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Construction site telephones: VoIP or PSTN?

When setting up a construction site, there are many considerations: from safety to staffing. However, the question of a communications infrastructure – more specifically a phone system – is particularly pertinent, as it will often be required in order to resolve other issues.

Choosing a phone system for a construction site can be more complex than the process of picking one for your home or permanent office. A site phone system will need the same degree of reliability associated with an office system in order to maintain productivity, but will need to be resilient and flexible in order to cope with the constantly changing environment of a construction site.

Fully considering your site’s communication requirements and what you need from a phone system will better equip you to choose an effective solution.


What problems could you face with a new phone system?

Identifying potential problems is the perfect approach to forming a solution. Unfortunately, there are several limitations that must be considered:

Time restraints

In most cases a construction site will be temporary, with some existing for just a couple of weeks. Because of this, the time frame for installing a new solution will be incredibly limited. For work to begin efficiently and effectively, you must choose a phone system that can conform to these windows of time. If your site will only be present for a matter of weeks, you may not be able to wait for a phone line to be installed.

Temporary lines

The short-term nature of a construction site means that the infrastructure needed for the phone system will need to be temporary. This could cause potential complications when sourcing a provider, as many will not offer a temporary contract.

Communication with remote workers

Construction projects may be spread across multiple sites, with employees based in or travelling to different locations, or carrying out work remotely. Whilst maintaining communication with remote or mobile workers is important for productivity, it is also vital for safety. A construction site phone system must therefore be able to cater for mobile and offsite workers.

VoIP telephone handset used in company office

Is a landline or VoIP system better for a construction site?

The primary options available when choosing a voice solution for a construction site are a standard landline (PSTN) or a VoIP system (Voice-over Internet Protocol). Both are beneficial in their own respects, but a little research may be needed to decide which would be the most suitable in the long run.

Will you get left behind with a landline?

A standard landline connection, also known as PSTN (public switched telephone network), used to be the first choice for any business – be it in an office or construction site.

Whilst there are significant benefits to a PSTN system, such as not having to rely on an internet connection, it is not future proof.

BT Openreach has announced that they intend to move away from standard landline infrastructure in favour of internet-based systems. The migration is set to be completed by 2025. Whilst it will still be possible to have a PSTN system installed on a construction site up until 2020, the likelihood is that you will be required to upgrade within the next five years.

VoIP telephone system advantages for construction

What is VoIP and is it the best system for a construction site?

Often referred to as a cloud-based phone solution, VoIP relies on your broadband connection to make calls over the internet rather than a standard phone line.

As with most technologies, VoIP is not without its drawbacks. The primary problem is its main selling point: using broadband for voice communication. If your internet connection is weak or disconnects for any reason, correspondence across your construction site will cease. This will not only be annoying; it could also pose a threat to health and safety.

Despite this, many construction projects employ a VoIP system as their comms solution. The primary benefits include:


This is the primary reason why VoIP is so effective on a construction site. Cloud-based applications work with any broadband connection, meaning they can be set up and used across multiple locations. This is beneficial for construction companies with sites that are operational for short periods, or those that have several sites operating simultaneously with many remote employees.

No installation required

As long as there is an internet connection, a VoIP system can be used. This means a separate phone line will not need to be installed – perfect for construction projects with a shorter time frame. Additional phones can also be added to or removed from a network easily and quickly. This is especially convenient if you need to provide phone access to contracted workers.

Reduced costs

Without a physical phone line, line rental and installation fees will not need to be paid. You will also not be tied to an additional phone contract, beyond the arrangement with your broadband provider – resulting in a net saving when compared to opting for a standard phone line.


To learn more about phone systems for a construction site or to find out whether a cloud-based VoIP solution is suitable for your construction projects, please visit our website or get in touch with any further questions.

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