talkies used in construction need to meet certain specifications to ensure that they last for a long time and can meet the pressures of a typically busy, noisy and dusty construction environment. When you’re looking to purchase or hire walkie talkies for use during building works, keep an eye out for the following key features to get the most from your radio communications:

  • You will want a single charge to deliver up to 30 hours of battery life which allows the radios to be carried around for a longer period before having to return to a charging base, great for long working days.
  • Uninterrupted signal coverage when using the highest cranes or reaching the furthest away point on site
  • Crystal clear audio that can be heard over noisy machinery, worker chatter and howling winds
  • Robust casing to withstand water, dust and dents
  • GPS tracking to locate employees on site
  • Simple push to talk buttons with built-in emergency functions that can be activated by a simple push to talk or have an on-ground alert function that sends an alarm automatically if the radio falls to the ground as could be the case in a medical emergency involving the user.
  • Scanning functions and multiple channel functions that enable caller-ID for private conversations, channels for teams, channels for general chatter and emergency only channel to be set up.
  • UHF or ultra-high frequency radios are more capable of penetrating thick concrete walls and obstacles than their VHF, (very high frequency) counterparts. They are therefore usually preferred in construction settings where they will be used inside buildings or around obstructions.

Best Two Way Radios

3 walkie talkie models

The DigiX Sun and Sea two way radios are perfect for users that require communications for a smaller construction site. They are licence-free and ready to use straight from the box. Our DigiX Neo, Link and Halo high-power, two way radios are highly recommended for larger construction sites.

View All Two Way Radios recommended for construction by NRC radio here

Use our contact form to discuss your needs with radio experts here or call us on 0151 263 9993 

Power Tools Of Communication

On construction sites of any size, you will always see workers and project managers carrying around a walkie talkie. The larger the scale of work, the more importantly effective, clear communications become for the wellbeing and safety of everyone on one site, and walkie talkies are the power tools of communication that can be relied upon to cut out harsh background noises and keep teams connected.

Here are some common scenarios that occur on building sites that highlight the benefit of a robust, two way radio system.

  • Perimeter Security
  • Health and Safety & Incident Management
  • Emergency Evacuation
  • Live & Instant communications between teams, contractors, visitors and managers

Security

Building sites are hazardous environments that need to be kept secure from unauthorised access. Most sites will use a combination of CCTV, secure fencing and ID cards to keep track of who is on-site but radio communications are a great way to tie your security measures together and instantly let others know if there is a security breach that needs to halt work or requires intervention.

Health And Safety & Incident Management 

There can be a high proportion of lone workers and dangerous equipment that could be spread out over large distances. This makes it challenging to get the assistance you need if instant communications aren’t available. Ground to crane communication, site evacuations, chemical spills and medical emergencies can all be dealt with swiftly and effectively with two way radios.

Emergency Evacuations 

Every site will have an emergency evacuation procedure and the most crucial part of that will be to spread the message that an evacuation is needed as quickly and safely as possible. In these scenarios, two way radios are invaluable as messages are transmitted to whole teams instantly without the need for anybody to physically run between locations. If you can’t access certain areas of the site due to threats such as fire, hazardous substances, building collapse or intruders, being able to communicate with the people in those spaces can enable them to act quickly and receive information that could save lives.

Staff Communications 

Employees on any construction site must be able to share data, project information, or communicate relevant project-related information with others or their single point of contact. This can be tricky when sites are vast in size and the people you need to talk to aren’t nearby, or the mobile signal is an issue. Walkie talkies overcome these hurdles to help keep building projects on track.

Often the people on-site change daily as one trade takes over from another, and architects, building regulations contractors, designers and engineers visit to review the progress of the build. Being able to broadcast messages to one person directly, whole teams or the whole site at the touch of a button with a radio keeps everyone on the same page and informed of the information they need to remain safe and deliver their job successfully.

 

Do You Need A Radio Licence?

Some two way radios require a licence to operate. A radio licence is issued by Ofcom for a small fee, in a similar way to TV licensing. NRC radios can sort out licensing for you at the point of purchase so it’s not something to worry about.

For large construction sites, you will likely need to purchase a licenced two way radio set up to reach all areas of the site. Licenced radios tend to come with high specifications that can meet the professional demands of the construction industry.

Licenced or not, NRC radios can help you to figure out what you will need and help you to find the right bespoke radio solutions for you.

 

______________________________________________________________

Need advice about radios for your construction? 

Ask our experts – call 0151 263 9993 or send an enquiry.

_____________________________________________________________

Related Questions

Mobiles Vs Radios On Construction Sites 

Most companies use email or phones to communicate between employees but this isn’t very reliable when your place of work is on a building site. We’ve outlined some of the core reasons why using a mobile phone to communicate between construction teams isn’t recommended below;

  • Radios don’t need a cellular signal to work like mobiles meaning they’re always reliable (when charged) and they don’t need to have a call plan or credit available to use, unlike mobiles
  • Radios offer direct connectivity, without delay or waiting for a connection to be established. They do not require someone to accept a call; the message is transmitted instantaneously.
  • Radios don’t suffer from network outages
  • It is unsafe and unlawful to use a mobile phone when driving diggers, cranes and other equipment on site. Radio messages can be transited without the receiver touching the device making them a much safer option.
  • Radio operation couldn’t be simpler – push to talk, release to listen. No passcodes, fingerprints or facial recognition required
  • Radio messages are heard instantly without needing to rely on notifications or seeing a phone light up meaning you’re far less likely to miss crucial, time-sensitive information being shared when using radios, especially on noisy construction sites.
  • Radios are better protected against damage than delicate mobiles. IP ratings show how resistant they are to water and dust ingress and won’t shatter when dropped which is likely to happen on site!
  • Radios enable you to talk to multiple people at once and switch between group and one-to-one conversations easily. With so many groups working seamlessly together on-site, this switch between conversation groups at the touch of a button saves time for everyone.
  • A centrally managed radio solution ensures one or two people are in charge of keeping radios powered and working and ready for use, which might be an issue when relying on individual mobile phone users.

These are just some of the reasons that we think two way radios provide a more reliable way of managing instant communication needs within the construction industry when compared to mobile phones.


Summary

Building team looking at plans

We hope this article has demonstrated how valuable two way radios can be for providing instant, reliable, and clear communications for everyone working on building sites within the construction industry along with some suggested models to consider.

In short, the best walkie talkies for construction will be a bespoke two way radio setup designed to meet the specific needs of the construction site based on the size, environment and team that you’re working with. This will include radios that offer crystal clear communications, are robust and able to withstand dust, water, knocks and drops, utilise ultra-high frequency (UHF) to enable long-range communications in built-up environments or cover crane to ground distance, have multiple channels, emergency features enabled, excellent battery life and come with a simple push-to-talk (PTT) function

With the safety of all workers, visitors and productivity being of the utmost importance on-site, walkie talkies can provide peace of mind that you’re supporting your teams in creating a safe and productive work environment where they can send or receive the help or information they need at the touch of a button. If you’re not quite ready to purchase, NRC also offers the ability to hire two way radios so you can test them on-site before committing to a purchase.

As each project management team’s needs and construction sites are all unique, getting the right radios and set up to meet your needs is crucial when sourcing the right radios. NRC can support you with building a bespoke solution that meets your needs for effective communications to manage health and safety, lone workers, site incidents and multiple teams without the need to worry about poor signal holding projects up.

See our recommendations for two way radio models to consider in construction here or get in touch to discuss your specific needs with our expert team.

Our friendly team can talk you through your options on 0151 263 9993 or you can send an email to let us know what you’re looking for. DigiX, Motorola, Hytera, ICOM and Kenwood 2-way radios offer some of the best functionality and reliability available for school environments and our team can secure excellent pricing for our customers on these models.

Founded in 1989, Northwest Radio Communications provides professional communications solutions and excellent customer service to its clients spanning hundreds of industries throughout the UK. From farming, catering, hospitality, leisure, construction and many more, as an approved dealer for DigiX, Motorola, Hytera, ICOM and Kenwood 2-way radios, the team can find the best purchase, hire and maintenance options available for you and your business when it comes to choosing the right communication tools to use.