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PLANT PLANET November 2020

Sunward Europe The importance of innovation

Mecalac: the next generation of compact innovation

Asif Latief: Making It happen for Boels

Getting Back “Virtually” on track


THE NEW 5 TONNE

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Plant Planet is published by Kiwi Media

A word from the editor:

and Promotions Ltd 2nd Floor, 27-28 Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1ES

Interviews Galore!

Copyright We’re well into the second half of 2020 and the year is starting to draw to a close. In this edition - the last edition of Plant Planet in 2020, we have a host of articles discussing how the industry has coped during such a turbulent year. From interviews with Ian James and Asif Latief, of Bronto Skylift and Boels Rental respectively; to vital information on Brexit from Dale Camsell, Senior Technical Consultant of the CEA; and thoughts on how the construction show sector has coped in the face of the pandemic. Of course, we also have articles on some of the biggest machinery available on the market at the moment, including Mecalac Construction Equipment and Sunward Europe. As always, stay safe and well.

Kiwi Media and Promotions Ltd. 2019 all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited except with permission in writing from the company. Note to contributors: articles submitted to the Head of Editing and Design for consideration must be the original work of the author. Where photographs are included that are not the property of the company or contributor, permission to reproduce them must have been received from the owner of the copyright. Any views or opinions expressed within this magazine are not necessarily those of the company. ISSN: 2631-4622 Registered in England No: 09910499

Conditions for Advertising All advertisements are accepted subject to the Kiwi Media & Promotions’ standard of insertion. For a copy of Advertising Terms & Conditions, please write to Darren Shelton at 2nd Floor 27-28 Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1ES

Hannah Bounford, Head of Editing and Design

Darren Shelton

Hannah Bounford

Brendon Cook

Business Manager

Head of editing & Design

C.E.O

Find Us Online

Www.plant-planet.co.uk Max brook

Ioana Palosanu

Sales Consultant

Digital Content Designer

4 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

@Plantplanetuk


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10 Latest News

A round up of the news from the plant machinery industry over the past two months.

26 interview

Asif Latief: Making it Happen for Boels

Rachel Lambert finds out about the Managing Director’s “high adrenaline” first months

35 topical commentary CEA Offers Brexit Update

Plant Planet reports on the latest from CEA Senior Technical Consultant Dale Camsell

6 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

41 topical commentary Construction Safety Week Provokes Progress in Safety Culture Eleanor Baldwin addresses the importance of on site safety during a global pandemic

56 Interview

Living the High Life with Bronto Skylift

Rachel Lambert talks to Ian James of Bronto Skylift about the Access Industry in the UK

69 topical commentary Small But Very Much ‘On Track’ Dumpers

David Chuck unpacks the wide range of mini tracked dumpers on the UK market

74 topical commentary Covid-19 Exacerbates Mental Health Issues in the Industry

Eleanor Baldwin explores the impact of the pandemic on the construction industry’s mental health

78 interview

Charlie Coaker: “We Need to Move With the Times”

Hannah Bounford speaks with groundworker Charlie Coaker to find out how the past months have effected his day to day and future plans


Cover story SUNWARD EUROPE: THE IMPORTANCE OF INNOVATION TOPICAL COMMENTARY GETTING BACK “VIRTUALLY” ON TRACK Company Profile DRIVING THE NEXT GENERATION OF COMPACT

INNOVATION: MECALAC CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT UK Plant Planet • November 2020 • 7


Contributors

Written by the industry for the industry David chuck @KingstonPR David Chuck has worked in the Construction Plant industry for over 50 years. As well as being a contributor to Plant Planet magazine, David is a social media and website management consultant, and a Partner of Kingston PR.

Asif Latief Boels Rental Ltd

Dale Camsell Construction Equipment

Emmanuel Ficot

Association

Sunward Europe

Rachel Lambert Paul MacPherson

@KingstonPR

Mecalac

Rachel Lambert is a PR consultant and the founder of Kingston PR, a business she started over 28 years ago. A former magazine editor, she is also a freelance writer covering a range of sectors.

Construction Equipment UK

Hannah Bounford Eleanor Baldwin @PlantPlanetUK Eleanor Baldwin graduated in English and creative writing from the University of Chichester in 2014, and enjoys putting her writing skills to use as a freelance writer for Plant Planet.

8 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

Ian James

@PlantPlanetUK

Bronto Skylift

Hannah has worked as the Head of Editing and Design for Plant Planet Magazine for 18 months. She particularly enjoys writing about new advances in construction plant.

Charlie Coaker Freelance Groundworks


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Latest news

DEMO TOUR GIVES FARMERS EXPERIENCE OF STEYR TRACTORS

FARMERS across the Czech Republic and Slovakia have been able to learn about the latest developments in the STEYR tractor range, including the fuelefficiency and operational benefits of continuouslyvariable transmission (CVT) technology, courtesy of a recent series of demonstration events.

The demo tour was organised by STEYR’s local team in conjunction with Agri CS, the brand’s official importer for the two countries. With events held near Presov, Slovakia, and in the areas close to Brno and to Pilsen, both in the Czech

Republic, farmers, contractors and other tractor users from across a wide area were able to experience some of the latest developments in tractor technology. “Together with our partner Agri CS we are working hard to show farmers in these two countries why STEYR tractors deserve their strong image and high level of popularity. We already have numerous customers who are extremely satisfied with the STEYR tractors they operate and showing our products on the field in this way will, we hope, convince many more that STEYR is best choice for a partner on which they can rely,” commented Matteo Paraluppi STEYR Business Manager for Eastern Europe.

L Lynch Plant Hire First to adopt The new GKD Cat 308 RCi

MACHINE control manufacturer, GKD Technologies has been supplying nationwide plant hire specialists L Lynch Plant Hire since 2017. GKD Technologies have a team of preferred installers who work with Lynch Plant. The machines are located all over the UK and installs on new machines are taking place every week nationwide.

One of the latest installs for L Lynch Plant Hire, by RK Plant Engineers, managing director, Ryan Andres was for two, 2RCI (Rated Capacity Indicators) on a brace of CAT 308’s, which Lynch has recently added to its growing fleet. What makes this system unique, is that it was designed specifically for the CAT 308 machine by GKD and utilises the capabilities of the 2RCI system, with full protection and slew walls, including offset boom monitoring with motion cuts. Ryan explained, “This new system, based on the standard 2RCi, has been adapted to

10 • November 2020 • Plant Planet


Latest news work exclusively on the Cat 308 machine with full electrohydraulic motion cuts, which is the main difference between a standard 2RCi and a 308RCi, also using direct drive angle sensor to monitor boom swing. This new system is another example of the versatility of GKD safety systems.” GKD marketing director, Nigel Baseley explains, “The Cat 308 is quite a unique machine in that it combines mechanical and electronic control of the hydraulics. This means that a standard 2RCi rated capacity indicator is not suitable for this model.

Hence when Lynch approached GKD for a solution our R&D department developed a special version of the system to adapt to the functions of the machine that are controlled electronically. This new 2RCi system has an additional electronic controller that works with the Cat 308 machine.”

Plant Planet • September 2020 • 11


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Latest news

KUBOTA ENHANCES 8 TONNE EXCAVATOR RANGE THE

KX0804a2 is the latest addition to the Kubota 8-tonne excavator range that offers operators improved rugged and reliable performance, whilst enhancing their environmental credentials.

The machine’s auto idling system comes as standard, which not only reduces running costs, but also noise and exhaust emissions. What’s more, the dozer blade features a float function, so operators don’t need to adjust the dozer height to make a clean ground surface after backfilling.

Delivering the robust performance operators have come to expect from Kubota excavators, the KX080-4a2 boasts a Stage-V compliant V3307 direct injection engine with CRS and improved DPF, helping to reduce maintenance costs and the machine’s environmental impact, whilst enhancing productivity for a wide range of tasks.

One of the stand out features of the KX080-4a2 is its spacious and comfortable cab that features a wide entrance, advanced visibility, generous legroom, air-conditioning system, re-designed foot pedals, and a deluxe high-back suspension seat, ensuring operator comfort at all times. An intuitive LCD digital display panel with easy-to-use features gives operators more control than ever before.

The KX080-4a2 features a new 2-pump load-sensing hydraulic system that ensures smoother operation when using front attachments, regardless of load size. By allowing hydraulic oil to flow according to the specific range of the operator’s lever motion, the new system reduces fuel consumption and improves the overall operating performance.

14 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

In addition to enhanced performance and operator comfort, the KX080-4a2 goes the extra mile to simplify inspections and maintenance. A triple opening bonnet gives quick and easy access to vital components such as the battery, fluid tanks and filters, making


Latest news maintenance tasks simpler than ever. The machine can also be equipped with a two-piece boom so operators can meet the needs of the toughest jobs. The user-friendly design makes operation simple whilst its innovative hydraulic mechanism enables smooth operation, giving operators an expanded working range,

impressive dumping range and the ability to operate in narrow spaces. Numerous safety features come as standard on the KX080-4a2, such as the auto-stop function on the tank’s electric refuelling pump, an anti-drop valve on the boom and arm cylinder, advanced visibility mirrors, a seat belt indicator and increased stability.

The machine is protected by Kubota’s industry-leading anti-theft system, meaning only programmed keys will enable engine start up. Any attempt to start with an unprogrammed key will activate the alarm. Newly enhanced features send an alert to remind the operator to extract the key after operation, and an LED to alert potential thieves that the system is activated.

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 15


Latest news

The Green Network continues to Grow: Merlo appoints Shellplant as new Dealer in Northamptonshire

MERLO

UK is

excited to announce the appointment of a new dealer which sees the telehandler manufacturer further expanding and improving its ‘green network’ in the UK. Shellplant now becomes part of the Merlo franchise providing Sales and Service to customers in the Northamptonshire , Cambridgeshire , Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire area. Established in 1972, Shellplant is a long-standing and respected dealer for many leading brands in the construction equipment sector with a reputation for

16 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

consistently delivering high levels of customer service. Based in Earls Barton, Shellplant operates out of a purpose-built facility offering a showroom Trade Counter and fully equipped workshops. Shellplant’s engineers are factory trained to ensure the highest support to back up the machines they sell, offering both on site and in-house repair and servicing. With a pedigree spanning nearly 50 years selling machines and parts, Shellplant has all the experience and skills required, as well as the knowledge to source parts for many of the older machines it has sold.

This, alongside its market leading portfolio, underpin the continued support Shellplant gives to its customers. Shellplant and Merlo UK are working closely together to provide high work quality and impeccable standards. Visit the Northamptonshire depot to see how Merlo and Shellplant can help support and develop your construction business. For further information please contact the sales team at sales@ shellplant.co.uk Or call Shellplant on (01604) 811309.


Anti-detracking and anti-vibration track technology has arrived... TerraTrack Plus is the perfect combination of the world’s most advanced rubber track technologies. ANTI-DETRACKING Interlocking steel link features prevent detracking issues even when used on demanding terrains. ANTI-VIBRATION Advanced steel link design ensures smooth running of track rollers and offers increased operator comfort.

To find out more call us now on 0330 555 2000 or visit our website at www.astrakgroup.co.uk

“GREAT DESIGN, GOOD QUALITY AND A QUIET & SMOOTH RUNNING TRACK.” Alan Taylor James Penman Plant Hire


Latest news

AGD Groundworks Ltd Expands Compact Range With New Rubble Crusher From Red Knight 6 Ltd

WEST

Sussex based AGD Groundworks Ltd have extended their offering by purchasing a new RC150V trailer mounted rubble crusher from reseller Red Knight 6 Ltd (RK6). AGD Groundworks Ltd work throughout the West & East Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey areas, offering a variety of services, including landscaping and groundworks. They have opted to add the RC150V to their portfolio of machines to enable them to ensure materials are being reused, even on the tightest and smallest of sites. The Rubble Crusher trailer is mounted jaw crusher is easily transportable by a 4x4 and able to get into any size of domestic or commercial project sites and is capable of handling all low to moderate crushing projects. Customers can benefit from reduced landfill, transportation, skip hire and aggregate purchase costs from a machine that is simple to use. “The Rubble Crusher is a fantastic

machine. We’ve been looking for a machine that will meet the needs of the smaller scale projects that we run, whilst allowing us to instantly re-use materials on site. We are passionate about recycling as much material on site as possible and the benefit to the customer is reduced costs from hiring skips and buying in aggregates,” said Andrew GodmanDorington, owner of AGD Groundworks Ltd.

leaders in impact crushers, Rubble Master, through to the more compact Komplet range. The RC150V is the smallest crusher in our range but is perfect for the smaller projects” said Dan Flack, Sales Director at Red Knight 6 Ltd. “It has been great working with AGD on this project, they instantly saw the benefit of a machine like this and the benefits of the easy to use controls mean they’ve been up and running very quickly.”

“As a business we know crushing, from working with industry

For more information visit – https://www.redknight6.co.uk

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18 • November 2020 • Plant Planet


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Latest news

New Mini Excavator Attachment Ideal for landscape contractors EVERY

Landscape Contractor has had a day when he wishes the 1.7 ton mini excavator he has on site could unload, or even just move, a full pallet. Excavator Forklift (EFL) have come up with a solution, three types of attachment which allow a 1.7 ton mini excavator to either move, or offload and stack, 1.2 ton pallets. Even if you do have a forklift, the chances are this one will go where yours won’t. The EFL Type 3 (1.6 mm lift) and the T3H (3.0m lift) Excavator Forklifts attach to the dipper

20 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

and connect to the hammer service in under 1 minute, with or without a quick-hitch. A Type 3 on a 2.7 ton machine can lift 2 tons to 1.6m, and a T3H 1.5 tons to 3.0m. The EFL type 4 (250mm lift) is designed for contractors who have pallets delivered and offloaded and only require to distribute pallets about the site, the type 4 EFL can carry 1.5 tons, on a 1.7 ton mini excavator, and up to 3 tons on a 3 ton machine. With extra adaptor kits types 3 and 4 can fit different excavators. Find out more at: https://www.excavatorforklift. co.uk


Latest news

McCloskey J45 joins R155 at Portland Stone FOLLOWING

Equipment over the last 12 months.

the delivery of the McCloskey R155 High Energy Screener in 2019, Portland Stone Limited has recently taken delivery of a new McCloskey J45 High Capacity Jaw Crusher.

This outstanding service and performance resulted in a new J45 machine being delivered in October 2020 by McCloskey Equipment, one of the most efficient Jaw Crushers available on the market today.

Portland Stone, provider of aggregate products and waste disposal, has been impressed with the performance of the R155, which is designed to cope with the heaviest of applications, and the aftersales service support provided by McCloskey

With a true 45” (1140mm) by 27” (688mm) jaw box, the J45 is optimised for Type 1 crushing applications. Featuring a heavy duty bofar design and a reversible jaw action, the J45 is ideally suited to Portland Stone’s application.

The J45’s rugged, versatile design has been field-tested world-wide in the toughest applications, such quarries with the option of a prescreen. Portland Stone is fully committed to minimising the waste deposited at landfill sites, with the new J45 Jaw Crusher further supporting their environmental measures by creating recycled aggregates.

For more information, call +44 (0)1235 832 407, email tim@mccloskeyequipment. co.uk and visit mccloskeyequipment.co.uk/

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 21


Latest news

Building with BETONBLOCK® Is almost child’s play THOSE

who work with concrete are happy with the products of BETONBLOCK®. BETONBLOCK® offers something unique to the concrete industry. Our products are not only suitable for high-quality freshly poured concrete, but also for the recycled variant such as residual concrete that remains in the mixer or concrete in which other residual materials are processed. BETONBLOCK® not only has moulds to produce concrete blocks, but also for concrete slabs, barriers and tetrapods. We have developed a range of transport and lifting equipment for all products, especially to facilitate efficiency and cost effectiveness on construction sites. Concrete block clamps, the block turner and the rotator make it easy to navigate any type of block in the correct position. Concrete slabs are moved with a unique lifting and tilting mechanism. Of course we also sell all necessary accessories such as lifting hooks, anchors and much more.

22 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

Reuse residual concrete

Higher up without grout

Director of BETONBLOCK®, Bart Jerom van Olst says: “Although our product has improved significantly over the past ten years, its price has not increased. This is because we are producing ever smarter. We do everything we can to develop products that help our customers further, for example in saving costs. For example, residual concrete that remains in a concrete mixer can be disposed of, but that costs money. If you put it in a concrete block mould at the construction site, it suddenly becomes a saleable product. ”

What makes the BETONBLOCK® system special is, in the first instance, the flexibility that is comparable to the Lego® system. Just like with Lego blocks, you can effortlessly build various constructions with our blocks and without mortar. The biggest difference is that building with concrete is not child’s play. Once stacked, the blocks form a stable whole that can also be moved. The building possibilities are limitless. The BETONBLOCK® system is ideal for temporary and permanent construction works. Thanks to the separately available part


Latest news walls, one mould is sufficient for the production of different types of blocks in various sizes. The range of moulds is large and varied. Form it, stack it, change it. Think about the possibilities!

Best buy, best choice Since the first generation of steel moulds came onto the market 20 years ago, we have not stood still. For decades, BETONBLOCKÂŽ has been the market leader in the production and supply of high-quality concrete block moulds for a wide variety of applications with more than 6,000 customers in more than 70

countries. We have conquered this position thanks to a constant focus on innovation, product development, excellent workmanship and a razor-sharp price / quality ratio.

Transparent Information on all our products can be found on our website www.betonblock.com. Most products are delivered from stock and are delivered as soon as possible. We are transparent; all prices are listed on our site and we are happy to help with good advice in choosing the most suitable products. www.betonblock.com

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24 • November 2020 • Plant Planet airBOSS. The all-purpose, puncture proof segmented tyre.

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Interview • Asif Latief: making it happen for boels

Asif Latief: Making It happen for Boels Rachel Lambert finds out about the Managing Director’s “high adrenaline” first months at the helm

ASIF

Latief became Managing Director of Boels Rental Ltd in January 2020. He talks to Rachel Lambert about his “high adrenaline” first few months because of the pandemic and explains why he wants to get “back to basics”.

taking on the role of Managing Director of Boels Rental Ltd in the UK, back in January 2020. Boels is certainly a formidable name to be associated with. The Dutch rental group was established over 40 years ago in 1977. It operates in no less than 17 countries, with 750 outlets in Europe (employing circa 7,000 people) and has a fleet value in excess of 2 billion Euros. Boels recently acquired Cramo, and is now Europe’s second largest rental company.

“I really didn’t know what Plant hire was about before I started in the industry” There are some people in business who instantly make a positive impression. Asif Latief is one of those people. Focused, ambitious and easy to talk to, he has an energy about him that is very refreshing and inspirational. Little wonder, Asif has already climbed some distinguished corporate ladders where he has held senior management and director level positions for multi-national companies, before

26 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

Asif was formerly Marketing Director for A-Plant, a position he was promoted to at just 25 years old, having joined the company only six months earlier. He continued in this role for nearly 18 years. Prior to that, Asif had ‘cut his teeth’ in the world of marketing, working for an advertising agency for four years before moving to Brake Bros, again in a sales and marketing role.

ASIF LATIEF, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF BOELS RENTAL LTD “I really didn’t know what plant hire was about before I started in the industry,” laughs Asif who recalls taking a phone call ‘out of the blue’ from Paul Mooney, who would ultimately become his first boss at A-Plant. “We met and talked about all sorts of things (everything other than work) and got on like a house on fire. Soon after, Paul called me to say ‘so we’ve got a computer ready for you, just tell me when you can start’ to which I replied, ‘is that an offer of a job?’. Paul said, ‘if it isn’t, I don’t know what is!’ I ended up starting →


Asif Latief: making it happen for boels • interview

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 27


625

430

565

235

320

175

120

115

135

Weight [kg] 250 kg

4,2

4,0

3,5

Lift height [m]

3,0

2,5

2,0

1,5

1,0

0,5

0 2,5

2,1

2,0

1,5

1,0

0,65

0,5

0

Projection [m] 250 kg


ASIF Latief: making it happen for boels • interview in July 2002 and the rest, as they say, is history.” As Managing Director of Boels Rental Ltd, Asif has responsibility for some 39 depots located throughout England, Scotland and Wales. His determination, enthusiasm and vision to evolve the Boels UK business is abundantly apparent, but like many of his compatriots, he is having to be agile with his decisions in the wake of Covid-19. Who could have predicted on 2nd January, the day Asif started with Boels, that the world would be rocked in such a way? “I think it the story of two seasons in one day! Having met with a couple of people beforehand, the team at Boels arranged some initial introductions on the day I joined. It was always my intention to get a certain level of activity off the ground quite swiftly and get to know the frontline staff, so I was out visiting depots that same week getting to know all our people. “We were dealing with a number of projects and the figures were good in January, and the momentum was still there in February and continuing well into early March. We were absolutely heading in the right direction. And then, ‘wham’, Covid hit the UK and the world changed overnight. We certainly didn’t panic (we didn’t have time to). We just got on with what we had to do. We never gave it a second thought – the virus was here, and we had to deal with it, we still do.”

This led to leadership team calls twice a day because customers wanted to off-hire equipment due to lockdown rules. As for many in the industry, there was also some initial confusion about who could work, and who could not work. There were naturally thoughts about the wellbeing of Boels staff. And then the furlough scheme was talked about, which Asif says, “was something many of us new little about”. “There was so much going on, and initially we were questioning whether we needed to close depots if construction was shutting down,” says Asif. “Adrenaline was running high and we were having to make reactive decisions on a number of issues, including getting to grips with the Cramo acquisition, but I am pleased to say we dealt with it. We made it happen, which is very much my mantra.”

been in regular contact with everyone from day one; keeping them informed, organising fun quizzes and competitions, doing our best to keep people together during some difficult times. Not many of our Sales team were on furlough, so they proactively rang customers just to make sure they were okay. They helped make deliveries, went on site, anything to help the customer. There have been many positives that have come out of this and people have appreciated the communication.”

“Initially we were questioning whether we needed to close depots if construction was shutting down”

Asif has certainly endured the proverbial ‘baptism of fire’ but he, and his colleagues at Boels, has demonstrated great tenacity and resilience, even during the toughest time of lockdown. Good communication with people throughout the pandemic has been top of Asif’s agenda. “Engaging with people, all people, and keeping them at the centre of what we are doing – whether work colleagues, customers or other friends of the business - has been crucial throughout this whole process. We have

Asif goes on to say: “We have a good management team who are equally good with people, so we came up with a plan and started working out of our own bubbles. We had three bubble groups working in the support office in the UK, so if one person became ill, it affected just one group. We did the same at our depots as we were also supplying critical industries. Others worked from home or were furloughed. Many of our staff have now returned and the ‘Boels buzz’ is back.” One point that Asif is passionate about is his belief that: “without good people, the business is nothing.” “We are very much a people industry, and without good people our industry will not flourish so while embracing technology for progression, I believe we should →

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 29


Interview • Asif Latief: making it happen for boels also regularly go back to basics and remind ourselves about the importance of people, good people. The rental industry is not complicated so let’s keep it simple. We buy equipment from suppliers, and we hire it out. We are not in the construction market; we are in the service industry. For us, it is about people and providing the best service to keep our customers happy.

the industry and have developed some great relationships. Never has there been a time like this when the industry needs to pull together, with so many people being made redundant. I could read the panic in people’s social media posts and I had to act. We have had to make our own difficult decisions at Boels so I sympathise all-round. But this situation is different. Normally if one sector suffers, another sector is booming. So, I announced #HireTogether and enlisted the support of some big organisations, such as Speedy, GAP, HSS and others from smaller to medium sized companies.

The #hiretogether job search initiative was launched in July “It is our people at Boels who make it happen, so it is important for me to make sure we are communicating effectively with absolutely everyone in our business to create the best possible working environment. People feed off the positivity. By doing this, our energy levels are just getting higher and higher, and I believe that it is this attitude and enthusiasm which sets us apart.” It is this belief, and empathy with others, that spurred Asif to launch an initiative to support those many individuals in the industry who have lost their jobs. He launched the #HireTogether job search initiative on Linkedin in July and received a tremendous response. Asif’s post on LinkedIn produced some 50,000+ views! “I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing. Over the years I have been very honoured to meet and spend time with senior people in

30 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

“We also needed to recruit here but couldn’t find the right people. We have taken on at least one person as a direct result of it, and have other interviews lined up, while many others have been helped back into employment. I am proud of what we have achieved so far and very grateful to those who have supported it. It has been a humbling experience.” The furlough scheme has obviously been a salvation for many, and Asif says, “it stopped businesses from making knee-jerk decisions about redundancies, or shutdowns.” He feels that the furlough scheme has been brilliant in many ways. “Many of the people we furloughed are now back, but we had to make decisions about some roles. Like any sensible

leadership team, we have had to look at costs versus revenue, how the market is changing and where we continue to put our investment.” But on a more general level, Asif has concerns for many people who remain on furlough, or flexifurlough. “The support has been amazing, but what happens when it stops? The UK Government, I believe, has been very generous with its support packages to try and boost the economy, and I for one, am grateful because it has safeguarded the jobs of people in this business, and many other organisations. We are going to have to pay for it at some point, and while I would love people to remain in employment for as long as possible, we should be realistic. Let’s not fool ourselves and say that furlough is ‘in employment’. I fear there are many people across a range of sectors who will lose their jobs when the support ends.” Despite the uncertainty, Boels is in a strong position and Asif is quick to stress the importance of being a partner to their customers, rather than a supplier. “We are here to work with, and support our customers, in any way we can, and we achieve that by listening and efficiently engaging with them. Ultimately, we work with customers to provide a solution that suits them best,” he says. Customers can also be sure that all the equipment in the UK is under three years old, and to the latest specifications, which strengthens their eco-friendly


Asif Latief: making it happen for boels • interview credentials. The management team in the UK are also taking a serious look at the zero-carbon fleet that Boels have on the continent. “Boels in the UK is the coming together of a number of organisations, so when they made the acquisitions they also invested heavily in new equipment, so we have a great hire fleet available and we continue to invest. The benefit we have had, is that some countries in which Boels has a presence have been affected by Covid to a lesser extent, so we have kept our investment in equipment fluid. We continue to invest in new equipment in the UK too. And, if we need additional resources, we have the power of the Boels group

to rely on. For example, we had a customer who wanted a substantial quantity of scissor lifts in a particular size and we didn’t have that many in our UK fleet, but within a few days we were able to bring them in from the Boels fleet in Belgium.”

but for now, we need to keep it simple, do the right things but also do these things in the right way, so we can fully understand our customers’ needs. Growth plans are part of the Boels group DNA, so it remains very much part of our mindset.”

So, with the ongoing threat of the pandemic and Brexit looming ever closer, has Asif got plans to expand Boels in the UK, or are they put on hold? He says, “If you had asked me that question in January, I would have said yes, very much yes. And I remain committed to this, despite the challenges. But, we need to take a breath and really understand what our customers want and move at a rate that satisfies us and them. There is so much potential in the UK market

That mindset also extends to customer satisfaction, going back to the comment Asif makes about the business being in the service industry. “We are trying to provide an unequalled service, to stand out. That is why, above all, our investment is (and continues to be) in empowering our people, the people who make it happen.”

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 31


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12 • May 2020 • Plant Planet

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Cea offers brexit update • Topical Commentary

CEa offers brexit update Plant Planet hears from CEA Senior Technical Consultant Dale Camsell

WHILST

there have been many uncertainties about what Brexit holds for construction equipment manufacturers, one thing has become certain in recent times; the current transition period will definitely end on 31st December 2020 and will not be extended. This means that, as from 1st January 2021, the UK’s trade with the EU will either be governed by the terms of the free trade agreement (FTA) that is currently being negotiated, or it will be governed by World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. If it’s the former then product compliance requirements will be entirely dependent on the agreements made within the FTA, whereas if it’s the latter, a so-called hard Brexit will occur and each party will be free to determine its own product compliance requirements. The following paragraphs highlight five of the most significant challenges facing UK manufacturers of construction

DALE CAMSELL, SENIOR TECHNICAL OFFICER AT THE CEA machinery if a hard Brexit occurs.

The Route to Safety Compliance In order to provide businesses with advice as what the UK product compliance requirements would be should a hard Brexit have occurred on 31st January 2020, the UK government published a series of guidelines. The government’s position was that it would implement a so-called “continuity period” immediately after the UK departed the EU

and a hard Brexit commenced. During this continuity period, the UK would carry on recognising the EU “CE mark” and any certificates that had been granted by EU based third party approval bodies. Whilst the duration of the continuity period was never disclosed, its intention was to allow manufacturers the time to fully grasp the new UK specific requirements and set up their compliance activity such that machinery would be fully compliant with the UK requirements in time for the end of the continuity period. →

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 35


Topical Commentary • cea offers brexit update As it transpired, a hard Brexit was averted and the UK left the EU under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. As a result of this soft exit, on 30th January the government withdraw all of its published guidance but, at this moment

The government has recently offered informal advice and is recommending that manufacturers prepare themselves to be fully compliant with the possible new UK requirements as from 1st January 2021. The government’s new position is that it will not offer any continuity period if a hard Brexit occurs on 1st January 2021, meaning that manufacturers will only have the remainder of this year in order to prepare for the new UK requirements.

Manufacturers should start planning to incorporate the new “UKCA” Mark in time, it has not provided any formal published guidance on what the requirements will be should an FTA fail to be agreed and a hard Brexit occurs at the end of this year.

36 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

One of those recommendations is that manufacturers should

start planning to incorporate the new “UKCA” mark, which will replace the EU CE mark, on machines that are to be sold into Great Britain from next year. However, since manufacturers don’t currently have sight of the proposed new UK regulation, nor even a draft, there is understandable concern that manufacturers are being asked to declare that their machinery complies with a law that doesn’t currently exist. Additionally, from the practical perspective, modifying a machine’s ID plate to incorporate this additional mark is more complex and tricky than it sounds and can take several months to realise. This is resulting in considerable concern that


Cea offers brexit update • Topical Commentary manufacturers might not be ready to UKCA mark machines in time for the 1st January 2021 implementation date. Another closely related timebased challenge is that in order to comply with EU safety or environmental legislation, manufacturers sometimes obtain third party certifications from independent approval bodies. Under EU law, these service providers can be based anywhere in the EU. However, the UK government has advised that in order to comply with UK law after the transition period has ended, manufacturers will need to obtain these certificates from UK based approval bodies. Two challenges arise from this situation; firstly, these approvals cannot be granted until 1st January 2021, hence manufacturers are concerned as to how they can access the market if they aren’t in possession of the required certificates on 1st January 2021; secondly, since every manufacturer that sells into Great Britain will be similarly affected, regardless of where they are based, there will be an enormous demand placed on the UK approval bodies. Manufacturers therefore wonder how the approval bodies will cope with this demand on their services and deliver the necessary approvals in a timely manner.

Uncertainty In order that they remain compliant with new legislation, manufacturers of construction

equipment require time to implement any changes to product design or certification procedures. New regulations are normally years in development and are usually introduced with a delay in order to allow for manufacturers to accommodate the necessary changes. As has already been mentioned, the UK’s published guidance was recently withdrawn, leaving manufacturers struggling with an information void. It is understood that the UK will provide formal published guidance on post-transition period compliance requirements during July, which will be very welcome since the currently lack of certainty is of grave concern to manufacturers. However, with 1st January 2020 now being just a few months away and with the UK government indicating that there will be no continuity period after the transition period ends, manufacturers will have precious little time to implement whatever changes are needed in order to remain compliant in the UK next year.

weeks’, or possibly even days’, notice as to whether they’ll need to comply with compliance requirements as laid down by the FTA or as laid down by the UK.

Mutual Recognition of Conformity Assessments Some product legislation requires that certain tests are performed with the involvement of independent third-party assessors approval bodies. In other cases, manufacturers voluntarily utilise the services of these assessors, perhaps in situations where they don’t possess the expertise or facilities. If an FTA is not agreed then the

Manufacturers will have little time to implement changes

It has been encouraging to hear that both sides of the FTA negotiations have agreed to intensify the trade talks in the coming weeks/months. However, negotiations might continue through till year-end, meaning that manufacturers might only be given a few

UK has made its position clear that it will no longer accept approvals that were gained from EU based approval bodies. Similarly, the EU’s position is that it will not accept approvals gained from UK based bodies. If that situation were to prevail, it would require that two separate sets of approvals would have to obtained, i.e. one from a UK body and one from an EU body, in order access both markets. This would be costly and add to the manufacturer’s compliance related burden. A ratified FTA could possibly →

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 37


Topical Commentary • cea offers brexit update help the situation, since it could include a requirement that tests conducted on one territory would have to be recognised in the other territory. Such a mutual recognition agreement could help reduce the additional burden, but it is not guaranteed that a ratified FTA would be include a mutual recognition clause. Manufacturers await the outcome of the negotiations with interest.

equivalent will be structured. Of immediate concern to manufacturers is that EU Waste Framework Directive introduces a requirement that companies supplying certain hazardous substances are required to submit detailed information on these substances into the so-called SCIP database. This database is administered by ECHA and goes live in October this year, with stakeholders having until 5th January 2021 in order to complete the input of information. Populating the EU database is already envisaged to be a daunting and time-consuming exercise. If this effort is required to be duplicated for a UK specific database within the same timeframe, manufacturers face a significant challenge.

Of immediate concern to manufacturers is the EU waste framework Chemical Legislation Due to the previously mentioned withdrawal of the UK’s hard Brexit guidance, manufacturers also face a void when it comes to knowing what the UK regulatory requirements will be in relation to chemical legislation. The most notable of which is the regulation that deals with the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH). This will be a particularly problematic regulation to “copy and paste” into a UK specific equivalent since the functionality of the regulation is based on the close integration between the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the EU regulators. Since there is no UK equivalent of ECHA, manufacturers are not exactly sure how the UK

38 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

The Unique Situation of Northern Ireland Regardless of whether or not an FTA is ratified, one posttransition period certainty is that product compliance requirements will be different for Northern Ireland than they are for the rest of the UK. The principles of the Northern Ireland Protocol were formally agreed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement that was ratified last October. Although the detail as to how it will be implemented still needs to be

agreed, the product compliance implications are clear. In effect, Northern Ireland will remain part of the EU Single Market, meaning that machines sold into Northern Ireland will need to comply with EU regulations rather than those that apply in the rest of the UK. This will have a significant effect on manufacturers that put products on the Northern Ireland market. Implications could include additional product marking requirements and manufacturers based in Great Britain having to formally establish an importer in the legal sense.

Help is at Hand In order to keep its members advised of the latest developments in this complex and ever-changing area, the Construction Equipment Association issues frequent updates to members informing them of the latest compliance related developments. The situation is dynamic, but members remain well informed, enabling them to take the necessary steps so that they can remain compliant after the transition period. As the recognised trade association for UK construction equipment manufacturers, the CEA has frequent and open dialogue with UK government representatives, meaning that members’ thoughts and concerns are relayed directly to the heart of the government’s negotiation team.


Topical Commentary • construction safety

40 • November 2020 • Plant Planet


Construction Safety • Topical Commentary

Construction Safety Week Provokes Progress in Safety Culture Eleanor Baldwin addresses the importance of construction safety in a global pandemic

THE

14th-18th of September saw Construction Safety Week pan out, with firms from across the globe taking part in the event. Created in 2014 with the intention of creating a stronger culture of safety within the construction industry, the show sets out to share the best tools, practices and resources within the industry. This year, the week is organised by Kiewit and Gilbane Building Company, with AGC of America standing as signature sponsor. The theme chosen by the executive committee this year is ‘Built on Safety’ - representing safety as the foundation of the industry.

The Ohio Contractors Association (OCA) joined in with the week, creating a safe environment for work zones and project sites across Ohio. The vitality of the week can be highlighted in statistics: The Department of Labor and the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that the construction industry has a fatal injury rate higher than the national average across all other industries. Further statistics indicate that in every 5,000 worker fatalities, 1 in 5 occur in the field of construction.

In every 5,000 worker fatalities, 1 in 5 occur in construction The participation of OCA demonstrates the significance of the week, as the →

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 41


Topical Commentary • construction safety statewide association boasts an impressive near 500 contracting and supply companies involved with the states highway and utility construction industry. OCA Labor & Safety Affairs Director Mark Potnick, notes of the dangers of working within the industry:

OCA’s Safety committee is aiming to develop an overhead warning device. The device would be consistent to all industry members in the state, whilst also being compliant with the Federal Highway Administration, Ohio Department of Transportation and OSHA.

‘One is striking overhead electric lines, which can cause injury and death to the ground people; and the second is truck beds striking overhead structures, like bridge decks, which then causes falling chunks of concrete or objects that can strike ground employees.’

Whilst every year, many exciting new initiatives are developed as a result of the industry coming together through Construction Safety Week, this year is even more important. With the Covid-19 outbreak it is inevitably more important than ever that the industry take safety culture seriously. All the way over in Hawaii, key stakeholders in the states Construction Industry collaborated to develop a construction industry pledge to mitigate the spread of the virus in job sites, with specific guidelines

During the pandemic it is important that the industry take safety culture seriously In an impressive attempt to reduce the risk of electrocution and struck-by accidents,

42 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

including social distancing, frequent hand washing and not sharing tools. Clearly, the need for standardised safety practices following the pandemic are widespread, and certainly not exclusive to the UK. Ultimately, the week serves as a chance for industry representatives to come together in sharing the latest ideas and tools for creating a safer environment for those in the construction sector. Construction Safety Week summarises the issue poignantly on their website: ‘When we come together across our industry to share safety knowledge and best practices, we all benefit. Our workers and construction sites are safer, stronger and better equipped to shape the landscape of our communities. We are committed to building a culture of safety across the industry.’ To hear more about the week, go to www. constructionsafetyweek.com


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Cover story • Sunward

44 • November 2020 • Plant Planet


Sunward • Cover Story

Sunward Europe: The importance of innovation SUNWARD Europe Heavy Industry. NV have arrived in the UK. With over 20 years’ experience in the sector, the company have built a name for themselves as a leading developer of heavy equipment globally. This month, Plant Planet hears from SUNWARD to find out what it is that sets them apart from the competition in the UK market.

The European branch of sunward have been operating since 2015 Founded in 1999 in China, SUNWARD have become one of the leading underground engineering equipment enterprises in the country. The European branch of the company have been operating from Beringen, Belgium since 2015. From these headquarters, SUNWARD Europe can →

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 45


Cover story • sunward

ensure rapid delivery of machines and spare parts across the European market. SUNWARD places innovation at the heart of the company. Their motto Innovation Leads to Value, encapsulates their commitment to revolutionizing the machinery used across the heavy equipment industry. Further demonstrating the company’s commitment is the 20 Research and Development centres aimed at developing engineering equipment. Alongside these Research and Development Centres, SUNWARD work with over 5000 collaborators. The company have cemented themselves among the top players in the past few years. The company have been ranked in KHL Group’s Yellow table in 2019 and 2020. The Yellow Table is an annual ranking of the sales figures of the World’s top 50 Original Equipment

46 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

Manufacturers. In 2020, SUNWARD ranked at number 35 with an equipment sales total of 905 million US$. The SUNWARD range of excavators have already proved popular in the European market. The company are the top supplier of mini and compact excavators in Hungary and Romania, the third most popular supplier for the same equipment in Slovenia and Slovakia, and among the top ten suppliers in Scandinavia.

OVER 200 products SUNWARD boast over 200 products in their global range including underground mining equipment, excavators, drilling rigs, cranes, loaders, and aerial work platforms. Here, we take a look at some of the machinery offered in Europe:

This infographic shows just some of the reasons why sunward is ‘the smart choice’ Excavators Ranking among the top 20 excavator enterprises in the world, SUNWARD’s excavators boast a variety of useful features. The range starts at 0.8 tonne ‘mini diggers’ through to a massive 21 tonnes. There is a product in this range to suit every earthmoving need. SUNWARD mini and compact excavators are designed with operator ease in mind. The machines are optimised to work in smaller spaces and on complicated job-sites without compromising on comfort. →


Sunward • Cover Story

FEATURES AS STANDARD:

BUILT PROUDLY FOR RELIABILITY

• BECAUSE YOU NEED THE FLEXIBILITY, SUNWARD excavators* are equipped with hydraulic quick hitch line and double acting hydraulic circuits as standard (*from SWE18UF)

• BECAUSE YOU NEED TO STAY SAFE DAY AND NIGHT, SUNWARD excavators are equipped with 4 perfectly positioned LED lights as standard • BECAUSE OPERATING COMFORT IS ESSENTIAL, SUNWARD excavators offer the facility of proportional joystick control** as standard (**right hand side or dual depending on model)

PREMIUM PARTS DELIVERED IN 24 HOURS

• BECAUSE OPERATING COST IS A PRIORITY, SUNWARD excavators*** feature a standard automatic idle system as standard (***from SWE35UF)

FOR PEACE OF MIND, all SUNWARD excavators come with a 3-year warranty.

UK DEALER NETWORK GROWING Want to be a part of it? Contact SUNWARD today!

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 47


Cover story • sunward The machines’ extendible chassis and TOPS/FOPS Cabin with optional canopy are examples of this. Further, many of the smaller SUNWARD Excavator models have zero tail swing and extended boom swing to enable optimised work in a tight working area. All Excavator models in the mini and small excavator ranges feature Yanmar engines with the exception of the SWE35UF and SWE60UF, both of which feature Kubota engines.

The SUNWARD range of Excavators feature a number of useful extras as standard. More information about this can be found in the infographic on page 47.

Loaders SUNWARD skid steer loaders have been used across a variety of sectors, providing operators with an efficient and flexible work tool in smaller spaces. The machines have been independently developed by SUNWARD Intelligent. Each wheeled skid steer is equipped with a reliable Kubota engine. The range

Sunward are introducing a range of Aerial work platforms to the market at the end of 2020.

48 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

starts with the SWL2820, with a total weight of 2830kg. The SWL4038, has an operating weight of 3650kg.

Aerial Work Platforms Arriving on the market at the end of 2020 is the SUNWARD range of Aerial Work Platforms. Featuring a compact structure and simple operation, the range will increase available work area and allowing operators to work at a maximum height of 14 meters. The high strength scissor structure and safelocking door ensure operator safety. These machines have a rated load of 320 kg, allowing for a variety of uses across construction sectors. See all the machinery in the SUNWARD range at https:// www.sunwardeurope.com


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Mecalac Construction Equipment UK • company profile

Driving the next generation Of compact innovation: Mecalac Construction Equipment UK Plant Planet hears from Commercial Director Paul Macpherson about the company’s continued success and what’s lined up for 2021

FOLLOWING

PAUL MACPHERSON, COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR AT MECALAC CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT UK

its acquisition of Terex Construction in 2017, Annecy-based equipment manufacturer Groupe Mecalac has invested heavily in developing a world-class compact portfolio. Alongside launching a wide range of safety-critical operator technologies and several first-to-market product lines, the company is becoming renowned for its unique

designs and game-changing prototypes. We spoke with Paul Macpherson, Commercial Director at Mecalac Construction Equipment UK, about the company’s continued success, its latest model updates and its vision for the future. Operating from the group’s UK manufacturing headquarters in Coventry, Paul reveals why 2021 →

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 51


Company profile • mecalac construction equipment UK will prove such a pivotal year for Mecalac and reveals a number of groundbreaking products in the development pipeline.

How has the Mecalac product range changed over the past three years? Mecalac is committed to challenging convention and bringing market innovation to life. Over the past three years,

Alongside the MDX portfolio, we’ve also redeveloped our MBR-71 single drum compaction roller to incorporate hydrostatic drive. Removing the clutch and belt arrangement has resulted in lower maintenance requirements, while a 35% increase in water tank volume has improved working range. Moving the operating controls to the handle ensures ergonomically-friendly operation, complementing a new ‘spring applied’ hydraulic release handbrake.

Mecalac is committed to challenging convention and bringing market innovation to life we’ve launched a number of product lines and operator technologies, which are now commonplace on sites around the world. Most noteworthy has been our MDX cabbed site dumper – the first model manufactured at our Coventry site to harness Groupe Mecalac’s renowned design aesthetics. Available in two payload variations, the 6MDX and 9MDX (with a three-tonne model currently in development) our range is widely considered the global market leader. Both 6 tonne and 9 tonne models adopt a highly-efficient 3.6L 55kw Perkins 904 engine and feature many safety-critical technologies to maximise on-site operator safety. Stylish design, plus unparalleled performance puts our cabbed offer head and shoulders above the competition.

52 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of our backhoe loader portfolio, we’ve recently undertaken a full update of the range to incorporate Active Drive as an optional addition to Servo Power Synchro transmission on TLB890 models (standard on the TLB990). This new technology effectively bypasses the torque converter to optimise responsiveness and efficiency in dynamic working conditions. In line with legislation, we’ve also transitioned our entire portfolio to meet Stage V emissions requirements. This is no small task. In fact, we’ve needed to completely redesign a number of units to ensure suitability. Key models from our tandem roller range (TV800, TV900, TV1000, TV1200) are now fullycompliant, as are our backhoe

loaders, six and nine-tonne MDX cabbed dumpers and ROPS TA site dumper suite. In the smaller models, we’ve kept the proven Kubota power plant while, in the six-tonne models upwards, we’ve opted for the Perkins 904 featured in our MDX range.

How important is site safety to Mecalac’s development programme? Leading the way in safety-critical earthmoving solutions is a key corporate priority and one that we consider central to our longterm development programme. Alongside our MDX cabbed site dumper range, we’ve developed a number of technologies in partnership with operators, site managers and our global dealer network, to set the global standards in site safety. One such development has been the roll-out of our Shield safety packs – safety-critical technology upgrades fitted as standard on every new Mecalac site dumper (six-tonne payloads upward). From start & drive interlock and handbrake warning, to a digital speedometer, frontfacing camera, fuel loss warning sensor, automatic idle shut-off, park brake test and Stop-Start Control™, Shield sets the safety standards for construction professionals around the world.

Is the Groupe Mecalac excavator portfolio now available across the UK? In 2019, we announced the →


Mecalac construction equipment UK • company profile

THE MECALAC MDX CABBED DUMPER IS COMMONPLACE ON SITES WORLDWIDE

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 53


Company profile • mecalac construction equipment UK national roll-out of Groupe Mecalac’s excavator portfolio across the UK. Representatives from our dealer network are responsible for retailing the innovative range, which is manufactured at Mecalac’s European headquarters in Annecy, France.

The range comprises the MCR crawler skid excavators, MWR wheeled excavators and the 15MC compact crawler excavator. Designed to maximise operator performance and efficiency, each model is completely unique in the marketplace.

Mecalac have some exciting product announcements lined up for 2021 Perfectly blending class-leading performance with flexibility, speed and process innovation, the pioneering range has been developed to meet the exacting requirements of today’s urban construction sites. Each product is compact, fuel-efficient and multi-functioning.

Can you give us a taste of what’s in store for 2021?

You’ll have to take my word for it, but we have a number of hugely exciting product announcements, updates, technologies and more in store for 2021. While we can’t reveal too much just yet, one range addition just around the corner is our all-new MDX Canopy site dumper.

Officially unveiled as part of the Innovation Trail at this year’s Executive Hire Show, the first-to-market model provides class-leading operator protection at an attractive price point, bridging the gap between ROPS and cabbed models. Removing the rear and sides of the cab, the windscreen and roof remain to form an open-air canopy. Available initially in six and nine-tonne payloads, each model will pair stylish aesthetics with impressive operator functionality. Alongside the MDX Canopy, there’s a lot of hugely exciting work going on behind the scenes at our Coventry facility that will come to fruition within the next twelve months. Keep an eye out for our latest announcements and product updates – we’re confident that these developments will revolutionise the marketplace.

THE MBR-71 SINGLE DRUM COMPACTION ROLLER HAS BEEN REDEVELOPED

54 • November 2020 • Plant Planet


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Interview • Living the High Life with Bronto Skylift

Living the High Life With Bronto Skylift Rachel Lambert talks to Ian James of Bronto Skylift about the access industry in the UK

HE

IAN JAMES, KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER 56 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

may originally have set out in his career to quite literally “print money” but it is apparent that Ian James is an ‘access man’ through and through. As Key Account Manager for Bronto Skylift, Ian fulfils a variety of different roles for the Finnish headquartered company, a long-established manufacturer and global supplier of truck mounted aerial work platforms.

While naturally being proud and loyal to the Bronto Skylift brand, he is also a passionate supporter when it comes to the greater good of the access industry, “doing his best to make a difference and help initiate change where necessary.” He is an active Council Member of the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) and Chairman of the Truck Mount Committee, the latter of which has been merged into the Manufacturers Technical Committee. For Bronto, Ian predominantly


Living the High Life with Bronto Skylift • interview concentrates on the UK market because volume of demand dictates this, with him describing it as: “the strongest, most mature market for access”. Under normal circumstances (before the pandemic started) he would be flying to Finland at least twice a month for meetings at Bronto’s head office in Tampere, as well as other international destinations. Ian, who has actually been involved with Bronto for 25 years in one form or another, focusses on the industrial ‘working at height’ side of the business supporting industrial customers and utilities in the UK. Fire & Rescue is another key area for Bronto, but this is very specialist and is handled separately here in the UK. “The two divisions could not be more different because of tender processes, technical specifications and other anomalies required for fire,” explains Ian, who first started selling access platforms working for Benford back in 1987. Prior to the ‘world of access’, Ian had actually started out in the printing business. He had completed a business studies degree sponsored by De La Rue and worked in that industry for a while, but soon realised that this was not where he wanted to be. Ian laughs, “Truthfully, I found it a little dull and rather than pursuing a more academic business role, I hankered to get into sales. I started off selling some equipment albeit not related to plant and found that I really enjoyed it. I moved to the Midlands around that time and I met Tom Worrall at the local scuba diving club who was then Sales Director at Benford. We

got chatting and I said that I was looking for a new challenge. Soon after, I got a phone call from Peter Reece who was Benford’s Access Manager at the time, and was offered a job, my first access role.” He remained with Benford for 3 years before joining Grove Manlift, where he was General Manager for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Bringing the focus back to the present day, we talk about how the pandemic has affected the Bronto Skylift business in the UK. “When we first went into lockdown, there was a feeling within Bronto that the access business would stop for a while. The situation was all new, and initially, we didn’t fully understand what qualified as ‘essential work’. As the gravity of the situation set in, I feared we were going to have a long period of inactivity, and it was worrying. I also travel a lot for the company, not just to Finland but to other parts of the world too, including the States. This all stopped abruptly so there was suddenly a big change to the way we communicated and conducted our business.”

35m up to 90m, demand for the latter having grown tremendously from the wind turbine industry.” Although some of these sales were orders that Bronto had been working on before lockdown, new enquiries have been buoyant too. Some can be attributed to supplying key industries, such as utilities, telecommunications, Highways and windfarms; all of whom provide essential services and need aerial access equipment for repairs and maintenance on an ongoing basis.

“We have never had a busier comparable six-month period in my whole career at bronto”

“Initially, as with everyone else, we were concerned about the immediate impact on our business. However a couple of months in, suddenly the orders began to roll in again and I would say, we have never had a busier comparable six-month period in my whole career at Bronto. And the equipment we have sold has been across the range too, from

“We used lockdown productively and I believe, communicated really well with our customers keeping in touch on a regular basis. One initiative we rolled out, was orchestrated by requests from our customers and in direct response to the social distancing rules (which obviously is hard in a basket). Bronto designed a Perspex screen for the baskets. This does not sound difficult on the face of it but is far more technical and safety critical when you consider the potential impact of wind loadings at 90m high. We offered CAD designs for free to our customers, which came in very useful when you consider that the basket extends to over 3m long. So, in theory, you could have two or three people in a basket with one or two screens.” Bronto’s protective screens initiative was certainly well received and indeed, pivotal →

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 57


Interview • Living the High Life with Bronto Skylift to some industries being able to work again; the commercial window cleaning specialists being one such example who said it: “saved their businesses because they couldn’t operate otherwise with the social distancing rules.” Ian noticed that some smaller companies reacted quickly and used the opportunity to win new contracts. They turned to Bronto when they needed to place urgent orders.

And it is not hard to understand why innovations from Bronto are making an impact on 5G, which rely on close contact. Masts need to be

positioned every 250m to 300m, so there is a lot of working at height involved. New business may be flowing, but there is also new equipment being unveiled too. Bronto has just released a S47XR (Version 2), a 47-metre boom on an 18-tonne chassis.

“We are starting to sell a lot of equipment for 5g work” “The stock programme that we put in allows people to make more instantaneous decisions, which is especially helpful to customers who know they have contracts in place. Committing £1million or so to a truck and predicting the market in say 14 months’ time is a different proposition to those who have the guarantee of contracts happening now. They have the reassurance of revenue coming in which takes a lot of the expense out of the purchase, so the decision is much easier for those in this position.” Now operating in slightly more normal times, Ian says: “We are starting to sell a lot of equipment for 5G work. We have developed cage winches for telecommunications so a 5G antenna can be erected without having to manually handle it. A lot of people are buying Bronto equipment because of the ancillary options we offer.”

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“I think this latest model is going to be hugely popular,” says Ian. “We needed a smaller model to fill a gap in our range, so the new 47-metre option is a very important addition.” Bronto has a reputation for producing very rugged, tough and reliable equipment (which is why it is used by Fire services), but with ‘tough’ very often comes ‘weight’. This is a challenge when mounting on a smaller chassis. “We never want to compromise on safety and sturdiness. So, we have put a lot of effort into stripping out some weight in the S47XR, without affecting the strength and integrity of the boom. It hasn’t got a heavyweight chassis underneath it, which helps to take some of the cost out. We are really happy with it and have very high expectations.” Bronto has already sold its first S47XR in the UK to a window

cleaning specialist, ACS Access & Maintenance Ltd, who took delivery of it in September. Ian explains that he expects the equipment to appeal to the telecoms sector too, because “it is so well suited”. The Scandinavians have a reputation for being “great engineers”, but they are also very savvy when it comes to IT. This is reflected in Bronto’s

advanced telematic systems, an area they have excelled in for many years, and one in which they are renowned for leading the industry. As a foundation of Bronto’s digital service, each modern machine is fitted with a modem. Customers have user permissions to access the Skyliftfleet portal via a passcode, to view and analyse data relating to their own machines. It is a channel to distribute service bulletins and a dashboard to see how the unit is performing, when the next service is due and as a reference to the manuals. It also gives Bronto HQ visibility of the machines worldwide and access to an extensive range of data relating to each unit, such as service history, working hours, rpm hours, etc. They can also see where the machine has been working and view cluster diagrams to identify hotspots. All modern machines have a readiness for remote diagnostics,


Living the High Life with Bronto Skylift • interview so if a fault or query should occur, Bronto can connect to the unit from HQ or from an authorised service partner with Bronto Compass system and access real time information to help solve a problem. In most cases, the issue can be identified and rectified remotely which minimises downtime. Bronto has been a forerunner with its remote diagnostic tools and systems as its first generation was established back 1999. Remote diagnostics, apart from

being just a diagnostic tool, allow full calibration of control system sensors, cage load settings, boom movements speeds and tuning to users’ preference, if so desired. Simply put, the Bronto Compass system gives full visibility and control of units all over the world. “As a latest addition to the system, we can use the ‘BlackBox’ data to simulate and visualise units’ operating situation at Bronto HQ. It is a great tool to support our customers and service network if the information from the field is broken.” Ian explains further, “This is beneficial not just from a maintenance perspective but can also help operators work safely too. The control system can remotely monitor the outreach and if required, can restrict any overloading or over-reaching.” Telematics has even greater potential heading towards the roll out of 5G and as Ian explains, the data collected and analysed by Bronto also helps them to design and develop better machines. He describes Bronto’s telematics “as being on another level”. “Customers buying equipment that costs anything from £300,000 upwards want to know their investment is going to be looked after, and above all, is safe. The build quality and reliability

of our equipment and the telematic technology supports our customers by helping them to maintain ‘up time’ (in other words the machine is out and operational, earning money). Because of this, Bronto trucks have a high residual value and a lower cost of ownership, which is a ‘win, win’ situation for many rental companies.” While Bronto is a forwardthinking company, the subject never far from away is of course Brexit, as it looms forever closer. Ian has strong views, “I’d love to say that being part of the EU has been so helpful to Bronto in the UK, with us having one regulation that suits everybody, but frankly, for us, it hasn’t been like that. The UK applies the European regulations in a completely different way to most member states, and I believe, we are currently the most confused and chaotic of them all.” He goes on to say, “There is a lack of understanding of what our trucks actually do, and we tend to get grouped in the crane category by the DVLA and DVSA, even though we are a road going vehicle, which makes life difficult when importing to the UK. A crane chassis is not the same as a road going vehicle and have a chequered history in terms of regulations. “There are so many hoops to jump through to get our equipment approved and registered – it can take 3 or 4 months, which is crazy when it could be made simple. There are all sorts of issues from a design perspective too, when trying to comply with European regulations for a general truck, and we’re far →

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Interview • Living the High Life with Bronto Skylift from a ‘one size fits all’ scenario, given that each member state has a certain amount of leeway in their interpretation of ‘compliance’. Ian explains how the slightest deviation on design or fitting can affect vehicle type approval, so even the smallest change often necessitates an entire inspection at the factory again. It is one of the reasons why Bronto has plans in 2021 to make “passage an easier task”.

In effect, it is taxing business efficiency because it costs us more, and that is without the speculation of a possible 9% import duty on trucks post Brexit – although we do believe we have a strong case for an exemption.” It’s an issue about which Ian has apparently been “standing on his soapbox” for the last 10 years and the driving force behind him joining IPAF as a Council Member and getting involved with trucks, now as part of the Manufacturers Technical Committee.

“I am hoping Brexit may provide an opportunity to straighten out some of the abnormalities in our industry” “I would say, that if we were in a straightforward position with Europe now, then I would be very much in favour of continuing as we were, but that’s not the case. There is so much bureaucracy to deal with, both in Europe and the UK - it couldn’t be much worse. I am hoping that Brexit may provide an opportunity to straighten out some of the abnormalities in our industry.

“I know IPAF has been having meetings with government officials, but again, we are still awaiting clarification. The problem for us, is that we will be forced to charge 9% on the whole unit if we don’t get the exemption, and when the Euro is on parity with the GBP, it makes things worse.” And speaking of IPAF, Ian is full of praise. “There are many reasons why I am on the IPAF Council. In particular, I feel I

LEFT: BRONTO SHEILD IN USE RIGHT: BRONTO SHIELD ILLUSTRATION

60 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

have a moral obligation to be involved in a wider part of the industry in terms of safety, and also because of the training. The better trained people are, the safer the industry can be and IPAF effectively initiates training and promotes this. 90% of accidents in our industry are down to operator error. IPAF is also the largest, most powerful voice for the industry, so from a technical, advisory and lobbying point of view, it is a very beneficial organisation to be involved with.” At the time of going to press, due to the pandemic, it had been over 300 days since Ian had been to meet with his colleagues in Finland. “This is such an unusual situation and when you work remotely from HQ it is always good to catch up with the team and discuss new developments,” says Ian, who has formed a close working relationship with his Nordic colleagues. “Of course, a few beers help too – we shall certainly enjoy that when we meet face to face again!”


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Topical Commentary • getting back virtually on track

Getting Back Virtually on track Hannah Bounford reports on how the construction events sector has adapted to the Covid-19 Pandemic

2020

has been a tough year for the construction industry. With Covid-19 related restrictions in place, entire sectors have been uprooted. Chief among these is the construction events sector. From the smallest sites to the biggest machinery manufacturers, ours is a thoroughly people focussed industry. Construction events provide

biggest and most anticipated construction machinery events have been postponed until next year - or even cancelled. Those that have gone ahead have found a new home online. Some of the UK’s most prominent construction shows have found ways to connect with those who would have attended. With the rise in online services such as Skype and Zoom, the industry has been able to host many scheduled conferences online.

Those construction events that have gone ahead in 2020 have found a new home online the cornerstone of business for companies across the globe. Many of the industry’s

62 • November September2020 2020••Plant PlantPlanet Planet

The CPA Stars of the Future awards event was hosted online this year. The event, which has been running for eight years, identifies →


Getting Back Virtually on Track • Topical Commentary

Plant Planet • September 2020 • 63


Topical Commentary • getting back virtually on track and celebrates some of the industry’s brightest up-andcoming talent. Plans had been in place to host a physical Stars of the Future awards ceremony at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in Warwickshire earlier this year, but sadly this was unable to take place. CPA Chief Executive Kevin Minton opened the online awards event before Rob Squires, CPA Training and Safety Manager, announced the winners.

Set to have been held in June 2020, covid concerns and a subsequent national lockdown forced the organisers to postpone the event until June 2021. This has had knock-on effects as Plantworx, which had been scheduled to go ahead in June 2021, has also been pushed to the summer of 2022 to avoid exhibitor conflicts. In June, a collaboration between Demolition News, Diggers and Dozers, Nick Drew and Content With Media brought Hillhead (Almost) Live to streaming platforms across the internet. The event, lasting about an hour and a half, featured most of the major equipment

The CPA stars of the future event was hosted online by chief executive Kevin minton Perhaps the biggest show to be cancelled in 2020 was Hillhead.

64 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

manufacturers that would have attended Hillhead in a video show. Exclusive content from companies such as Caterpillar, JCB, LiuGong and Liebherr was broadcast live across Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram TV. These shows provide the industry with vital information. However, in the past few weeks it has looked increasingly like the 2021 show calendar is also set to be altered by Covid-19 restrictions. Recently, the Executive Hire Show team announced that due to continuing uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, and following discussions with exhibitors, supporters and partners, the show has been rescheduled to the 28th and 29th April 2021. As covid concerns wear on →

CPA TRAINING AND SAFETY MANAGER ROB SQUIRES ANNOUNCED THE WINNERS OF THE CPA STARS OF THE FUTURE AWARDS


Topical Commentary • getting back virtually on track and restrictions remain in place for the foreseeable future, the industry stands to benefit from more interactive events. In October, UK Construction Week hosted UK Construction Week Virtual. The five day event allowed online visitors to sign up and attend online streams in which industry professionals discussed the issues facing construction now and for the next 18 months.

The industry stands to benefit from more interactive events Taking the idea of live streaming one step further, Plant Planet is set to host its first virtual trade event in April next year. Taking place from 14th-16th April 2021, Plant Planet Virtually on Site will simulate a live trade event. Visitors will be able to attend stands, network with industry professionals, watch machinery demonstrations, and listen to and participate in online conversations about current affairs affecting both the construction plant sector and the industry as a whole. The show has already partnered with the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, who are sponsoring its virtual networking room. The advantages of virtual trade shows are wide ranging. See just a few benefits on the opposite page.

66 • November September2020 2020••Plant PlantPlanet Planet

Benefits


Getting back virtually on track • Topical Commentary

of Virtual trade shows Cost Saving Being able to attend a show from the comfort of your home/workplace means you won’t be spending any extra money on the transport and accommodation that is involved in attending a 3 day event.

Time saving Not having to travel to the event gives you that extra time to visit more exhibitor stands. From visiting their virtual stands to networking with them, you will find that your productivity has gone up.

Fast paced networking A virtual experience gives you access to speedier networking – chatting online is a lot faster than in person, giving you the opportunity to make more connections.

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 67


14-16th April 2021 Find Out More: https://www.plantplanetonsite.co.uk


Small But Very much ‘on track’ dumpers • Topical Commentary

Small, but very much ‘On Track’ dumpers David Chuck unpacks the wide range of mini tracked dumpers on the UK Market

WINGET TD500HL HIGH LIFT TRACKED DUMPER USING HIGH LIFT FEATURE

IN

a previous issue of Plant Planet, we looked at the larger payload tracked dumpers. In this issue we spotlight just a very small selection of the extensive range of machines with payloads from 500kgs to 2.5 Tonne; the majority of machines being walk behind or stand on models. Demand for smaller tracked dumpers has certainly been high during 2020. Much of this increase in demand can be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic with so many people undertaking garden or landscaping projects. As a result, this market sector has become very busy for hires and sales.

Winget Better known today for their range of concrete mixers, but with Winget’s recent appointment of a new Managing Director, we can →

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 69


Topical Commentary • small but very much ‘on track’ dumpers expect more emphasis on other products in the future - and possibly more tracked dumpers. Winget offers two variants of tracked dumper - a TD500HL High Lift with a 500 kg payload and a TD 650 Standard Lift model with a 650kg skip capacity, powered by the popular Honda GX160 5.5hp, 4 stroke engine. The drive is hydrostatic providing the user with smooth, controllable forward and reverse operation, and the tracks have a unique tread pattern that offers superb traction across varied terrain and gradients, even steps. Both models have a width of only 0.68m. More information can be found at www.winget.co.uk

Kubota Again, a name more widely associated with another product, in this case excavators. Kubota offers a range of tracked dumpers with payloads from 700 kg to 2500 kg. The popular KC700, with a 700 kg payload, is available in five versions; with the KC700VHD with variable height discharge becoming the most popular. It is fitted with a tilt angle sensor and will stop the machine lifting in an unsafe situation. This is a great safety feature and is being fitted to more and more narrow width items of plant. The largest machine in the Kubota tracked dumper range is the driver controlled KC250 with a 2.5 Tonne payload. More details on the Kubota range →

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CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: WINGET TD500HL HIGH LIFT TRACKED DUMPER; KUBOTA KC250HR-4 WITH KUBOTA RT210; KUBOTA KC250HR-4; WINGET TD500HL & TD650 IN; KUBOTA KC700VHD


Small But Very much ‘on track’ dumpers • Topical Commentary

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 71


Topical Commentary • small but very much ‘on track’ dumpers can be found at www.kubota. com It is worth mentioning that Kubota has just reached the milestone of 130 years trading. To commemorate this, they have a special 130th Anniversary website charting their product history which can be accessed from the main website.

distributor www.johnstonplant. com run by Richard Johnston helped us with images and Cormidi information.

JCB

Cormidi

JCB has recently introduced an electric version of their popular HTD-5 dumpster the HTD-5e which is offered as a high-tip, walk-behind model, capable of carrying up to 500 kg.

Italian manufacturer Cormidi (founded by the Cormidi family in 1995) offers a large range of tracked dumpers including fully electric and hybrid models. Full details of their very extensive range can be found at www. cormidi.us Their Midlands area

The addition of electric drive makes the machine suitable for urban and indoor applications, that require low noise and zero exhaust emissions. Key features include: 9kW electric motor delivers travel speeds of up to 3km/h; maximum two-hour

charging time; zero emissions at point of use, along with 500kg capacity and 1,450mm skip ground clearance in tipping position. These machines are just a few examples of what is available in this rapidly growing market sector. Future editions of Plant Planet we will explore other models.

JCB HTD-5E DUMPSTER

CORMIDI DUMPERS ON SITE

72 • November 2020 • Plant Planet


Topical Commentary • Coronavirus effects mental health

Covid-19 Exacerbates Mental Health Issues in Industry Eleanor Baldwin explores the impact of the pandemic on the industry’s mental health

IT’S

no secret that mental health issues are prominent in the construction industry, but even more so with the recent Coronavirus pandemic. Job instability is a huge contributing factor to mental health issues, and that itself has become synonymous with the virus outbreak. For those struggling to cope under these uniquely challenging circumstances, there are places offering support.

employers were not apt at recognising or understanding early signs of mental health troubles, or offering support. Luckily, companies such as The Holistic Healthcare Group exist. The Holistic Healthcare Group offers tailored employee wellbeing packages specifically designed for the construction industry. According to their website: ‘With our help, you can offer your site workers a wide range of holistic and complementary therapies and treatments to detect, treat and manage poor mental health, from workshops on managing stress to hypnotherapy, counselling, yoga and mindfulness.’

Suicide kills more industry workers than work-related falls Whilst physical safety is often considered in the construction industry, protecting mental health is less commonly considered. Suicide reportedly kills more industry workers than work-related falls every year. Reports also show that a massive 73% of all construction workers feel that their

74 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

The group offers a free consultation for those interested in the well-being packages. Building Mental Health is another initiative led by industry experts to tackle →


Coronavirus effects mental health • Topical Commentary

Plant Planet • November 2020 • 75


Topical Commentary • Coronavirus effects mental health the issue of mental health in construction. The group describe their purpose, stating: ‘The purpose is to provide a flexible and consistent framework to enable all parts of the construction sector to access mental health support, provide awareness and training and put in place a structure and systems to support people working in and around our industry.’ On their website, Building Mental Health offer advice on mental health first aid, they describe 5 steps in which to build a successful mental health culture, as well as offer a free adaptable tool box talk, among other helpful advice. If you’re struggling with mental health issues yourself, there are numerous hotlines available to help you when times get tough. The Samaritans offer ‘a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way –

about whatever’s getting to you’, and can be contacted on 116 123. The Construction Industry Helpline ‘advises on a range of matters including occupational health and wellbeing, support and advice for people with stress, and home worries such as divorce, tax and financial concerns.’ as well as being able to offer emergency financial aid. The Construction Industry Helpline can be contacted on 0345 605 1956. Prevention of Young Suicide - Papyrus, pledge to ‘provide confidential help and advice to young people and anyone worried about a young person’, and can call on 0800 068 41 41, text on 07786 209697 or emailed on pat@papyrus-uk. org There is an abundance of helplines out there for those in-need of advice or support, and most can be found by going to www.matesinmind.org/needhelp.html

Here are some more hot-lines and their contact information: Step Change 0800 138 1111 Website: www.stepchange.org

Veteran’s Gateway 0808 802 1212 Ask a question: https://support. veteransgateway.org.UK/app/ask Website: https://www. veteransgateway.org.UK/

The National Counselling Society 01903 200666 Email: admin@ nationalcounsellingsociety. or Website (find a counsellor): www.nationalcounsellingsociety. org/find-counsellor

Electrical Industries Charity 0800 652 1618 Email: support@electricalcharity. org

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) 0800 58 58 58 (UK) 0808 802 58 58 (London) Webchat Opening hours are 5pm – midnight every day

Cruse Bereavement Care 0808 808 1677

Mind Call: 0300 123 3393 Text: 86463 Whatever you are going through, remember that you are not alone; Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or a helpline.

76 • November 2020 • Plant Planet


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Topical Commentary • We Need to move with the times

“We Need to Move with the Times”: A Groundworker’s perspective Hannah Bounford sits down with groundworker Charlie Coaker to gain his perspective on the year just gone and what the future holds

IT’S

been a strange year across the industry. From the largest manufacturers to the smallest sites, Covid has a wideranging effect on individuals in the construction industry. It’s certainly been a strange year for Charlie Coaker. The 24-year-old West Sussex based groundworker has experienced the way Covid-19 has impacted small businesses, halting operations and putting future plans on hold.

tractor operator, where he met his future employer, an owner of an agricultural groundworks company.

Charlie fell into construction. He previously worked for the global farming company, Barfoots, as a

“I work on more residential stuff now. So footings, drainage, demolition, as well as a lot of

78 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

“Everyone I have worked for, I’ve always known. When I’ve been working for other people, I’ve still been in contact with other people – like the guy I work for now. I worked for Strange Bros for a couple of years. And, between starting and my second year, I was drifting off and doing bits for other people – which then led me to change almost full-time into what I’m doing now.

commercial building. Also, a lot of the work we do is remedial.” Of course, the shift from working in agriculture to working in construction, Charlie explains, comes with quite a bit of adjustment. “It’s a very different attitude. Health and Safety measures in construction are much stricter. The hours are shorter though. Working in agricultural groundworks you tend to have longer hours whereas in commercial building you have times you have to work between. “There are other differences too. For example, this week I had an archaeologist on site. At the moment we’re working


We Need To Move with the times • Topical Commentary in an area with a lot of historic remains. The area has an old coach house we’re building an extension on and, because we’re digging over 3 feet deep and it’s within Chichester City Walls, we need to have an archaeologist on site. Yeah, we found loads of old spoons and pots – Roman I think.” At the moment, Charlie’s day to day work is more or less as it was before the UK was put into lockdown at the end of March. Charlie explains that, although this is the case, when lockdown started his working life changed practically overnight. “It slowed down a lot. The first month or so was really like ‘a few days here, a few days there’. Everyone was unsure on what was happening. The first day back was really weird because no one was sure whether we could go onto site or not. There was only a few people on the job but we still weren’t sure. “The sites I work on have changed. There’s loads of hand sanitiser and signage. The amount of changes made really depends on what level of site it is, whether it’s big or small. When you go on small sites it’s almost like things haven’t changed. We mainly work outside, so being two metres apart and keeping distance is pretty easy. “When lockdown started there was a drop in the amount of residential work we were doing. People didn’t really want other people around their home and in their space. But the bigger sites and new builds where no-one

was living – we were mainly working on those. “I was quite lucky. There was work every week but it was quite sporadic. I lost a lot of work in the long term. A lot of the big contractors just pushed projects”. At some points, Charlie worried that there just wouldn’t be any work. “There was no clear indication from the government about whether builders could be on site, that’s what worried me. A lot of the guidance was for people working in offices, so we really weren’t sure what we could and couldn’t do. And that what slowed things up.”

homes. So it’s a lot of people based in London, not in their office, so they come down to the coast to be in their holiday homes and realise they want some work done.” At the time of publication, the area that Charlie is based, the district of Arun, is among the areas of the UK with the lowest infection rate of Covid-19. Charlie counts himself lucky, noting that his geographical location has had a positive impact on how quickly he was able to return to work. When asked about whether he was worried about a second wave having an impact, Charlie said:

“There was no clear indication from the government about whether builders could be on site”

Charlie explained how, on top of that, everyone was getting worried. Merchants shut down for a few weeks and materials were an issue. “Everyone was bulk buying materials because the factories were set to shut down operations. That’s why a lot of the bigger projects were pushed. If they can’t get the materials for the year they just postpone it until next year.”

“I’m not as worried as I was the first time around. The government are backing building now, so I don’t foresee it really affecting that too much, but there is a bit of uncertainty. “I think if there was a second lockdown construction would probably carry on. In what I do, we’re not inside. Especially with groundworks, you’re pretty spaced out.”

Now that work has picked up again for Charlie, he’s found that the types of job he’s doing has shifted from commercial contracts to smaller residential work.

Charlie’s plans for the future have also been impacted by Covid. Before lockdown started, he had been planning to buy his own machine and start his own groundworks business.

“I work on a lot of holiday

“With everything at the →

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Topical Commentary • We Need to move with the times moment that’s a bit uncertain. Currently, the work is residential based but that can change quickly. I don’t want to end up putting a lease on a brand new digger and then not have any work.”

lot of people who own these companies are a bit older. Someone I’ve worked before with didn’t want to change the way his digger operates. He’s not interested in using newer technology. “I think the way the Scandinavians approach groundworks with things like Tiltrotators is so efficient. I would love a Tiltrotator. I really want to start out with a CAT 302CR. They have a deal with Steelwrist, so that’s the dream. To so many smaller companies it’s quite a new technology, they’re expensive to buy and you don’t see a return on the investment quick enough. On

“I Think it’s important that we move with the times” As a young person in construction, Charlie has ideas about where the industry should be headed over the next few years. However, he also notes some of the drawbacks of newer technology among smaller construction companies. “I think the industry doesn’t welcome change too often. A

CHARLIE HOPES TO START OUT WITH A CAT 302CR

80 • November 2020 • Plant Planet

the other hand, I see it as you have one less guy you’re having to pay to go along with a laser level or sweep something from in front of you. Charlie says, “I think it’s important that we move with the times. Eventually a lot of the big housing associations will want everything mapped out. A lot of companies won’t be able to do it unless they move with the times. “I believe in the next few years, a lot of the laser guiding and over dig control technology will take off, especially on the big sites. On the smaller sites I think it’s harder. The people you’re doing work for just want a price at the end of the day. The technology makes things more efficient for me but my client isn’t necessarily going to see a benefit and on that size it’s difficult to make it pay.”


2018 CAT 301.7DCR - Choice of 2

2018 CAT 302.7DCR

2018 CAT 308E2CR - Choice of 2

2019 Hitachi ZX135 US-6 - Choice of 3

2003 Case CX210

2011 Case CX230C

2018 Hitachi ZX350 LC-6 - Choice of 2

1995 CAT 428B

2015 CAT 432F

2018 Hydrema 912F - Choice of 3

2007 CAT 953D

2011 CAT D6N LGP

Shifnal Plant Limited, Molineux House, Shifnal, Shropshire, TF11 9AZ Phone: 01952 743305 Mobile: 07801 049395 Email: info@shifnalplant.com

WWW.SHIFNALPLANT.COM


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