5 Ways to Cut the Cost of Construction Mats

composite mats, construction mat cost

Contractors, stop losing bids due to bad mat planning.

Mat companies estimate for a living. Leave it to the professionals.

We recently bid mats for multiple companies on a power transmission line job. All of them set their own mat plan. I knew most of them would lose the bid based on their mat plan. I tried explaining this to a few of them and made suggestions on how to drastically cut down on their expense. One took part of my suggestion but did not listen fully. We were able to drop their cost down by $2,000,000. We could have lowered it further if they listened to our whole suggestion. I hate seeing contractors lose bids due to bad mat plans.

Power line work can go on for miles. When looking to mat the whole ROW (right of way) you can end up using thousands if not tens of thousands of mats. If you want to have a chance at winning the bid, get with your mat company, and strategize how to mat the project to meet your needs in a more cost-effective way.

5 Ways to Cut Construction Mat Costs.

1. Freight

Different mats have different weights. Using the right mat can decrease your freight costs. For example, let’s compare 8’x16’ 3-ply laminated mats, 4’x18’x8” timber mats, and composite mats. Let’s say we need to cover 1000’. Now let’s see how many trucks it will take to carry these construction mats.

8’x16’ 3-ply Laminated Mats=8 truckloads in, 8 truckloads out=16 total loads for the job

4’x18’x8” Timber Mats=14 truckloads in, 14 truckloads out=28 total loads

7.5’x14’ Composite Mats=4 truckloads in, 4 truckloads out=8 total loads.

The difference is that composite mats are much lighter than the other two mats.

2. Walk the job and identify matting needs with a mat company representative.

Many jobs do not need the whole area or ROW matted. A seasoned mat representative can help you identify where mats are needed. For example, some jobsites may have both rock and caliche dirt. Both are great when it is dry, but the rocky ground will hold up much better than the clay when it is wet.

3. Passing lanes

I see many companies asking to do two mats wide so that trucks and equipment can get by each other without having to get off of the mats. That will cause you to need many more mats. Instead, have a second row of mats added on different stretches of the mats. It does not need to be very long, just big enough for your longest truck or piece of equipment to pull off while other equipment passes it going the other direction.

4. Leapfrog

Leap frogging is the action of laying down mats, coming back and picking them up to move to another location on the ROW. This is important on large jobs with lots of mats. What many people do not realize is that on large jobs, rent is what accelerates the cost when many mats are needed for a long duration. It is often cheaper to lay down a fraction of the mats, then move them down the line one or more times than to mat the whole line and let it sit. Work with your mat representative to strategize which entrances and stretches are needed at what point of the project and set a plan to leap them on a schedule that does not interfere with your work.

Summary: Ultimately, if you are working with a good mat company, they should be able to help suggest the most cost-efficient strategy for you and your needs. Watch out for the mat companies that are just trying to get you to use as many mats as possible. They just want your money. Matting can be the difference between winning or losing a bid.

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