The father and son team at Charlbrook Construction are thoroughly converted to Takeuchi. Construction Plant News visited them on site to find out more about their recent investment in the manufacturer’s TB325R mini excavator.
“Like a lot of people in the building industry, rather than allowing our skillset to make other people money, we decided to take on the jobs ourselves and the result is Charlbrook Construction,” declares Tom Treadwell-Hands. “That was in 2019 and since then we’ve been undertaking high end extensions, new builds and refurbs for commercial and residential clients and haven’t looked back.” Tom and his father David Hands are both carpenters by trade but can turn their hands to any task and – having purchased or hired a huge range of plant in their time – are in a good position to judge the relative merits of machines.
“It’s a similar principle when it comes to excavators as well,” Tom continues. “We want to make sure that our expenditure is for the benefit of our business and not just going to a hire firm.” Indeed, with business on the up it was time for Charlbrook Construction to invest in a mini excavator, and with a diverse range of jobs on the books, they were in the market for a multi-tasker. “Rental is definitely something we’re looking to move away from,” reveals Tom. “If you have any equipment on hire you’re always conscious of the times it might be sitting around doing nothing – and still costing you money. What we wanted was the flexibility of owning and being able to put it to use exactly when and where we want to.”
Tom was equally well-versed in the qualities of Takeuchi, with the brand recommended to him by many of his peers in the building game. When he heard that the short tail swing TB325R was available he immediately got in touch with local dealer, Bow Plant Sales, who represent the Japanese manufacturer’s range from Herefordshire through to Coventry, Birmingham and the West Midlands.
“I can’t sing the praises of Bow Plant Sales enough. Given all the supply issues the industry’s been experiencing, they were able to deliver us what we wanted within about six weeks of first contact. We are looking to invest in a 1-tonne Takeuchi in the future and we’ll be returning to the same dealer.”
From their Worcestershire base, the four-man team, plus a trusted group of subbies, undertake work predominately in their home county, and neighbouring Warwickshire, but have equally reached as far afield as Suffolk. With a digger that weighs in at 2,440kg – and can comfortably be towed on a 3.5 tonne rated pick up or van, together with attachments and materials – their trusty Takeuchi can also travel with them, but it’s also a nimble mover on site.
“The short tail swing is ideal for use on tight residential housebuilding jobs and when you’re digging out the footings for extensions on an existing property. At the same time, there’s absolutely no discernible reduction in breakout force. We’ve won a contract for some commercial jobs with the local council and it had the muscle to dig off over 120 tonnes of tarmac from a school playground renovation. We’ve also undertaken drainage and landscaping works, so there’s an impressive level of versatility. One other thing I really like about it is the longer than average track frame which enhances the level of stability. It feels really planted – even on uneven or soft ground.”
With a land clearance rake, ripping tooth, bush rake, and a riddle bucket, on order from Harford Attachments – all of which are quickly, easily and safely interchangeable with the Hill Engineering Tefra Quick Hitch with which the machine was supplied – that flexibility in use will be extended still further.
It’s that combination of power, manoeuvrability, transportability, and stability that has won the TB325R in particular – and the Takeuchi range in general – many plaudits amongst experienced plant operators. First launched in 2021, Charlbrook Construction’s Takeuchi is fitted with a cab – whilst a canopy version is available. The latter weighs in at a reduced 2,310kg, meaning even more kit can accompany the excavator on a trailer.
There’s 16.5kW of power, 19.3kN of digging force and breakout of 11.3kN along with a digging depth to 2,540mm and ground reach to 4,350mm. A compact machine footprint of 1,500×1,890mm is complemented by a short tail radius of 825mm and overhang of just 70mm when 90 degrees to the track.
Tom and Dave are fans of the TB325R’s joystick proportional control, and lighting is a big issue for them. “Some of our projects are in remote locations and we’ve been running the Takeuchi in the dark,” continues Tom. “The LED work lights on the cab and the boom provide a great level of visibility.”
“Our TB325R has been with us since September of last year, and it’s a brilliant machine,” concludes Tom. “We’ve driven just about everything in our time and the Takeuchi is the best we’ve had. It’s always going to be a big investment for business of our size but that’s easily outweighed by the savings in hire costs, which can really start to mount up, and having the option to use it whenever you want.
“We started an extension locally, for instance, and it will dig out the footings and oversite, then move in the stone – so there’s no labourers ferrying back and forth with a wheelbarrow. That saves on time, which means we can take on more work, and labour, which reduces costs. We want to expand and having the right equipment in place is integral to those plans.”
For further information on the Takeuchi range visit https://www.takeuchi-mfg.co.uk/