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Construction Equipment Hire in East Anglia

First published in the April 2017 issue of Quarry Management as Making Inroads 

QM takes a look at how Norfolk & Suffolk Plant & Aggregates have become one of the leading players in the equipment hire sector in East Anglia

Formed in 2014, Norfolk & Suffolk Plant & Aggregates (NSPA) have rapidly become one of the most prominent names in the machinery hire, construction materials and recycling markets in East Anglia. The plant hire business has come a long way in a short space of time and is now renowned in the region for having some of the most advanced and newest industry-leading materials processing equipment for the mineral products industry. 

Despite Brexit worries and concerns over the UK economic outlook, business has been booming for NSPA and a key factor in their success has been an ongoing investment programme to ensure customers hire/use only modern, reliable machines that are efficient, productive and meet the highest safety and environmental regulations.

‘Construction activity has been, and continues to be, very buoyant across East Anglia so it is imperative that any machine we purchase for plant hire makes its mark on site and increases our customers’ operational profitability,’ said Nathan Heelas, general manager of NSPA. 

‘In the last 18 months we have invested heavily in the latest models of plant and processing equipment, which includes mobile crushers and screens from Powerscreen and McCloskey, Volvo loading shovels, Bobcat mini-excavators and Renault and DAF tipper trucks, to name but a few. 

‘Our customers are interested in fuel-efficient machines that are easy to operate and offer 100% reliability, so they look to us to provide value-added services such as back-up support and rapid dispatch of essential stock and replacement parts.’

Operating out of their main depot in Ellough, alongside a smaller facility in nearby Beccles, Suffolk, NSPA have enjoyed remarkable growth annually for the past two years and faced with further demands from their growing customer base, the company has opted for a diverse range of equipment to further its versatility.

‘With a strong foothold in the regional market, it’s important we position ourselves for long-term growth and success,’ continued Mr Heelas. ‘Since our inception, we have become the largest mobile plant hirer (for over 30-tonne machines) in the area and our growing and varied fleet of equipment and high-quality services strongly focuses on client relations, delivering lowest cost-per-tonne operation and maximizing return on investment for our customers.’ 

NSPA’s recent success demonstrates how the business is benefitting from the growing plant hire market in the East of England and South East regions, where major UK infrastructure projects, such as the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, Crossrail and the proposed HS2, are taking shape.

Mr Heelas said that a key contributing factor to the success of the company is its ability to understand and directly respond to the market trends affecting supply and demand in the plant hire sector.

‘Our business growth has stemmed from the fact that we are always looking to invest in new machinery – all sourced from world renowned brands such as Sandvik, Terex and Doosan,’ he commented. ‘Importantly, our modern fleet of crushers, screeners, dumpers, diggers and tippers has allowed us to broaden our service portfolio to include the aggregates, recycling and waste-management sectors.’

Indeed, diversifying their operations and developing opportunities in the recycling and construction materials markets have clearly paid dividends for NSPA. The aggregates side of the business now represents around 60% of its annual activities while plant and equipment rental make up the remaining 40%.  

‘We supply a wide range of primary and recycled materials, ranging from sharp and soft sands to crushed concrete and 20mm clean stone,’ explained Mr Heelas. ‘These high-quality products are stocked for collection at our Ellough facility or they can be delivered to site. We also offer services in muck-away, grab-lorry hire and skip rental as part of our waste-management operation.’

NSPA understand the importance of providing customers with high-specification aggregates and top-quality recycled materials (produced under the WRAP Quality Protocol), and Mr Heelas believes this business strategy, and the need to be well- equipped in order to stay ahead of the competition, will strengthen the company’s position as a leading independent supplier of aggregates in the region. 

Perfect partner

While the use of recycled and secondary aggregates in the UK continues to rise as the quarrying and construction industries seek to adopt and develop more eco-friendly practices, NSPA are working to enhance not only their own materials efficiency, but also the recycling and waste-management activities of plant hire customers.  

In a new partnership with Suffolk-based Wolf Eco Machinery, UK distributors of Terex Environmental Equipment (TEE) and EcoHog machinery, NSPA are able to offer a turnkey operation for any recycled materials processing application. According to Mr Neelas, the ability to adapt its mobile plant fleet to suit various working environments and meet cost requirements was essential to the company’s decision to enter into a strategic alliance with Wolf Eco.

‘The partnership came about through working with Brian Bell, managing director of Wolf Eco,’ said Mr Heelas. ‘Brian’s been running his business for nearly 20 years and, as we are newcomers to the industry with little experience, he has been terrific in helping us to gain a better understanding of the industry and what quarry, site and recycling managers need from their machines from a hire and contracting perspective.

‘Many of the machines in our mobile plant fleet have been purchased from Wolf Eco and we’ve recently added a Powerscreen Trakpactor 260R horizontal-shaft impact crusher to strengthen our aggregates processing capabilities. Their reputation for providing high-quality machinery with expert support and services made them the ideal partner for us and Wolf Eco’s proven track record of delivering innovative solutions will allow us to expand into new areas and grow our customer base even further.’  

Under the partnership agreement, NSPA will increase their current portfolio of equipment and services to the plant hire and aggregates industries by stocking/ supplying TEE machinery, including trommels, industrial shredders, grinders, waste-handlers and recycling screens featuring Spaleck technology. 

As more quarry operators recognize the environmental benefits and substantial cost savings to be gained from recycling and sustainable productivity, it is important for plant hire firms to not only have the right machines across their fleets, but also fully trained service engineers/specialists to ensure customer operations are being run as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. 

‘As a relatively new name in the marketplace, we’ve had to quickly develop a strong team at our facilities, with fully trained field service engineers, lorry drivers and support personnel in place to fulfil our service offerings,’ said Mr Heelas. ‘One of the key strengths of the partnership with Wolf Eco is the vast availability of resources on hand to increase our levels of aftermarket support and services for customers. 

‘With depots stationed throughout England, Wolf Eco are a nationwide business with a team of fully skilled and experienced service professionals. This gives us the confidence that we can meet our customers’ demands wherever the location, providing them with ongoing technical support and the on-the-ground expertise they need.’

NSPA’s partnership with Wolf Eco demonstrates the company’s commitment to build successful business relationships and meet the increasing customer demands for effective equipment solutions in the plant hire and mineral processing sectors. 

Looking ahead, Mr Heelas is clearly excited by the two companies working together to further develop their presence throughout the East Anglia region and beyond. ‘This is a very exciting opportunity for us to maintain our excellent reputation for quality,’ he said. ‘We have plans to broaden our operations and product range with the prospect of a new washing plant to be installed on site. Continuing to offer our customers a reliable supply of sands, recycled materials and aggregates will also be an important ongoing focus for us, as will catering for the plant hire sector, thanks to the strong portfolio of machines we have available. 

‘I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead; we are in a very strong position going into 2017 to supply modern and versatile machinery, and to deliver first-class services and support in all sectors of the construction products industry.’

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