Brisbane Builders has been working with Zoomlion tower cranes and Zoomlion hoists for many years. Owner and director Jason Habchi talks about the Zoomlion product and the importance he places on the relationship with distributor Nationwide.
Habchi started Brisbane Builders in 2007 and the business now specialises in the construction of multi-residential and commercial construction, with projects valued up to $40 to $45 million.
At any given time, Brisbane Builders will be running two jobs and operating two crews including foremen, leading hands, and two crane crews.
Initially Habchi was renting tower cranes for his projects but, as the business grew, he could see it made economic sense if he owned his own cranes.
“As the business and the size of projects grew, I could see the benefits of owning our own cranes,” he said.
“We had a project which suited a self-erecting crane and I bought it. I figured we were going to consistently be requiring cranes for our sites and I worked out that, by the time you hire the crane and hire the operator, it made better sense to me to buy one.
“My guys are carpenters by trade, and many have been with me for over 10 years. They are now trained as dogmen and crane operators, meaning they can multi-task on our projects. From my foremen to our labourers, everyone has a crane ticket,” he said.
The construction process is streamlined, more productive, and efficient as a result of owning and operating his own cranes, says Habchi.
“Because I have my own crane crew and my own cranes, it makes the construction process so much more efficient. Everything is under our control, it is our crane and our crew. And, if a job runs over time, I don’t get stressed about the additional fees involved in hiring the crane and the overtime we are having to pay the crew – it is all in house.
“Owning our own cranes and running our own crews saves us a lot of money. By the time you’ve used a crane on two jobs you will be pretty close to paying it off,” he said.
Habchi speaks about the relationship he has developed with Shane Rouhan, managing director of Nationwide Machinery Group.
“I bought my first crane from Shane, which was a Saez self-erector, and I have been dealing with him ever since. We’ve developed a really good relationship and I’ve gone on to buy several cranes from him. This includes a Zoomlion hammerhead tower crane, which lifts 16 tonnes at 20 metres and features a 70m jib. We also have a Zoomlion topless tower crane with a 6t lifting capacity and 55m jib. The Saez self-erecting tower crane, A Cataneo self-erecting crane and a Cataneo bottom slewing tower crane,” he said.
“We use the Zoomlion 16t hammerhead for the precast panel jobs, because it has a 16t lifting capacity and 70m of jib and lifts 3.5t at 70m. It is a decent-sized crane. The Zoomlion 5513-6 has a 6t lifting capacity and a 55m jib and it will lift 1.3t at that distance. This crane is good for block work. With projects up to five levels we use the self-erecting crane.
“I’m a builder and I don’t pretend to know everything about cranes, so I have come to trust the advice Shane provides. He has vast experience and knowledge when it comes to cranes, he’s honest and I trust his judgement,” said Habchi.
Shane Rouhan was born into the crane industry and started working with his father at the age of 14. They had a successful crane hire business and then, in the mid 90s, Shane moved from Ballarat, Victoria to Queensland to start his own business importing used Japanese cranes. In 1999 he started Nationwide Crane Hire and, in 2006, expanded his activities to include buying and selling Chinese crane imports. This was the start of a strong and enduring partnership with Zoomlion.
In 2007, Shane and Nationwide Machinery Group were authorised as the sole Australian distributor for Zoomlion cranes. Two years later, Zoomlion’s chairman, chief executive officer and top management team visited Australia to visit Shane and his team. This visit reinforced the mutual cooperation for both organisations for the long-term.
Tracey Rouhan has over 17 years experience in the crane industry. She worked for Zoomlion overseas department specialising in the Oceanic region and was offered the role of team and organisation leader for the Australian & New Zealand operation, based in Sydney. This led her to joining Nationwide Machinery Group in 2009 as a partner and business manager.
With cranes in his blood, Shane’s eldest son, Trent Rouhan, joined the family business at 17 as an apprentice diesel fitter. Trent is now the operations manager, making Nationwide Machinery Group a family-run business with three generations possessing a passion for cranes and lifting. Shane has sold, supported, and serviced hundreds of cranes in his time, including importing and selling the first Spierings mobile tower crane in Australia.
Nationwide Machinery Group and Nationwide Crane Hire have experienced significant growth over the past few years. Nationwide Crane Hire now boasts a fleet of 14-plus cranes, five trucks and trailers, excavators, and lifting gear such as safety and material cages, etc. The business also employs a staff of 24-plus, including fitters and mechanics, in Australia. There is also a division in China that helps with purchasing, parts, and technical support.
“We build relationships with our customers. We don’t just sell them a crane and walk away, we commit to the relationship long-term by providing ongoing support with spare parts and servicing,” said Shane.
“This way, we see customers coming back to us with enquiries for new cranes and we also see customers being referred to us, as was the case with Scott Harris from A1 Lift Crane Hire and so many other long-term relationship customers.”
Nationwide Machinery Group is in the process of building a new premises, complete with service bay and bigger facilities to stock more spare parts.
“The new premises will assist us to further service our customers with 10-year inspections and major services like this,” said Shane.
Habchi is impressed with the service he receives from Nationwide Machinery Group.
“Shane and his team haven’t, and will never, let me down, and it is his experience and the high levels of support we receive, including spare parts availability, that makes Zoomlion a great crane for our business,” he explained.
“Everyone in the Brisbane Building organisation is happy with the Zoomlion product. I have my operator’s licence and I like operating the cranes. They are easy to operate, they are reliable, and we have never had an issue with them. The 16t Zoomlion lifts 10t panels at 35m and it does this all day long every day without missing a beat.
“Zoomlion represents value for money. If I priced the 16t tower crane against another European brand, I would be paying three or four times the price. Couple this with Shane’s experience and the support from Nationwide Machinery Group – choosing Zoomlion is a no brainer,” he said.