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GCE Hire Fleet Ltd adds a brace of Volvo A45Gs

GCE Hire Fleet Ltd of Whittlesey near Peterborough has added two new Volvo A45Gs to its park of predominantly Volvo badged equipment.

“We have a long association with Volvo Construction Equipment products operating excavators, loading shovels and articulated haulers,” said GCE’s Managing Director, Chris Golborne. “This, however, is the first time we’ve opted for A45Gs as we feel the larger truck will open up new opportunities for our hire division along with our existing Volvo EC380 and EC480 excavators going forwards.”

With a carrying capacity of 41 tonnes and a heaped capacity of 26.2m³ using the overhung tailgate option, the Volvo A45G has a maximum speed of 57kph. Powered by the latest Stage-IV Volvo 16-litre engine developing 476 net horsepower, it features high torque at low engine speeds, resulting in good fuel efficiency, high performance, fast engine response and a long service life. The whole powertrain is designed and purpose built ensuring the best use is made of the available power and torque, even in tough working conditions. The engine in the drivetrain is matched to a torque converter with built in lock-up function and fitted with a fully automatic and adaptive transmission. The drivetrain features Volvo’s Automatic Traction Control (ATC) system as standard, which prevents operators leaving their haulers permanently set in all-wheel drive mode, even when not needed, for example on good or paved roads, when only 6X4 drive is required. ATC automatically disengages the rear axle when not needed, eliminating tyre skid when cornering and reducing tyre wear. However, when ATC system does sense slippage, the longitudinal differential lock and the 6x6 clutch are engaged together: this gives the hauler the optimum traction in all conditions.

Whilst the A45Gs have been supplied with standard body liners, GCE Hire Fleet has specified the factory fitted body warming option on both trucks and has taken out Volvo Blue service agreements meaning they will be serviced at the correct intervals by Volvo trained engineers using genuine Volvo parts.

GCE Hire Fleet Ltd offers a wide range of equipment for operated and non-operated hire nationwide, supported by a comprehensive fleet of plant vehicles and low loaders. The company, which was established back in 1985 by Chris Golborne and now employs twenty personnel, has recently moved into new premises which includes offices and workshops within its 11,500 ft² footprint on the Ashley Industrial Estate, Whittlesey.

SMT GB markets Volvo Construction Equipment products which include wheeled loaders, articulated haulers, hydraulic excavators, Volvo utility equipment and Volvo road equipment products in Great Britain. There are eight strategically placed Customer Support Centres, a dedicated National Used Equipment Centre and a network of utility equipment dealers to ensure high quality customer support is maintained throughout the country.

Hire advice from industry expert Dan Daintry

IN A SPEECH in February, Prime Minister Theresa May revealed there is more to her Government than Brexit by announcing new measures to boost housebuilding.

The PM’s government also provided alternative methods to deal with the ‘housing crisis,’ such as allowing an extra two storeys to be added to houses and flats.

When developing houses, building companies and tradesmen need to know all about the current market for hiring or buying tools.

In a complex marketplace, it’s essential that they receive expert advice. So step forward PAL Hire’s Director, Dan Daintry, whose nationwide company is at the forefront of the booming sector.

Dan, who is based in Greater Manchester, said: “With the housing market as competitive as it is, more and more people are choosing to renovate their own homes rather than moving house.

“This has led to an increase in projects across the country, which means more people need to hire tools to do the job.

“We all know the importance of having the right tool for the job, but when the job you’re doing might only be a one-off job. Ask yourself, is it really worth paying for a piece of kit you’ll never use again? I don’t think it is.

“This is where hire specialists PAL Hire can help. We provide customers with an access to a wide range of tools and equipment at the fraction of the cost of the purchase.”

Unfortunately for tool manufacturers, the tool hire industry is a casual one and there is no correlation to work off to what hire companies specifically require, as Dan further explained.

He said: “When a customer wants a particular tool, it’s up to a hire firm to have that particular product ready to go.

“That’s why it’s important to have a range of products on standby to deal with covering a whole range of tasks – this can lead to good financial practice.”

Dan also revealed the hire market has always been strong as it allows both domestic and commercial customers to access tools and equipment which they may not have the financial resources to obtain. For these clients, there wouldn’t be any general value in an option to buy.

Dan continued: “With so many industries requiring to hire tools for renovation, landscaping, demolition and construction, people will always require temporary access to job specific equipment. “In short, as long as people are working – there will be people wanting to hire.”

Like most industries, tool hire is a sector trying to improve energy efficiency in order to reduce downtime. Dan believes ‘insider knowledge’ about the hire or sale of tools can mean large cash savings.

He said: “It’s more important to select the right tool for the job and not to pick a cheaper alternative. Also, make sure the job is done properly, and it will cost less in the long term.”

Dan explained that when choosing between buying and hiring, it’s important to consider the following:

  • How often will equipment be used?
  • The full hire price v. outright purchase
  • Delivery costs
  • Finance options - what is the finance rate?
  • When responding to a commercial enquiry, it is also pivotal to understand what the depreciation period is.

Dan’s many years as a leading figure in the sector have shown him that by working together, customers and clients can make the entire hiring process easier.

He concluded: “It’s always easier if customers do their research on what equipment is suitable for the task at hand, and they should always check equipment reviews if they are unsure.”

BigChange brings digital transformation to 5000 service engineers across the Equipment Hire sector

BigChange the Mobile Workforce Management technology specialist has won contracts to supply some of the UK’s biggest equipment rental businesses with its three-in-one JobWatch system for over 5000 mobile technicians, engineers and drivers. A hire-specific version of the JobWatch system has been implemented by leading players including A Bird, Elliott Group, HSS Hire, Nixon Hire, John Deere, Morrison Utilities, Komatsu, Haulotte, Garic, A1 Group, Procomm Site Services, Hawk Group and Fourjays.

The turnkey solution from BigChange has introduced a paperless revolution, equipping mobile workers with a Samsung Android tablet that manages receipt of job instruction, electronic proof of collection and delivery, site servicing, timesheets, electronic start-of-day vehicle walkaround checks, driver behaviour scoring promoting safe eco-driving, tachograph interface and Health and Safety procedures. The system is also a rich vehicle tracking system providing real-time location updates.

The system is integrated with leading Hire Management systems including MCSrm and InspHire meaning that planned services, repairs, deliveries and collections are automatically pushed through to JobWatch. On logging on to the app at the start of each day, drivers and technicians are guided to start their timesheet, conduct a walkaround check that meets DVSA requirements (recording, photographing and alerting any vehicle defects) and have instant access to their jobs for the day.

In the back-office, the system is enabling planners to respond faster to customer needs, intelligently allocating work orders based on real-time engineer availability, skills, live location and parts stock levels. This is significantly increasing productivity, minimising customer wait time and driving first time fix and ensures this can be achieved at the most competitive cost. The JobWatch system is saving Hire operators across Modular Buildings, Portaloos, Construction & Forestry, Plant & Equipment, Lifts, Platforms and Power Generators hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper annually and has significantly improved back-office administration. Engineers and drivers receive their work orders instantly on the JobWatch mobile app with paper job-cards and service repair worksheets replaced by equipment-specific electronic workflows that guide technicians at every step including risk assessments and method statements. Engineers no longer need to return paperwork to the back-office, saving a huge volume of previously manual back-office processing.

The workflow also effectively manages damages and chargeable items; photos captured at the point of delivery or collection are automatically relayed to the back office, allowing them to instantly raise an invoice for chargeable work. Photos are time, date and location watermarked, providing robust proof of condition.

Graham Wood, Group Logistics Manager at Nixon Hire commented: “With the support of JobWatch, every one of our fitters has boosted their productivity by around 20 percent.  This allows us to further absorb company growth and efficiently deploy the current resources we have before we look at recruiting additional resources. We get to where we need to be, when we need to be there, and we do what we say we are going to. This is also improving our customer service levels – evidenced by an increase in On Time Arrivals by more than 10 percent and a rise in First Attempt Job Completions by more than 5 percent.”

The JobWatch system is also providing a detailed work and maintenance history for all rental assets, giving management visibility of productivity and utilisation across their operation as well as a real-world view of how long jobs are taking. This ensures they are able to more intelligently schedule and deploy resources to meet actual requirements. A detailed picture of costs is reported down to the resource level, taking into account travel time, fuel, parts and resource costs. For portable loos, the technology is even automating waste transfer notes.

BigChange users benefit from 24/7 on-demand RoadCrew customer service for all back-office users and drivers including remote support and management of all tablets.

For more information visit

HSS Hire Service Group Ltd Most Considerate Supplier at 2016 National Awards

The Considerate Constructors Scheme - the national scheme established by the construction industry to improve its image - has awarded HSS Hire Service Group Ltd as the Most Considerate Supplier at this year’s National Awards.

HSS Hire Service Group Ltd, whose head office is based in Mitcham, Surrey, triumphed as the ‘Most Considerate Supplier 2016’, making them the first registered supplier to win this prestigious title since Supplier Registration was introduced in 2014.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme’s National Awards are among the most respected accolades in UK construction. By registering with the Scheme, companies and suppliers demonstrate a strong commitment to improving the image of the industry.

The prestigious awards ceremony took place on 10th and 11th November at the Four Seasons hotel in London.

The awards recognise the highest performing companies and suppliers which have demonstrated excellence in relation to the community, the environment and their workforce.

Undertaking inner London deliveries is no easy task, but HSS Hire Service Group Ltd has robust policies and procedures in place to ensure professional, safe and efficient operations.

A stringent approach is taken towards safety, with delivery vehicles in the FORS-accredited fleet replaced every three years to ensure the highest possible standards. Operating at exceptional levels, this company goes above and beyond to ensure the highest standards of considerate practice.

In total, 21 Gold, 32 Silver and 43 Bronze awards were presented to Registered Companies, and two Gold, one Silver and four Bronze awards to registered suppliers. Of the Gold Award winners, seven companies were shortlisted and received the ‘Most Considerate Company Runner-Up’ and one supplier the ‘Most Considerate Supplier Runner-Up’.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Executive Chairman Isabel Martinson said: “Congratulations to all award winners. The Scheme is hugely proud to honour the great achievements of top performing registered companies and suppliers. Over 900 companies and suppliers registered with the Scheme in the past 12 months, representing significant growth on the previous year, and making competition even tougher. With such high demand for construction activity across the UK, it is essential that the industry works collaboratively and continues to raise standards.”

HSS Hire Service Group Ltd Key Account Manager (London) Andy Warin commented: “We are delighted to be named the Most Considerate Supplier 2016. We have a dedicated team of colleagues that work tirelessly to deliver the tools and equipment that our customers need when they need it, often going above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done. Outstanding customer service is part of our DNA at HSS and this award is shared across all HSS colleagues that help to delight our customers every day.”

Click here to see each of the winners in the categories of Runners-Up to the Most Considerate Company Award and Runner-Up to Most Considerate Supplier Award, as well as each Gold, Silver and Bronze award winner.

Visit Twitter @CCScheme #ccsawards and the Scheme’s LinkedIn company page to see more from the awards ceremonies. 

Order puts Morris Site Machinery on the up Down Under

Leading Midlands manufacturer, Morris Site Machinery is flying the flag for Britain overseas having secured over £3.5 million worth of international orders in one month as it further strengthens its ambitions and growth into global markets.

After a year’s worth of new product development and strategic planning, these orders will see the company supply Australia’s largest equipment hire company, new customers in Dubai to support projects in the lead up to Expo 2020 along with new orders from Russia.

Working with its partner Allight Sykes, the company will provide 300 SMC TL90 LED ELV lighting towers, throughout 2016 and into 2017 to Coates Hire in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The efficient, extra low voltage equipment was exclusively designed to meet the increasingly stringent health and safety requirements Down Under and suit a range of sectors.

Paul Thompson, CEO of Allight Sykes, said: “This significant contract win is a great result for our partnership with Morris Site Machinery. Our customers expect robust, safe and economical solutions.”

The SMC TL-90 LED ELV is one of the most efficient extra low voltage lighting towers on the market. Compact and easy to transport, it is super silent and offers up to 165 hours of uninterrupted operation.

Its four 300W powerful DC LED lamp heads give directional, clear and crisp light with a spread of up to 100 metres.  It also has advanced safety features including automatic mast descent when the handbrake is released, central lifting eye and accessible lashing down points for ease of loading at ground level.

Over 50 TL90 LED lighting towers will be delivered into Dubai after securing an order from a new customer. The TL90 LED towers have been chosen for use on various construction projects in the lead up to Expo 2020 and the products have been specifically adapted to improve heat reflection and ensure operation in high temperatures.

Morris Site Machinery Managing Director Phil Winnington said: “These are significant orders and contract wins for us, testament to the quality and reputation of robust British manufacturing in a global marketplace.

“It shows faith in the quality of our products, our ability to innovate and produce bespoke solutions for our customers and the value of the strong partnership working we enjoy.

“In our lighting tower range we have great British products which enable us to maximise opportunities worldwide. We have continued to bolster our ties with our current customer base in territories that represent the biggest growth for us, developing our international sales footprint where our products can satisfy the demands of temperature and terrain.

“These significant contract wins bring into sharp focus the need to continue to innovate, build quality British products and services that enhance supplier and customer partnerships” Phil commented.

Through its global partner network, Morris Site Machinery gained further orders to supply its market leading TL90 lighting towers into Russia by its Sales & Service partner Tokyo Boeki. The end user in Russia was technically very satisfied in TL-90 Lighting Tower compared to other models as they are working in severe conditions of the Far North.

Morris Site Machinery is part of a fifth generation family business with ties in Shropshire. It has four depots and service hubs across the UK and has built a robust reputation for quality supplying the hire, rail, petrochem and construction sectors with its market leading brands SMC, Hilta, Denyo and ArcGen. 

For further information please contact Felicity Lewis at [email protected] or Kate Watkins at [email protected] or call 01743 234 224. 

HOW TO BEAT THE BAD WEATHER - By Northgate Vehicle Hire

Jonathan Pearce, head of marketing at Northgate Vehicle Hire looks at how to avoid the pitfalls of tumultous weather

Any business that operates in a sector involving outdoor work will be fully aware of how the weather can scupper even the best laid plans.

In sectors such as landscaping, a sustained downpour can heavily delay the start of a project, while in construction roofwork can be impossible if heavy rain or high winds tighten their grip.

It is estimated that bad weather causes problems for around 37 per cent of small to medium-sized businesses, but this figure is magnified significantly when the business’s core operation involves outdoor activity.

The result is a number of headaches, from unmet customer expectations, to lost time and money, to a change in the requirements of the job, which may need to be completed within a shorter timeframe and with greater manpower.

Major headache

All of these considerations can combine to keep fleet managers awake at night and prove an overall drain on resources, which is why it is important to have as many contingencies in place as possible to deal with the unexpected.

One of our customers, landscaping company Redlough Landscapes, frequently encounters the problems associated with working outdoors, including seasonal weather changes.

Even in the spring and summer months, bouts of bad weather can scupper plans, and result in some projects being taken on and started at short notice.

Not only can this result in the need to strategically locate staff, but it can also require certain vehicles to be acquired or upgraded at short notice, which would be a major cost burden for an organisation with an owned fleet.

Moving to Northgate’s flexible rental solution enables businesses to increase their fleet size in as little as four working hours thanks to a nationwide network of branches, while the option to add additional equipment to vehicles for a transparent cost helps to meet customer demands.

Northgate has provided Redlough with a variety of vehicles to meet the differing needs of its business, including tippers, 4x4s and vans of all sizes, enabling the company to operate a diverse and highly mobile fleet.

Since teaming up with Northgate, Redlough Landscapes has been able to budget for associated costs far easier and has also benefitted from Northgate’s service, maintenance and repair (SMR) package, which enables work to be carried out at a wholly owned and warranty approved workshop and minimises downtime. 

In an industry where time is money, Redlough has saved €30,000 on SMR alone and seen the average age of its 30-strong fleet cut from seven to three years, meaning fewer repair bills, increased reliability and improved efficiency.

Exceeding expectations

Customer service is becoming a number one priority for many businesses, and reducing costs across the fleet means that organisations can allocate the money elsewhere in the business and focus on customer delivery.

The added flexibility and transparency included in Northgate’s rental package, combined with a reduction in initial outlay for new vehicles, means businesses know exactly how much the fleet will cost, and can ensure a smooth and efficient operation for customers.

This knowledge helps to create overall peace of mind, as fleet and project managers know that an essential component of the business is being taken care of.

Sadly, there is no way of controlling the weather, but by having systems in place to deal with bad weather and help to maintain operations – or restart them at short notice – businesses can help to minimise downtime caused by rain, snow or high winds and focus on the next task.

Contact us to find out about flexible and long-term van rental and leasing today.


Five Toughies – THE Competition in Turf Equipment?

Aimed at: Professional groundskeepers with LOTS to do.

Pros: Toughly built for a long life and very easy to operate. They are not toys, they do the job.

Little Wonder and Classen turf care equipment, marketed by Mantis UK Limited, is probably most well known by users who have significant amounts of land to look after. These machines are, without exception, toughly built in that simple “if it ain’t broke no need to fix it” American tradition. Largely made from sheet steel either welded or bolted together, they have a long working life built into them. Routine maintenance is generally easy because key parts are easy to get to by the simple wielding of a spanner or screwdriver. The almost universal adoption of consumer-favoured Honda four stroke motors has helped too – all five of the machines I tested used these, and despite all of them being brand new, they all started and ran without any difficulty, often on the first pull of the starter cord.

My overriding impression of the five machines I used was that they outperformed my expectations of them, making difficult and tiring jobs easier to do. As a relative novice, even I was capable of a level of productivity that astounded me. I could only guess at the productivity possible in the hands of an experienced and expert operator.

With guiding hands and sound advice from David Goose, MD, and Malcolm Mullender, Regional Sales manager, I was let loose on an umpteen acre area of land on which to test the machines. The tests were very realistic, encompassing steep inclines, heavy brush, the best damp English Autumn rain and heavy Sussex clay soil.

First up was the Little Wonder Pro Edger. These machines have been built in a similar way for over fifty years and what the pros want is a machine that is easy to use and will cut edges at around 28 metres per minute. The simple steel deck and tubular frame hold a 118cc Honda GX120 motor that drives the cast iron cutter head with two cutter blades via twin drive belts (no slippage and extra power delivery) User adjustment is tool free and easy – a ratchet system is used to set the cutter height and the motor is controlled from the handle that have anti-vibration grips. I was very quickly able to get the hang of edging with this machine because the four-wheel design makes it stable. At the same time it is easy to adjust side-to-side movement from the handle because the centre of gravity of the machine is quite low. I was able to look back over my shoulder at a 20 m long strip of edging that I had done that was not only quite straight, but didn’t need any further attention from a spade.

For the uninitiated a wide expanse of green grass usually signifies a healthy lawn, but apparently it is not that obvious. Grass needs to be raked regularly to ensure that moss and other intergrowth does not slowly choke it. The machine for this is the Classen TRS-20H Turf rake. A self propelled (thank goodness for that – I used it on quite a steep patch of field) machine with a top speed of around 3.4mph with forward and reverse drive. It is squarely and solidly built with a 5.5 hp Honda engine. The four wheels are semi pneumatic and the rear two are big enough to ensure grip and drive on slippery grass surfaces. Height adjustment is via a lever on top of the machine and the handle can be folded for easy storage in a greenkeepers’ store or the back of a truck. When I first used the machine it just seemed to chew up the grass surface, but when I cleared away the debris a bit, it was clear that the grass survived very well, only the entangling moss was ripped out, leaving a lot more room for the grass to spread out evenly into the space cleared.

Also needed for healthy grass is aerated soil. I remember helping my dad do it on our small lawns at home - plunging a pair of garden forks at intervals into the soil. We only did it once! The Classen RA-21 reciprocating aerator is the professionals’ way of doing the same job, and believe me, it is the only way I would consider doing it again. A look “under the bonnet” of the RA-21 reveals a sturdy cast iron crankshaft with the aerator cores attached to it. These cores can be solid or hollow according to need and soil type, but it clearly needs the powerful Honda GX120 motor for this demanding job. The steel chassis and foldable tubular handle are rigid and strong. There is no need for self-propulsion because the action of the cores into the soil drives the machine forward at a very controllable 2.8 mph and the specs say that an operator should be able to cover about 26,000 square feet per hour. I can believe this – I managed to aerate several hundred square feet in a few minutes, leaving a carpet of cores behind me.

What better to clean up the mess I had made with the rake and aerator than to try the Little Wonder Pro Vac SP? It is a big solid machine, but with its 270cc Honda engine and hydrostatic transmission it is very docile and easy to control. The vacuum nozzle is easy to set at the correct collecting height and it incorporates a shredding blade so that by the time the waste arrives into the 282 litre collecting bag at the rear it is as compacted as it can be. Emptying the bag is easy too – it simply unclips and with the aid of the handle underneath, it can be tipped onto the compost heap. Despite the damp conditions where the autumn leaves tend to stick to the ground, the Pro Vac left behind a clean wake on tarmac and grass. Definitely one of my favourites that day.

But the best was kept to last – the Little Wonder Hydro Brush Cutter is not so little, but it is wonderful. The machine is built from solid steel plate with massive tractor style 16-inch wheels on the back. With a Honda GXV390 engine it has a forward speed of up to 4.2 mph and a reverse of up to 1.7 mph. Despite the more complicated controls on the handles I was able to get the hang of it quite quickly and was soon creating clear spaces in patches of nettles and brush that was up to chest height in places. The brush cutter never faltered and I must admit the feeling of power was tremendous. It can cut individual brush stalks up to 50mm thick. The best fun I have had testing for ages. In my view it is one of those machines that once you have seen it working, you will be convinced – it is just very capable and strong and it looks like it will last forever. Apparently, a working life of over 15 years is not uncommon.

Despite the weather, I had a great day trying out machines that do exactly what they are supposed to do and are simple to operate to get the best out of them. Green keepers and estate managers everywhere should take a look. Highly recommended. 

For information on Mantis Products, please visit


New options for Classen aerator

Classen has announced the introduction of optional solid tines for the RA21 aerator giving the groundsman the choice of hollow or solid tines, depending on their preference for the type of work being done. The Classen RA21 reciprocating aerator is well known for its abilities to punch clean holes in tough, hardened soil without additional weights. Now the groundsman can choose to solid tine on lawn areas which, say, have a low level of compaction or perhaps need treatment during periods of hot weather. In situations where hollow tine aeration will be more beneficial, lawns more heavily compacted or amenity areas suffering from a lot of wear and tear for example, a longer lasting effect can be achieved. The tines can be quickly and easily changed to suit the work.

The RA21 is the ideal machine for getting air to the roots to promote growth, particularly after long, dry spells and is easy to use and maintain. Controls are simple and the aerator doesn’t use hydraulics to independently drive the tines, covering more turf in less time and with less fatigue for the operator. With core tines it will cover up to 26,000 sq. ft. per hour at 450 reciprocating revolutions per minute. Large, pneumatic tyres give the machine good flotation on turf. It turns much like a walk-behind mower, so there is plenty of maneuverability. For transportation there are lifting and tie-down handles, with a folding handle to save space. With a width of just 80cm the RA21 fits neatly through gates. The machine comes with a two-year professional warranty.

Schiller Grounds Care UK. 0800 840 0888 [email protected]

A postcard from Grantown-on-Spey

A new Volvo ECR58D reduced swing radius compact excavator is helping to shape an impressive enhancement to the country’s number one Top 100 caravan and holiday site located at picturesque Grantown-on-Spey in the Scottish Highlands.

Far from the hustle and bustle of urban life, a quality, landscaped park with individual plots for touring caravans, campers and static caravans has been evolving over the last 28 years into one of the most popular and successful sites voted for by over 13000 readers of Practical Caravan 2015.

In order to assist in this development, Mr Fleming has purchased a new Volvo ECR58D from Volvo’s recently appointed utility dealer for the north of Scotland – CSM Sales Ltd. “The new six tonne Volvo reduced swing radius machine is ideally sized for the tasks required around Caravan Park which include general maintenance, profiling and landscaping the immediate surroundings and more importantly, preparing the bases for the new permanent abodes.

Operator comfort and excellent access to all the service points have added to John Fleming’s appreciation of the machine; for instance the ECR58D has a comfortable, spacious cab with a wide uncluttered floor. The instrument panel provides operators with at-a-glance monitoring of all key functions and operator fatigue is reduced through easy-grip, high response joystick control levers.

Volvo Construction Equipment Division markets wheeled loaders, articulated haulers, hydraulic excavators, graders, Volvo utility and road machinery products in the U.K.

For further information, please contact Mark Gunn on 01223 251720 or visit

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