Small plant hire a big hit among KZN builders

30 January 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201913372

Construction, Civil & Structural Engineering

THE growing demand for fibreoptic cable infrastructure has seen a Durban installer acquire eight Kwagga rammers from Hire It.

According to the KZN-based equipment hire company’s Sales Director Richard Fraser, this is testament to the success of the rugged and cost-effective range of small plant for the construction industry.

“The machines have come in for a few services, and we can see that they are handling the workload well. We have sold virtually all of our initial consignment, and so far have had no major comebacks,” Fraser said.

Small plant hire a big hit among KZN builders

The Kwagga range of small plant for the construction industry is focused mainly on portable power generators, compaction, and concrete. It comprises generators, rammers, plate compactors, power floats, drive units, vibratory pokers, concrete/asphalt cutters (floor saws), scarifiers, and diaphragm and water pumps.

By importing premium Honda engines, and assembling them with machine kits locally, Hire It is able to offer its Kwagga range at a much lower price point, Fraser said.

“We believe the engine is the heart of the machine, which is why we have opted for Honda, one of the leading air-cooled petrol engines on the market. Our products are well-suited for the African market, especially as we have kept them as simple and as robust as possible, but with a premium engine.”

Apart from the boom in sub-contractors needing small plant for the niche fibreoptic cable installation market, Hire It is also supplying equipment to the Umhlanga Arch premier mixed-use development through its Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) company Majozi Bros. Tool Hire.

“Virtually all of the small plant used on the Umhlanga Arch project has been ours,” Fraser said. Other flagship projects include the OceanDune development, also in Umhlanga, and the extensions to the Sun Coast Casino and the Gateway Theatre of Shopping. Adding to the diversity of the markets covered by Hire It, another customer uses Kwagga compaction equipment for cellphone tower installation.

In addition to Kwagga, Hire It offers a number of other brands. According to Fraser, a particular success in this regard has been the Makita HM1812 electric breaker, a relatively new product that boasts the strongest breaking force of any competitor product in the 30 kg category.

Husqvarna concrete polishing and cutting equipment has proved equally popular, especially for residential and commercial applications, where the demand ranges from designer floors to warehousing. “We have noticed a marked increase in demand for these products. Husqvarna is a Swedish company, and its products are European-standard premium quality.”

Latest technology such as the Bosch range of laser measuring and detection equipment is also starting to gain traction in the local construction industry as this technology becomes more commonplace, Fraser notes. “Customers are realising just how convenient and efficient such innovations are proving to be.”

The renewed potential for load-shedding has resulted in a spike in genset sales, with Hire It offering portable to large units, ranging from 10 kVA up to 300kVA. This is another diversified market for the company, including a broad range of customers from fast-food outlets to chicken farms and printing companies.

However, the construction industry in KwaZulu-Natal is still ticking over, with Hire It anticipating a collaboration with leading construction company WBHO on several major projects in 2019. These include Ridge 8 in the Umhlanga Ridge Precinct, and the extension to the La Lucia Mall.

“We will also be launching our B-BBEE scaffold and formwork offering for our larger corporate customers. This represents a new direction for us. We will offer scaffold evaluation, tonnage supply, and on-site erection and certification as a turnkey service,” Fraser said.

“It is no secret that construction has had a tough year. However, by offering good products and service at a reasonable price, we have managed to keep our business ticking along nicely. Joining up with our B-BBEE joint venture partners has also opened new doors for us. We have also learnt a lot about the state of the industry, and the emerging trends as it continues to evolve.”

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