Executive Hire News › Archives › April/May 2016 › Market Report: Concrete Laying, Cutting & Finishing : Solid business platform
Market Report: Concrete Laying, Cutting & Finishing : Solid business platform
Serving the concrete equipment market can offer a surprisingly diverse range of hire opportunities.
Data from the respected Markit UK Construction Purchasing Managers Index issued by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply suggests that, while the pace of expansion in overall construction activity slowed in March, some parts of the industry
are growing, particularly civil engineering projects. Also, 51% of companies expected a rise in business levels over the next
12 months, with only 11% forecasting a reduction.
Indeed, suppliers of equipment for working with concrete report good levels of demand from hirers. “Products for laying concrete are amongst the first on site, often being needed to create slabs for portable buildings and welfare units before work commences,” said Ray Neilson, MD of Altrad Belle. “If a hirer can supply this equipment at the initial stages, they have a great chance of supplying other items later. We are receiving orders from national hirers that are establishing specialist operations for this market, and the training school at our Sheen headquarters is busy training their staff on equipment operation and selection. We are also doing business
with more independents, many of which are existing customers of our mixers and are now adding more specialist concreting equipment. Certainly, our sales of items like screeds, pokers and trowels are up on last year. Many companies delayed investing during the downturn and can now benefit from buying the latest models, many of which are lighter in weight and more efficient.”
Similarly, Greig Sandiford, MD of MBW (UK), reports steady demand over the last 12 months, “and particularly for smaller equipment since the start of this year, such as our 24in power trowels and ScreeDemon screeders, which are typically used for smaller house building projects and extensions. We would normally expect demand for larger 36in trowels, for factory and warehouse construction projects, suggesting that some investment is being delayed, perhaps due to
the forthcoming European referendum. However,
demand will inevitably
pick up, and we are launching new models in readiness.”
Also reporting brisk sales
is surface preparation equipment supplier, Trelawny. “We took a lot of orders at the Executive Hire Show, and we are still getting business from contacts we made there,” said Area Sales Manager, Glenn Chapman. “Demand is coming from new building projects that are starting, for applications such as levelling newly laid concrete and removing imperfections,
as well as for refurbishing existing floors. Health & Safety considerations are also a driver. Many factories and warehouses need to restore level surfaces by removing characteristics like
ridges caused by forklift trucks over many years.
“This is definitely a market that more hirers could target. Some companies might just offer a small floor grinder in their fleets,
but few offer a comprehensive line-up, so this is an excellent opportunity. If they can advise customers and help them choose
the right product, they will win more business.”
Andy Nightingale, Sales Director with SPE International, believes that some areas of the market are cooling slightly after considerable growth in construction activity during 2015. “The Budget in April led to uncertainty about the level of funding that
will be available to local authorities and for general public spending, and that has a knock-on effect on contractors undertaking work for schools, hospitals and other facilities. Others are delaying investing in new equipment, or building new factories and warehouses, until after the EU referendum. Last year, business was steady until right up to Christmas.
“However, reports suggest that larger sites for building new houses are beginning to open up, which will lead to a requirement for surface preparation equipment at the later stages, after the initial demand for products to mix and lay the concrete. Since we were acquired by the Bartell Group, our range has expanded to include equipment for working with wet concrete, and hirers showed great interest in these products at the Executive Hire Show. Overall,
so we are looking forward to a positive year ahead.”
On-going construction activity is also leading to steady demand for power tools and consumables for concrete work. “Demand for our two and four-stroke petrol disc cutters remains good, as well as
for diamond blades,” said Kevin Brannigan, Marketing Manager for Makita (UK). “Multi-purpose blades are increasingly popular as they give versatility for the operator and, rather than having the hassle of measuring diamond segment wear and negotiating a charge,
hirers can simply sell the customer the blade. If it has useful life
left after the task is completed, that is a bonus for the user.”
Trelawny’s Glenn Chapman echoes the fact that, as the typical customer base for concrete and surface preparation equipment is so diverse, certain sectors are inevitably more buoyant than others at certain times, meaning there will always be hire opportunities. Also, Ray Neilson of Altrad Belle points out that other factors are driving demand, such as environmental awareness. “Since displaying our Premier XT mixer at the Executive Hire Show last year, it has proved very popular. With no emissions, no fuel handling issues and no noise, it is ideal for urban sites with designated low emission zones or in residential areas. We have also introduced a submersible pump that can be attached to a poker drive unit for removing water on sites prior to concreting,
so this market offers many diverse hire opportunities.” •