CRS Crane Hire and Rigging

CRS Crane Hire, Crane, City Rail Link, Auckland

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to head over to Auckland, New Zealand and catch up with Francis from CRS Crane Hire.

CRS Crane Hire Kato KR25H-V

CRS Crane Hire all started over a few beers, where Francis and his good friend Greg decided to give the crane hire business a go. A number of years, and several cranes later the duo is still going strong.

Francis grew up on a farm in Napier, New Zealand. With his farming background, he headed to Australia’s countryside and spent some time in Australia’s version of the wild wild west. In 1999 Francis moved to Auckland New Zealand where he has been ever since.

CRS Crane Hire current projects

Currently, CRS is working on Auckland’s new subway system (City Rail Link), a first for New Zealand. The section of the project that CRS has been working on runs through the heart of Auckland; where the construction is a cut and cover style of tunnelling. They have put their Kato KR25H-V to work throwing down whatever the workers below need. With the project progressing and CRS growth, the purchase of a new Grove RT550-E was the next step.

CRS crane hire and rigging's Grove GMK 355

Their Grove GMK 355, Greg takes care of what they refer to as their taxi hire service, travelling from site to site on short-term projects.

Like all small business owners, Francis finds it hard to juggle the full-time work as a rigger and operator in the business while running the business. As they grow,  Francis and Greg are finding it hard to hire good experienced workers highlighting New Zealand skills shortage.

The skills shortage that New Zealand is experiencing is a similar experience around the world.

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Related article: Precision Cranes, getting started in construction

Precision Cranes, getting started in construction

Precision cranes article, scaffold, house frame

Precision cranes article, scaffold, house frame




Tell me if this sounds familiar? Working day after day, we get frustrated, see an opportunity to start a business; we sit on it for a while, daydreaming in our downtime. We chat with our colleagues over smoko (lunch), listen to everybody’s two cents worth of advice. Then the people that would be our potential clients give us the unofficial, “yeah we will give you ago.”

I am pretty sure that we all can relate from our own experience or know someone that has/or is going through the whole “startup” of their new business. Just the same as Yusuf, the founder of Precision Cranes.

Precision Cranes, Potain tower crane, scaffold in the foreground

Then it happens, on the back of everyone’s support we throw caution to the wind and get the ball rolling. Just like Precision Cranes, most guys, in the beginning, start out as a labour-hire business. Let’s face it; construction is so capital intensive that most of us are putting a second mortgage on our homes to get started.  And that is where labour hire lets us leverage the principle contractors buying power with materials, and we take a much smaller margin in return for a significant reduction of risk.

Precision Cranes startup route

And as Yusuf founder of Precision Cranes has begun his journey into the expensive, heavy lifting sector, the labour hirer route allows him to leverage the builders market position. Where the builder can dry hire tower cranes and Yusuf can arrange everything else; the operator, doggmen, lifting gear, crane installation and all the rest.

It’s like a safety net, a way that allows the principle to remain competitive while we get our foot in the door. There is a downside, and I am sure a lot of us have found this out the hard way, much like Jim did from Starbuck Excavations.

Where Jim had purchased his first digger and to get the “ball rolling,” he would do manual labour when his machine was not in use but still onsite. To the builder’s advantage, he would only charge full price for the few hours the machine was in use. And for the remainder of his time, he would charge a much lower labourer’s rate.

The true nature of construction

Entry to construction site, Precision cranes article, construction startupAnd it highlights the underlying culture of the industry, the sense of comradery, yet the dogged world we call work. Where on the one hand we are more than willing to give someone a go, yet once you have started, you are now just the same as every other construction business out; fair game, where you can be eaten alive or taken advantage of at any moment.

Yusuf is no stranger to the in’s and out’s of the construction industry working as a tower crane operator. I am sure as he grows Precision Cranes from labour-hire into equipment hire, there will be plenty of war stories to be told.

Ratcliff’s Landscaping, what age did you start in business?

Ratcliff's Landscaping, David Ratcliff, Landscaping

I had the opportunity to meet David from Ratcliff’s Landscaping. David is 14 years old and has been in business for a few years now.

At first, the new business venture was well received at school, and as time went by the bullying started. However, David is getting the last laugh as his school colleagues are now starting to look for work.

With the help of mum and dad (aka Uber as they like to call it) and the ever-present threat of being grounded, David has managed to secure and complete his very first landscaping package.

Ratcliff's Lanscaping first landscaping project

On the project, dad was employed to operate the machinery required as David’s age-restricted him from operating the machinery required. The project was a success on all fronts with the workmanship and final product speaking for themselves.

Even with the success of his first project, just like most people, David is finding his place in the market. Unlike the older generations, David has the added hurdle of managing his age regarding customers expectations.

As you watch the video, you will see David’s attitude is not that of a typical 14-year-old. He truly is a young business owner that is tackling the world of business head on.

Ratcliff’s Landscaping: YouTube channel

Related show: 006 – All About Brush and their aging workforce

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Raimondi Cranes LR330 and your imagination

Raimondi Cranes LR330 luffing tower crane




Earlier in the week, I was having a little fun with Instagram stories and created a poll over which article to write next. Do I write about Terex Cranes or Raimondi Cranes?

The following morning, I woke up to the results. The results landed us with this article about Raimondi Crane’s flagship LR330 luffing tower crane. It’s never the crane or the machines themselves that capture our imagination. And the new LR330 comes with some serious numbers, numbers that Eng. Domenic Ciano, Technical Director and the team from Raimondi Cranes, can be proud of.

Raimondi Cranes LR330 and your imagination

Raimondi Cranes LR330 luffing crane, looking along the jibThe LR330 luffing crane can reach 60m and still lift 3.3t which is what stirs the imagination about the sort of construction sites you could place this crane. Think of the possibilities……. More to the point, what are you building that you need a 60m luffing crane?

As each manufacturer introduces new models targeting different circumstances and conditions; it ends up being the construction team’s imagination, and the odd joke about sticking the largest crane you can find that ultimately leads to our choice.

And when companies like Raimondi Cranes release a crane cram packed full of features like the LR330 (see infographic here) the reminiscing begins. We joke about past projects; past operators and we even joke about how the new features would have saved some heartache back in the day.

As you look over the spec’s on the LR330, it’s hard not to start to daydream a little. Starting with the Raimondi’s safety control system, according to Ciano, “crane operators can now choose between three different configurations. This functionality allows the operators to align the crane closer to their specific needs.”

Climbing up the mast of Raimondi Cranes LR330

Also looking at how Raimondi has developed a new equilateral triangular jib with all the benefits that come along with the new design. Such as decreased wind drag, simplified site assembly and being able to pack more onto a truck. I guess I am showing my site manager side when all I can think about is how much more of the jib I can fit on one truck. Think about the savings, especially when you know that your project’s budget is shot.

 

At the end of the day, when a company like Raimondi Cranes have crane operators’ that enjoy taking the driver’s seat, it’s hard to not consider the LR330 as a serious option.

Related article: Raimondi Cranes latest crane MRT234

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The standout lessons from 2017

2017 standout lessons, windows, building features




Like most years, 2017 was a big year with a few insights and lessons that stood out more than others.

Smart toilets comfort button?

Smart toilet, 2017 lessons, comfort button

We had a chance to meet Kevin from True Blue Building Solutions and discovered smart toilets come with a “comfort button.” Head over to Kevin’s episode of The Travelling Builder Show to hear the full story.

Expectations

In construction our client’s expectations can be quite unrealistic, Marc and Holly from Clem Carpentry have leveraged the power of video to tackle this problem. In their news article, you get a glimpse into the positive impact video has made for securing projects.

Elusive work-life balance

Everyone’s circumstances make it almost impossible to have a one size fits all approach to the ever-elusive work-life balance. However, Heath from Heath Nicholson Builders brought in a senior management team to help run the company and get his life back. Whereas Dean of Bazzana Tiling went in a completely different direction and stopped working for builders and reduced his team to one, himself.

High profitability

Cat Excavator, Starbuck excavations

And to wrap up the stand out points from 2017, Jim from Starbuck Excavations highlights how incremental improvements across all projects can make a huge difference to the profitability of any business.

With that, we say farewell to 2017 and look forward to the insights and lessons 2018 has in store.

Related: Kicking 2018 off with an entertaining and insightful interview with an ageing workforce.