No matter the size, building projects require a ton of planning; you have to prepare for every event. But, an often overlooked detail is the accommodation of oversize and/or custom material deliveries. The problem isn’t usually in getting the material. Suppliers and manufacturers are thrilled to fill your order. No, the problem arises when you fail to ascertain which method of delivery will be used to get the product to the job site. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a DIY acting as your own project manager, you can find yourself in quite the pickle if you don’t plan for the dreaded, oversize material delivery, and more importantly, find out if the delivery will be arriving on a big-rig.
As I recently discovered, big-rig drivers, (A.K.A. teamsters, semi drivers, truckers, 18-wheeler masters, kings of the road, etc…) are:
A) not too thrilled when their dispatcher calls for them to deliver to a not so big-rig friendly, residential area
B) also not thrilled when they realize there’s not a chance in Hell they can maneuver the rig into a too tight driveway, forcing them to park on the road and hoof it to the residence, looking for whoever is “in charge”
C) seriously pissed off when the person in charge assumes the driver is also the “un-loader and drop it right where I need it” guy
D) tweaking, sociopaths when they realize a forklift, or at the very least, several burly weightlifters are needed to get the damned product off the truck, yet neither is on hand
In retrospect, I can’t blame the driver for being furious. Why? Because, semis are equipped for pick-ups and deliveries to warehouses – not so much to my, (or your) house. Warehouses have loading docks and lifts and crews and dollies and all the room in the world for an 18-wheeler to maneuver and various other cool stuff that makes the driver’s life a lot easier. I think it’s important to remember too, that a driver is just that. Though some may be prepared to unload and move oversize/custom, heavy items once at the job site, the majority are not.
So you can understand the situation that might arise when someone, (and by someone, I mean my husband and I), orders multiple 12′ x 8″ x ½” thick steel beams, weighing 700-plus pounds and does not bother to get the freight or shipping details from the manufacturer. As we stand there scratching our heads, a furious and very, behind schedule driver hops up and down, cursing us to no end. All this while we make desperate phone calls to anyone we can think of that might just happen to have a lift of some sort, or at least be available to come and help unload the truck.
So there’s my tip for the day. If you order custom or oversize material or products, make sure you know how they will be delivered. Generally, local suppliers will use a company truck, equipped with the necessary means to move the material from the truck into your house or to the job site. But, a lot of special, custom or oversize materials and products ship from out of state and depending on size and weight constraints, that sometimes means an 18-wheeler. Plan ahead and save the headache!