Diamond Valley Mobile Cranes is a family-owned and run business. Its origins date back to 1968 when it started with one man, Martin Kienhuis, and one crane.
Once established, the business evolved over the years and approximately 18 years ago, Martin’s youngest son Brandon started his own crane company which contracted to his fathers’ business. Over the 18 years, Brandon grew his business and four years ago he bought Diamond Valley Cranes from his father. The purchase included the business name and a few cranes and in December 2018, the company moved to a brand new, purpose-built facility in Somerton, North of Melbourne.
Diamond Valley Mobile Crane Hire boasts a host of cranes, with the fleet specialising in tight access applications.
Paul Roche is the CEO of Diamond Valley Mobile Cranes and following a 15-year career in the transport sector he joined the business five years ago and gave us an insight into the company’s fleet.
“Our biggest crane is a 60t Liebherr and we go down in size from there. Our fleet includes Frannas, ‘bubble cranes’, a 45t Liebherr and four Maeda mini crawler cranes varying in size from 2.8t up to 4t,” said Roche.
“One of the Maedas is small enough for us to walk through a 700mm doorway. The bubbles are a mixture of Katos and Katos and we also run a couple of crane trucks and a couple of 7t truck mounted slew cranes.
“The majority of our work is in the domestic construction market with clients including builders like Metricon, Simonds, Porter Davis and a lot of the work relating to steel installs,” he said.
“We’re also well known for pool and spa installs and this is now quite a large part of our business which has been growing over the last few years. This is the reason why we have exhibited at the Pools and Spa show and why we are SPASA members,” he said.
According to Roche, customer service is a key focus for the business.
“We are very focussed on customer service and we try to ensure that every job is completed to the customers satisfaction and expectation. We’re big on that,” he said.
“We’re going through the ISO 9001 accreditation process and a big part of that is ensuring every job is completed to the satisfaction of the customer and ensuring we adhere to the Australian Standards and safety standards.”
The business also offers turn-key solutions for customers.
“For every enquiry, we offer a free site inspection and we’ll take care of everything associated with the job. For example, when we install of a pool, we’ll take care of the traffic management, the delivery of the pool if required, power drops, telephone drops and council permits to access road ways and shut down road works,” said Roche.
“We’re a ‘one stop shop’ solution, so the customer doesn’t need to arrange traffic management or call the power company to let them know what’s happening, we’ll organise the whole thing from start to finish
“With every job, we run a risk matrix. If there are any concerns or constraints around issues like limited space or power, our Business Development Manager, Ben Allshorn, will drive out and take a look at the site and we’ll draw up a lift plan accordingly. We do whatever is needed to ensure the lift is completed safely,” he said.
Roche works in with other crane businesses to cross hire cranes if he doesn’t have the right crane for the job, and they also help with the lift planning.
“We have good relationships with other crane companies. We cross hire to them regularly and we use their cranes when we need bigger equipment. We also share knowledge, for instance they provide the lift plan studies for us which frees up our time to concentrate on what we do well,” he said.
Putting the customer first has been the reason behind the success of the business.
“We are 100 per cent focussed on customer service and we believe we are second to none when it comes to putting the customer first. Our phones are on 24/7,” he said.
“Our phone system diverts to mobiles after hours and at weekends and there are a number of us who will travel out to look at jobs at short notice. We are always available and there is no job too big or too small. If a job requires a bigger crane, we’ll cross hire with other local crane companies which works well for us,” said Roche.
Geographically, Diamond Valley Cranes concentrates its efforts in and around Melbourne and its CBD.
“We do travel up and down the peninsula and we’re happy to go anywhere for the work. We even find ourselves up and around Bendigo for customers who only want to use our services,” said Roche.
He also confirms the company’s focus on regularly maintaining the fleet.
“Maintenance of the fleet is critical. We used to outsource our maintenance, but we felt we should have more control over that side of the business and we recently put on a mechanic, he’s been with us for six weeks,” he said.
“He has 25 years’ experience with Komatsu and he’s an absolute gun mechanic. We can see he’s already made a massive difference to the day to day operation of the business,” he said.
A lot of thought has gone into the choice of cranes in the Diamond Valley Crane fleet.
“Our fleet is all about which crane is going to best suit the job. In my opinion, the three axle Liebherrs are by far the best cranes in that 45t to 60t category and you cannot beat them,” said Roche.
“For us, it’s all about size. The Liebherrs are especially compact machines and it’s the same thing with the Kato – it’s a brand new 13t ‘bubble’ and it actually has a smaller footprint than our seven tonners,” he said.
“Our fleet is designed so that the next size crane is capable of covering the work of the smaller crane directly below it. So, if the 13t crane isn’t available the 16t machine will still fit and do the job and when we can’t get the 16t machine, the 45t will still fit. Our fleet is about diversity and we are able to shift assets around to get the customer’s job done,” said Roche.
“The crane trucks are generally locked in for a couple of specific customers for truss and steel deliveries,” he said.
Diamond Valley Mobile Cranes has been a member of CICA for 10 years and in the last four years, Roche has taken an active role in the association.
“I now sit on the steering committee for Victoria and Tasmania and I also attend the National Reference Group meetings,” he said.
“I like to keep up to date with all the developments in the industry and help to drive change around issues like traineeships and licences. It also helps me stay on top of requirements with Australian Standards and changes in safety. It’s great to be part of CICA and we see plenty of value in it,” said Roche.