Types of construction vehicles

Construction is an important pillar of every country’s economy.

No nation has ever achieved sound economic growth without a solid infrastructure development agenda. Apart from fulfilling some of the basic objectives of economic development such as employment creation and output generation, it also plays a major role in satisfying basic social needs, including shelter and civil infrastructure such as roads and dams.

Types of construction vehicles

Given this significance, construction is one of the sectors that has benefitted from a marked advance in mechanisation in recent times, with a wide range of construction vehicles available to undertake the different workflows in an easy and safe manner. These include excavators, wheel loaders, backhoe loaders, dump trucks, graders, dozers, compactors, pavers and pipelayers, among others.


Excavators are one of the most valuable construction vehicles around. In fact, excavation is deemed a primary activity at every construction site, with digging holes, trenches and foundations among some of the functions carried out by excavators. In southern Africa, Babcock, the authorised Volvo Construction Equipment dealer in the region, is one of the main suppliers, offering a wide range from compact to large crawler excavators.

In line with the technological revolution in the capital equipment space, excavators have moved from the ‘age of iron’ to the digital era. Volvo CE innovations such as Dig Assist, Volvo Active Control and Active View have changed the game, ushering in levels of efficiency and performance.

Wheel Loader

A wheel loader is a popular type of earthmoving equipment. While its primary use on a typical construction site is moving dirt and loading trucks, a wheel loader can also be deployed to transport building materials such as bricks and pipes. With customers increasingly looking for newer technologies that can increase fuel efficiency, increase uptime and reduce total cost of ownership, this range of equipment has in recent decades benefitted from performance improvements and operator assistance technologies.

For example, with Volvo Co-Pilot, operators can unlock the full potential of their machine’s productivity. The on-board display provides real-time insight into the operation, enabling the operator to perform with greater precision and achieve faster working cycles. Meanwhile, Volvo’s new generation wheel loaders achieve up to 20% greater fuel efficiency compared to previous models thanks to features like rimpull control, the patented Reverse-by-Braking function, a dry P-brake and the eco pedal, which applies a mechanical push-back force in response to excess use of the accelerator.

Dump Trucks

A dump truck is another most common type of construction vehicle. The most popular types of dump trucks in southern Africa are articulated dump trucks (ADTs) and rigid dump trucks (RDTs). Because of their size, small sized ADTs in the 20 – 30 t range are suited for large infrastructure projects. These can be deployed to haul construction materials to site or move debris away from the construction site.

Technological advancements in recent years have made ADTs easier to operate and allow end-users to put less experienced staff in the driver’s seat. For example, since 2016, Volvo’s Haul Assist for ADTs offers connectivity to monitor production and cycle times, while giving real-time feedback to the operator. In 2019 full cruise control, Opti-Shift, and automated downhill speed control were added to take a lot of the guesswork out of driving.


Compaction is one of the most critical parts of any construction project. Compaction equipment has been used in construction since the early 20th century, with steamrollers paving the way for today’s modern equipment. There are different types of compaction equipment, including soil compactors, tandem rollers and pneumatic tyre rollers, among others.


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