BUSINESSES in the hire industry have been advised to keep up with Brexit preparations, whatever the outcome following the extension of Article 50, to ensure that vital supplies for construction projects in the UK remain in place and to sustain the growth that the multibillion-pound equipment rental market is currently enjoying.
Speaking at the industry’s Hire Awards of Excellence 2019, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Saturday, 13 April, HAE EHA chairman Brian Sherlock told the packed audience that no-one should ignore the value of the construction equipment rental market, which reached an estimated £4.7billion in 2018 (AMA Research).
Giving the welcome address at the occasion to mark the amazing achievements of hire and supply companies across the UK’s plant, tool, equipment and event hire industry, Brian said that hire demand has continued to grow, benefiting from increased construction activity in infrastructure, house building, office projects, education and non-residential sectors such as manufacturing and the events sector.
Last year also saw rental companies renewing and expanding fleets again, but HAE EHA’s chairman added: “No one can predict the outcome of Brexit and the almost daily developments in Brussels and Parliament – the hire sector is affected by many different policies and restrictions. We should ensure that all businesses represented in the room have in place suitable and proportionate arrangements to support our employees and ensure ongoing supply to our customers.”
At the prestigious awards ceremony, hosted by Strictly Come Dancing star and TV presenter Anton du Beke, tribute was paid to Graham Arundell, who is stepping down after 12 years as Managing Director of HAE EHA to take on a part-time role as CEO of the Association.
Graham commented: “HAE continues to look forward, to seek solutions and to provide help and guidance to our wonderful hire industry. As a part of that aspiration we are in the process of establishing a UKAS accredited certification body. This division of Hire Association Europe will deliver the requirements of SafeHire and work with other schemes to provide assessment services aiming to help members reduce the cost of contract tender prequalification. Additionally, it will offer cost effective certification to ISO standards for members, saving costs and perhaps more importantly retaining that revenue within the industry.
“As an industry we do still have to address the likelihood of future skill shortages in our own sector. I am therefore pleased to announce that HAE has recently been awarded funding by CITB for a project valued at up to £300,000, over a 2-year programme to deliver immersive learning for our sector and beyond. And the good news continues as Hiretrain, the industry forum for training development and delivery, has once again had its funding extended - providing further real opportunity and benefit for the sector. It has also been successful in gaining significant monies from the CITB Skills & Training Fund to provide further support to members to train both new recruits and current staff.
“As retirement beckons for me and I close my last speech at these Awards I would like to reiterate my personal thanks to you all for your support, help, guidance and inspiration over the last 12 years. It is absolutely true that we are Stronger Together.”
Brian and Graham also reiterated the Associations’ commitment to promoting apprenticeships, especially to the younger generation, the promotion of more women within the hire industry, and reflected on the success of the SafeHire Certification scheme and the introduction of the Hire Industry Trusted Supplier (HITS) programme.
Brian Sherlock ended his welcome address by saying: “The awards are a celebration of everything that’s great about our industry. Whether you have won an award or not, to have been shortlisted is an achievement in itself.”
Strictly star du Beke then delighted the audience with his flamboyant personality and ensured proceedings ran like clockwork during the presentations, while rock and pop function band ‘The Heat’ provided the musical entertainment later in the evening.
It was not only hire businesses competing for these prestigious accolades: crucial recognition was also given to outstanding individuals who have consistently stood out from the crowd and achieved some of the highest standards in the industry, such as the recipient of this year’s HAE EHA Chairman’s Award, Adrian Watts. He received the award in recognition of outstanding service to the tool hire business spanning over 25 years and for his significant role introducing the successful SafeHire Certification scheme as an integral part of Association membership.
For a more comprehensive list of all the winners and runners up from the show, see www.ohire.co.uk/blog/2019-hire-awards