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November/December 2016
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Market Report: Site Welfare & Security Equipment
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“More than a metal box”
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Executive Hire News › Archives › November/December 2016 › Market Report: Site Welfare & Security Equipment : “More than a metal box”

Market Report: Site Welfare & Security Equipment : “More than a metal box”

Technological advances offer construction professionals greater functionality from welfare units, plus the ability to maintain and protect plant and other equipment.

The Health & Safety Executive states that, under the Construction (Design & Management) regulations, or CDM, anyone who works on any site must have access to adequate toilet and washing facilities, a place for preparing and consuming refreshments, and somewhere for storing and drying clothing and personal protective equipment. This has obviously led to demand for static and mobile site welfare units that provide these essential requirements, but what is also apparent is the increasing sophistication and versatility of the products that are now available.

Indeed, the fact that site welfare units can provide a comfortable environment on a busy site has also resulted in them being used as convenient work spaces, with some models available with options ranging from desks and laptops chargers, to wi-fi routers and television screens for training personnel in-situ.

“The market is very strong and manufacturers continue to innovate,” Peter Beach, Sales & Marketing Manager for Genquip, told EHN. “As soon as workers arrive on site, they have to have adequate site welfare facilities in place, which obviously creates hire demand. However, we are constantly looking at ways of increasing the functionality of our Groundhog units, and introducing new technology that will keep running costs down for customers.

Reduced carbon footprint

“For example, the GP 600 Fusion model we adapted for Amco Rail (on which EHN reported in our July/August issue) has an on-board water and air heating system that does not require the generator to run, as well as solar panels on the roof and 4G mobile signal boosters so the unit can be used as an office linked to the operator’s headquarters. Major contractors are looking at ways of reducing their carbon footprint, and the number of site visits a hirer needs to make is reduced if fuel consumption is decreased. Wear and tear on the generator is also minimised because it is not constantly being used. We can also fit a range of options, from cool boxes and fridges, to additional storage and USB points. The modern welfare unit is much more than a metal box.”

Lisa Gillett of AJC Trailers, which manufactures EasyCabin welfare units, agrees that the market is strong. “We are finding new customers all the time, and more hirers are adding the products to their fleets, including independents who realise the potential they offer. They typically start with a 12ft EasyCabin to hire to smaller contractors. However, there is also growing demand from national hirers for larger 16ft and 20ft units to meet the needs of major contractors that have to accommodate greater numbers of people on long-term projects.”

She points out that new areas of demand are also emerging. “We recently launched our EasySnooze range of sleeper units, and, complementing the shower blocks that we offer, we have also introduced a compact mobile bathroom unit for use when homeowners are having their existing facilities replaced.”

Securi-Cabin MD Felix Reilly also reports a very positive business environment. “The market is buoyant. It perhaps slowed a little during the Brexit referendum, but since then it has really picked up. There is a lot of general construction work throughout the country, and we are steadily doing business with an increasing number of hirers.”

Greater levels of sophistication are also being shown in systems designed to protect other important assets on site besides the workforce, namely the equipment being used. Gary Stockton, MD of plant tracking equipment supplier, AMI Group, says that “Hirers are being told by insurers that their plant has to be protected, while faced with budgetary constraints. So we are developing systems that offer a complete, integrated solution rather than just theft prevention, with functionality such as telemetry to monitor machine usage and status, tracking its location and reporting unauthorised usage.”

Datatag has officially launched its Micro-Cesar equipment protection product designed for smaller tools and equipment, which also functions as an asset management system. Another theft prevention company, CanTrack, is developing a range of additional services. MD Peter Thompson says these include products combining plant security with utilisation statistics. “CanTrack Asset provides security and run-time information and has been a real surprise package that is getting end users excited. The data on machine usage is providing them with reductions on annual service costs.”

Another new development is a variant of CanTrack’s vehicle tracking product, developed for a large hire group to track its welfare units, as well as monitoring operation of the generator, and providing this data directly to the company’s hire software, reducing the need for site visits. Also available is a system for monitoring lone and vulnerable workers such as traffic management personnel or delivery drivers. This is an often overlooked area of Health & Safety, and is another important consideration for site managers. •


     
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