A R Demolition is on a mission to demonstrate a commitment to cutting edge training and technology on its projects. Construction Plant News talks to MD, Richard Dolman about the company’s successful philosophy.
It may well now be a national concern, with some of the most advanced plant and machinery on its fleet to be found anywhere in the industry, but A R Demolition has its roots in the humble beginnings of its founder.
“I’m a man with a real interest in the machinery to do the job and that’s as true now as when I first started out,” explains Richard Dolman.
In fact, the west midlands-based entrepreneur’s formative years in business was as that familiar staple of the industry – the owner/operator armed with a JCB backhoe, but it was in demolition that his enterprise was destined to prosper alongside his cousin Andrew Thompson, who partnered with him in 2007.
“I’d already built up a decent client base over the first few years when a good customer of mine asked me if I’d knock down a fuel station so they could build houses on it.
“I must confess to being a little naïve in how I approached the project, and probably broke every rule in the book in getting the job done, but it did open up the demolition industry as a potential new market, and that’s what we’ve been specialising in ever since.”
Integrity and quality are the cornerstones on which AR Demolition has subsequently grown, whilst Richard professes a fervent belief in the importance of training his workforce, an ethos which has seen his company grow to over £18 million in turnover with more than 100 directly employed staff.
“For me, the only way to ensure that the guys on the ground are doing the job the way you want it to be done is to ensure that they’ve got all the right skills, and we’re spending in excess of a quarter of a million every year now to make that happen.”
Not just content with taking on apprentices, AR Demolition is, in fact, taking its responsibilities in nurturing the next generation much further.
“We’ve just bought two new Cat machines, which will be used exclusively for training purposes. The units are equipped with a quick hitch and all the necessary attachments. We’ve also invested in a standard backhoe and high reach simulator, and we’re in the process of developing our own site-based apprenticeship.”
In this scheme, fledgling operators on the AR Demolition payroll will spend eight weeks on site and eight weeks off. In the latter period they’ll spend time with likes of a mechanic, or the crushing crew so they can experience all aspects of the business, or will be introduced to theory work.
Once at the required proficiency the company’s staff can enjoy a huge range of the latest machinery that the construction equipment industry has to offer.
One eight tonner, eleven 20-25 tonne machines, five 40 tonne, one 50 and one 70 tonne can all be called upon for the kind of substantial A R Demolition contract Construction Plant News visited at the former Michelin Tyre Factory at Stoke-on-Trent.
“I do believe that the complexity of the demolition industry is heavily underrated compared to construction and the Stoke site is a case in point. The builders have the luxury of working to a design, and know exactly what they’re dealing with from the outset, but our sector demands robust surveys and assessments before we can even begin.
“Modern demolition work constraints can now demand the magic of removing a structure without impinging on anybody’s day-to-day life, and with the best will in the world that’s just not something that you can feasibly achieve in every circumstance. Dust, noise, vibration and traffic movement are consequences that we can control but can never be eliminated completely.”
“I’m a firm believer in extensive levels of research and extended on site trials before considering an investment in any new equipment and that’s exactly what we did with the OilQuick,” recalls Richard Dolman.
“It was six years ago now that we first tried the ECY Haulmark quick hitch system and it’s now on every one one of our machines, and we’re still happy with it. It’s the bigger picture that you need to focus on and not just the speed at which you can switch between attachments or that the changeover can be achieved from the safety of the cab.
“With the OilQuick you might well only need two machines on site instead of three or three instead of five, you don’t have machines laying idle and your fleet is so much more productive, and that’s where it really makes its money.
If Richard is enthusiastic about the OilQuick then he is positively evangelical about the potential of the Kiesel Multi Carrier, and now has two of these units with A R Demolition remaining the only company in the country that owns this class of equipment.
“The technology is actually 12 years old now and we’re a long way behind the Europeans in adopting it, because they’re knocking out one a week from their factory for the continental market. An operator of ours recently told me that on one particular job he changed his arm from high reach to standard in excess of 20 times.
“The cost of an additional driver, fuel and transportation costs are all savings that can be factored in to having only the one excavator on a job, as well as freeing up items in your fleet for other projects.
“Take a look at any given demolition job and if there’s a high reach in action then quite often there’s another machine standing doing nothing but the KMC eliminates all that at a stroke and I firmly believe that it represents the future of demolition.”
For further information on the OilQuick system from ECY Haulmark click here.
For further information on the Kiesel Multi Carrier click here.
For further information on AR Demolition click here.