In just nine years Braddan Plant Hire has grown from being a sideline to Braddan Structures, a steel erection company, to being one of the largest independent access hire companies in the Tees Valley and surrounding areas in the Northeast. CPN popped over to Darlington to find out how it has grown – and its plans for the future.
Braddan Structures is a second-generation family business that Carl Caddick, managing director of Braddan Plant Hire (BPH), joined at 18 as a steel erector. Back in 2006 he bought his first crane and then, eight years later, started the hire business and bought its first mobile elevating work platforms (MEWP) in 2018.
Now BPH has built up a diverse fleet of hybrid, electric and diesel booms and scissor lifts, including JLG, Skyjack, Manitou, Genie and Niftylift brands as well as Tadano and Terex-Demag Cranes. The move towards quieter, greener electrically-powered machines is gathering pace, so the company has added 20 Genie Hybrid machines – the Z-45 and Z-60 articulated boom lifts. These feature the latest hybrid technology, high-efficiency AC drive system and a full-time oscillating axle that improves the driving performance over rough terrain.
“Our vision is to constantly improve our fleet with forward thinking and planned investment in order to steadily expand and drive more efficiencies into the business.” says Carl.
“The focus will also continue to be on these key areas, green solutions, health and safety, IPAF Trainings and the latest technology so we can continue to provide the best solutions in powered access industry”.
As the business has expanded the company has needed to recruit specialists such as Chris Pallas to fulfil its ambitions. Chris has 10 years of experience working with local and national customers such as Nationwide Platforms, Height for Hire and Sunbelt Rentals. Now his role as business development manager – powered access means his target is to nearly triple the business in the medium-term.
“Our aim is to expand the fleet from 120 machines to 350 machines over the next five years. The ever-changing market and low emissions zones call for a particular strategy to focus on customer needs and offer the latest hybrid and electric technologies to complete projects to the standards required by customers,” explains Chris.
“Braddan Plant Hire is already on that journey and offer the FE (fuel electric) and hybrid booms. These hybrid machines mean we can supply the equipment for construction sites where green energy is the only option.”
The technologies not only cut operating costs, he says, but also mean that a single machine can now perform many tasks, from initial structural work to finishing tasks, using a single machine.
As a long-established firm, BPH has ‘strength in depth’ – the wealth of knowledge that comes from employing experienced staff who have worked in the industry for decades. And that, says Carl Caddick, is a deliberate policy.
“Over the years we have invested in both the personnel and the equipment as we want to provide a safe, efficient, quality service on time and on budget to all our customers,” he says.
Service director Michael Tomlinson, for instance, has more than 25 years of experience in the industry and is in charge of maintaining and servicing the machines before they go out to customers. Similarly hire desk manager Yvonne Hook has been in the powered access industry more than three decades. Together they offer customers what the company believes is a ‘unique hire experience’ from ordering a machine right through to its delivery.
“We have a great team of experienced and dedicated people within the company, both in plant hire and steel structures, and with a loyal and growing customer base, we are looking to the future with some confidence,” adds Carl.
The quality of personnel is crucial to the successful operation of any construction site and – as a member of the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) – BPH has being playing its part since 2018, delivering running three to four IPAF training sessions a week on average, some at its training centre in Darlington and some on customer sites. Director of training Bradley Caddick says that the centre is one of the few in the North East to offer PAL+ courses, providing an extra day of training for those operators working in higher risk or challenging work-at-height environments.
“I would like to help develop and improve future training courses as well as continue to find ways to push for high-quality MEWP operator training,” he says, “So I have applied to join the IPAF Training Committee”.