Working with plant and equipment

Working with plant and equipment


All building sites need a wide variety of plant and equipment – much of which is hired from specialists. PHPD asks Lucy Furnival, Operations Director – Construction at Hewden, about the importance of the residential construction sector and the latest products available.

Hewden is active in a number of sectors including construction. How significant is the construction sector for the company and, in particular, residential housing construction?

Construction projects play a major part of our hire commitments and we support a number of major house builders in their residential construction projects including Miller Homes, Barrett Homes and Keepmoat. Our recent £60m investment programme has seen an upgrade in crucial kit that can help in residential construction projects, including plant, cranes, attachments and power generation.

With more than 25,000 pieces of equipment available from more than 25 depots, we ensure access to equipment nationwide. In addition, we have a huge range of attachments that are ideal for any residential project, including breakers, compactors, cutters, augers and grabbers. We have a long history of serving the residential housing sector and look to build on that for years to come.

Which pieces of equipment are in most demand and what is Hewden doing to ensure they are available when needed?

Versatility is the keyword when providing kit for residential building projects so equipment that is adaptable for a variety of tasks is ideal. Generally, equipment with a compact footprint is also in high demand, when space is at a premium on cramped construction sites.

We find our excavators are hugely popular, mainly because they come with a range of attachments, such as breakers, augers, compaction plates etc. We can provide everything from a 0.75T micro digger up to a 22T excavator from our fleet. In addition we are able to offer larger machinery through a select number of partners allowing a reduced supply chain for the customer.

hewden-skid-steerOur telehandlers are also very popular – a key piece of equipment on any residential construction site -ranging from 5m to 17m, they can move materials as required to their intended location across busy building sites.

Our Skid Steer products also offer the compact footprint and ‘workhorse’ mentality needed on construction projects. Our latest investment includes the JCB 155 and 205T tracked models that offer improved access and enhanced visibility, along with a joy-stick style control panel for easy operation.

We are also the second largest mobile crane operator in the UK, with a fleet ranging from 30t to 220t in lifting weight. Our latest Tadano luffing jibs are some of the most sophisticated in operation and are capable of hoisting weights under covered buildings, making them ideal for handling complicated construction jobs on congested building sites.

Housebuilding sites can be complex places, each with its own dynamics. Can hire arrangements be tailored to suit ever-evolving requirements?

Hewden has an experienced team of sales managers, depot managers and hire controllers who can recommend the best piece of equipment for the job at hand. We can also tailor any hire as to accommodate a project’s specific requirements.

Hewden’s Telematics devices, fitted to over 1,400 of our rental assets, can interpret a vast array of information, and translate it into a user-friendly, website readable format. This unique offering differentiates Hewden from its competitors and ensures we are constantly learning and innovating.

Telematics can also help optimise asset workloads by recommending a larger or smaller machine for the task, which in turn will drive optimal efficiency and fuel use. We can also provide contract lifting, which ensures we have a trained supervisor, lift and crane operator, and a slinger signaller to meet specific requirements.

Health & safety is a core value for the construction sector. What is Hewden doing to ensure construction workers remain safe?

Health and safety is core to our philosophy as a company. We have a duty of hewden-jcb-11care to every member of staff and every contractor who works with us. We take safety incredibly seriously and we are extremely proud of our commitment to health and safety. We want every Hewden employee, and every customer we visit, to return to their homes safe and well every day. This culture has earned us the RoSPA Gold Award on six consecutive occasions since 2009.

We have introduced a number of safety features of our own including a unique engineered solution that allows us to change attachments between our excavator brands in less than five minutes rather than the industry norm of 1.5hrs. This saves manual handling of the hanger, typically weighing over 100kg which is four times the maximum recommended for one person, thus reducing the risk to Hewden staff and the associated risk to our customers.

From a delivery driver perspective, every one of our drivers is assessed on their on-road performance using on-board telemetrics to assess their speed and road handling. The same rigorous assessments can be made on our contractors working on-site to ensure safety standards are adhered to at all times.

We’ve also recently been SafeHire Certified, which sets the benchmark for the hire industry.

Do you think residential construction is adopting more off-site manufacturing techniques and how is Hewden supporting this sector of the industry?

We are definitely seeing an increase in off-site manufacturing coming into the market, however this is still a very small percentage of the total projects carried out in the UK, and less visible in the residential housing market (usually on bespoke one off houses).

Our experienced team of sales managers and contract lift managers allows us to support this growing sector and ensure pre-manufactured modules are installed in an organised and timely manner.

 How does the company ensure it can reach customers right across the UK?

Hewden has a nationwide network of more than 25 depots reaching 96 percent of our customers in less than two hours. A truly national coverage delivered locally. In addition, all of our large items of equipment are fitted with advanced telemetry devices. This not only ensures that we can monitor the performance and safety of our operatives; it means that we can keep track of equipment and its availability on a national level.

Can Hewden offer training for operatives who will be operating the plant?

Hewden has a dedicated customer training division with centres across the UK running a number of accredited training courses. We can also be deliver courses at our customer’s site as required.

hewden-jcb-15One of our specialisms is the ability to work with a customer to create a bespoke course for their needs.

We operate an online system allowing customers to easily manage their training administration. The system is designed to reduce the need for cumbersome, paper-based administration and supports the management of personal development and learning plans.

Other training courses currently offered by Hewden include; Manual Handling, SPA (Passport to safety Live Events), PASMA, NPORS, CPCS Plant, IPAF, Rough Terrain and Telehandling to name a few.

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