Prepare your site for a Diesel generator Installation

Diesel backup generator systems are very important for construction sites and many other applications. There are three main types of diesel generators that are commonly used, and we’re going to be discussing what it means to plan and prepare your site for these generators.

First, let’s take a look at the common types of generators we see:

  1. Enclosed permanent diesel generators - These are fully self-contained backup generators that are usually protected by a soundproof enclosure. They often rest on a concrete slab or pad.

  2. Enclosed portable diesel generators - These are often mounted on a trailer or a lorry frame and surrounded in a weatherproof enclosure. These don’t require much planning and are often safe from the elements.

  3. Permanent diesel generators inside a building - These are expensive and require extensive planning in order to install. These often include a redundant backup generator as well, providing your site with extra stability. However, it does require ventilation and poses some safety concerns.

Planning for an Enclosed Permanent Diesel Generator

Before any planning takes place, it’s important to look at national and local planning guidance. It’s also crucial to look at usage documentation. Planning often starts with a picture or drawing of the generator and its required support systems. This is to give you an idea of the scale of the generator and what is required for it to fit on your site.

Remember that the fuel supply must be accessible by a truck. This means you may need to install roads or at least have the diesel generator close to a road or at least be accessible by a large vehicle. It’s also important to have this area secured by a fence to keep it safe. You’ll also need to decide whether the generator accepts fuel above or below ground and where the electrical connections will be routed.

Although drawings and pictures should give you a sense of scale for the generator, a typical 1000 kW generator will often have these requirements:

  • The generator will be around 6.5m by 3.5m

  • The generator and fuel tank will weigh over 20,000kg

  • The generator will consume over 320 litres of fuel per hour

As such, you’ll want to plan ahead accordingly.

Once again, it’s incredibly important to check national and local regulations when planning a diesel generator on your site. A full day of operation can easily require 6000 litres or more of fuel, and you’ll also need to take into consideration problems like spill containment should something go wrong.

Planning Concrete Pads

Placing a generator on gravel is going to be against building codes. It’s also incredibly dangerous, which is why a concrete pad is required for most soil conditions. Not only does it provide protection against vibrations, but it’s generally much safer. The size and thickness of the pad will depend on the soil’s composition, density and other concerns with the local geography, so make sure this is planned in advance. Some other concerns include:

  • The ambient temperature of the poured concrete

  • Vibrations to remove bubbles

  • Concrete reinforcement if necessary

  • The thickness of the pad depending on the size and dimensions of the generator.

  • National and local planning regulations

Anchoring the Diesel Generator

In most cases, concrete anchors must be used to secure the generator to the pad. There are typically three types of anchors:

  • Heavy-duty concrete anchors - Typically installed before the concrete has been poured to ensure that the measurements and placements are exact and sturdy enough to support the generator.

  • Adhesive bond anchors - Holes are drilled after the concrete is cured, and studs are fixed on using epoxy. The studs have to be accurately placed in order for the anchor to be sturdy.

  • Mechanical bond anchors - Holes are drilled once the concrete is set, then a mechanical stud is set and tightened. This is often the least robust of the anchors.

Site Planning for Enclosed Portable Diesel Generators

Enclosed portable diesel generators are, as the name suggests, portable which means they are not permanent and thus don’t require as much planning. They can also come in smaller sizes which are great for niche uses or smaller construction sites but can also be rented or purchased in up to 2000 kW capacity depending on how they are intended to be used.

Site Preparation

A fantastic advantage of a portable genset generator is that it can be moved around at will. This means it doesn’t need to be planned in a specific location and can generally be shifted around as you need power. This means that the only challenge you need to consider is actually having the support to move it around. A small generator can often be moved around in a truck or a van, but a larger one will require a bigger vehicle and thus wider roads.

There also needs to be headroom to allow the vehicle to move the generator around. In addition, a large generator can burn around 650 litres of fuel or more per hour, meaning it will need to have easy access to a road when refilling. A large genset can also weigh around 30,000 kg or more, so depending on the vehicle it’s being transported with and the ground conditions of where it’s being placed, it might require special support.

Permanent Diesel Generators Installed Inside a Building

Diesel generator systems installed in buildings are often self-contained, meaning that everything including the fuel system, cooling and engine are carefully planned out on a skid. This skid is then moved to the factory or construction site as a single unit to be used.

There are generally fewer concerns when moving the generator on the skid. It’s important to ensure that there is enough clearance to get the skid to the concrete pad. In addition, lifting equipment may be required to move the skid from its transport into its desired location. There also needs to be enough room for the air supply to support the generator, and the fuel system has to meet regulations and codes to be safe.