C&L, Cranes & Lifting, Features

Mini by name, not by nature

Preston Hire’s SuperCrane fleet features state-of-the-art models selected to create minimum impact on a work environment while offering maximum impact in terms of lifting capacities. With a strong focus on mini crawlers, Preston Hire recently added its 100th crane to its Australian fleet.

Andrew Lambert, Preston Hire’s general manager, has been with the business for just over 12 months. With a 25 year career in equipment hire, 10+ years of this focused on lifting equipment and materials handling, he is excited to again have a fleet of cranes within his repertoire.

“The move to Preston Hire was the right opportunity at the right time. It is a unique business with great people and the role provides me with the opportunity to amalgamate all my experiences across various industries and equipment in one place,” said Lambert.

“We recently received our 100th crane which was a significant milestone for the business. Within the fleet we have a healthy split between our smaller cranes, which are up to 15t capacity and our larger cranes which are from 15t up to 70t capacity.”

According to Lambert, Preston Hire shifted its focus as a business around the time of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

“As a hire company, the focus shifted from what was our main bread and butter, the retractable loading platforms we call SuperDecks. When the GFC hit in 2007/08 the business pivoted and looked at other product lines to supplement our loading platforms, thus the opportunity arose to get into the mini crawler crane business. Originally, we were running cranes with capacities from two to five tonne. Over the years we have increased our range allowing us to service more customers with a broader variety of needs.”

“Our crane capabilities allow us to service a range of markets including the commercial and residential high-rise construction sectors helping with steel installation, general construction and façade work. Our Mini Cranes are perfect in confined spaces and ideal for situations where head height is limited. Add to the mix they are super lightweight, making them ideal for when a crane is required on a suspended slab, and have impressive lifting capacities; it is clear to see why our fleet allows us to be market leaders in this category.”

In terms of hire packages, Preston Hire follows the needs of customers and provide cranes on a predominately dry hire basis, says Lambert.

“A lot of major construction sites these days, don’t necessarily need the winches of the crane turning eight or nine hours of the day, a crane may only be required for a couple of hours lifting a day. Contractors don’t want a single skilled operator not maximising their skillset and keeping busy.

“Many of the major sites are moving away from us providing operators as they have a ‘shared services operator’. This operator has the capability and the qualifications to run mini cranes but can also operate various machines or perform other duties as required. The cranes can be onsite for days, weeks and even months and we will tailor our rental packages around the demands of the customer,” he said.

Preston Hire places a tremendous emphasis on the presentation and quality of its products and engages a servicing partner to provide all the servicing and maintenance needs for   all branches.

“SuperService provides the pre-hire and de-hire for all our cranes, they conduct the day to day maintenance, they manage all the major and minor repairs on our fleet, and they complete our 10 year major inspections and rebuilds,” said Lambert.

Preston Hire operates five major branches across the country in addition to two satellite branches. The major branches cover Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and the satellite operations are in Darwin and Canberra.

According to Lambert, the COVID period has meant businesses, like Preston Hire, have had to quickly adapt to continue to provide safe work environments for staff and maintain regular contact with customers to ensure their needs are met.

“I don’t think anyone can really say they’ve experienced anything quite like the last few months of the COVID pandemic. We’ve been focused on the safety of our workplaces and the safety of our teams. Our sales teams have continued to offer our customers the unwavering commitment to service that we pride ourselves on and continue to prove you can Count On Us no matter the circumstances” he said.

“Across our product range, we’ve continued to be heavily involved in the construction of large infrastructure projects and commercial high-rise construction is still relatively strong.

“From the perspective of our state branches, there is a growing list of projects in large infrastructure construction and also a number of commercial building projects in the CBD’s around the country. In the longer term, we can see the infrastructure program continuing to generate plenty of opportunities for our customer base. Whether it’s roads, tunnels, rail or airports, there is a significant pipeline of infrastructure projects which seems to be getting bigger. This will keep everyone busy for some time to come,” said Lambert.

Ensuring the mix of the Preston Hire fleet matches the needs from customers will always be a priority for the business, said Lambert. “We are certainly ensuring that the assets we have in the fleet and the assets we are looking to purchase in the coming months, fall in line with the opportunities these projects present.”

“I’m really proud of the team we have and the equipment we provide to customers. I’m confident in our SuperCrane fleet and know we have in place the right levels of range, capabilities, servicing, transport and safety. We are ISO 9001 accredited so we can ensure our policies and processes are best practice too. We work hard, listen, learn and are committed to getting the job done for our customers. We say our customers can count on us and we mean it.”

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