C&L, CICA, Cranes & Lifting, Features

Keeping it in the family

Myaree Cranes has helped build the suburbs of Perth for over 35 years. The family business is now planning for a generational change.

Myaree Cranes has helped build the suburbs of Perth for over 35 years. The family business is now planning for a generational change.

Myaree Cranes is a family business with father Darryl Stoddart and sons Justin and Shane at the helm. Both sons are tradesmen, Justin is a cabinet maker by trade, and he joined the business in 1997. Shane is a plumber and joined in 2005. Both came into the family business to learn about it in preparation for the generational change.

In the early 70s, Darryl started work as a truck driver and mechanic with a transport company called Rinaldi and Patroni Crane and Transport Hire which was a state-wide crane and transport company.

“They had cranes there as well and they started off with an old Blitz Crane which I started driving around in the yard, loading trucks. They moved up from there and bought a 6t JEC and an 8t BHB, they then bought a 20t Kato and a 41t Grove and I moved up to operating these. After this I moved into the office in a supervising role as a workshop foreman. The company got into some difficulties where a few things happened in the business, and I had the opportunity to move out and start out on my own,” Darryl said.

In 1984, Darryl teamed up with his mate and business partner Graham DeMamiel and they bought the 6t and 8t cranes and started Myaree Crane Hire Services. The business worked throughout the metro area including Fremantle and Perth and mainly concentrated on the housing construction boom.

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Justin said that the business concentrated on small jobs due to the size of the cranes. Darryl and DeMamiel bought a new 10t BHB, when they were still making tractor cranes, and they bought their first Franna in the late 80s when pick and carries were first introduced. They began to update the fleet and replaced the tractor cranes which had served the company well and for a long time.

“Graham (DeMamiel) left the business and Dad took it over with Mum. Working in the housing construction market a lot of the sites were quite tight, especially when you had to get around the back of houses. We upgraded the fleet with a small Komatsu slewing crane. We were happy with the performance of the first one, so we bought a 12t Tadano and now we have four, they’re such a versatile crane and ideal for the housing industry. They are pretty much flat out all the time,” Justin said.

“We also service the marine industry in Perth and we’ve developed a good reputation for lifting boats, boat motors, masts, yachts and lifts like that. We have good relationships with all of the yacht clubs in the area. We’ve also done a lot of work for the government including Main Roads where we erect light poles on freeways which has kept us busy for a long time,” he said.

The Stoddarts have steadily expanded their crane fleet which now includes three 15t Frannas, two 20t Frannas, a 25t Franna, a 12t, 13t a 16t and a 20t Tadano and a 55t Demag.

“The fleet has really evolved to meet the demands of our business and the smaller cranes are obviously tailored for the construction sector which is a major focus. We also have three women in the office who run the administration for the business and manage the crane bookings,” Justin said.

“I’m starting to get myself into the office a bit more to help manage the direction and the growth of the business. We’ve also got six drivers out on the road the whole time and they’ve been with us for a while, two of the drivers have been with us for over 25 years” he said.

Justin discusses the importance of CICA to the business and to the crane sector in general.

He said that Darryl was a member of the Crane Association of Western Australia (CAWA) and a lifetime member for over 30 years, before The Crane Industry Council became a national body. Darryl always attended the CAWA meetings and it’s been the same since it became CICA.

“I personally would like to thank CAWA for their massive contribution to our industry in WA in previous years, especially Allan McPherson for his knowledge and advice,” Justin said.

“As a business, we feel it’s important to be a member of CICA and be able to access the services it provides. They help us to work with government departments and they’ve also worked with Main Roads in terms of helping to move our cranes around. Compared to the other states, I think we are in a good position with roadability, especially for the larger cranes. We think it’s important that CICA is now a national body, it provides the ability to examine issues that will impact the industry on both a state and national level,” he added.

According to Justin, most crane businesses face the same challenges regardless of the companies size and complying with paperwork relating to occupational health and safety compliance is a major issue across the industry.

“I read an article in the magazine written by Paul Churchill from Melrose Cranes and he spoke about the onerous nature of complying with safety regulations and the amount of paperwork this now involves. He was spot on with his comments.

“We work in a high-risk environment and it’s become a massive undertaking to manage all the related paperwork. Obviously, it’s critical that we focus on the safety aspect of our industry and the more we develop a culture of safety the better off we will all be,” he said.

“The more we talk to employees about safety the more it is on their minds and the more likely they are to adhere to safe work practices. The other point Paul raised are the costs involved in terms of keeping the machinery up to date to service our customers and how some operators work by dropping prices to try and get work. We spend a lot of money on our equipment and staff and we should be able to charge accordingly. Customers should be prepared to pay for that too, as this shouldn’t be an industry where companies are under cutting each other. It’s unsustainable and something will have to give. As an industry, we can’t afford for ‘that give’ to be a commitment to safe work practices,” Justin said.

“We’re also on board with the CICA Traineeship Program, we think it’s a great idea. We find there are very few people, especially in the younger generations who are considering getting into the crane industry. We’re right behind a program which proactively attracts new blood to the sector,” he said.

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