How Welfare Hire Can Help Scottish Infrastructure Projects Build A Better Future

In a recent survey, 50% of Scottish infrastructure firms reported increases to their workload.¹ From making transport more environmentally friendly to creating sustainable energy systems, there is an enormous push to improve the country’s infrastructure.

Welfare Hire is launching a new depot in Scotland’s central belt, to take our service in providing mobile welfare units and lighting towers to the next level for these vital projects. But how will our equipment help these projects? And why is there such a large increase in demand?

WHY SCOTTISH INFRASTRUCTURE MATTERS

Better infrastructure will be at the heart of a more positive future for Scotland. From the £1.2 billion allocated to enhancing the country’s railways² to £1.5 billion for bridge and road maintenance³, these projects will help Scotland achieve net zero, promote more sustainable living and create inclusive economic growth.

In February 2021, the Scottish Government published its Infrastructure Investment Plan (IIP), committing to infrastructure projects cumulatively worth over £26 billion. Despite reported challenges such as supply chain issues, labour shortages and fears of budget changes, there are still great opportunities offered from the huge scope and ambition of the Plan. 

This could just be the start

In October of this year, the Scottish Government laid out its plans for an independent Scotland. This included the Building a Better Scotland fund, which would see £20 billion invested in improving Scotland’s infrastructure over the first decade of Scottish independence. 

While this is by no means inevitable, it once again makes clear how large – and important – future investments in Scottish infrastructure projects are likely to be.

How Welfare Hire Supports Scottish Infrastructure

Welfare Hire has supported Scottish infrastructure projects for several years, partnering with regional and national infrastructure frameworks and contractors.

With a continued growing need for specialist equipment in the market, the next phase of our investment establishes a depot in Scotland’s central belt with a dedicated team to support projects in the country.

The depot will house stock of the mobile ECO welfare units and lighting towers we supply to sectors like rail, highways, utilities and construction. This will enable us to support Scottish infrastructure projects in three key ways:

1. Reduced environmental impact

A central motivation for infrastructure spending is to make Scotland greener; the £120m pledged for greener rail is but a single example. However, net zero targets draw attention to the entire supply chain – and that includes the actual construction and maintenance work involved in creating all this green infrastructure.

Welfare Hire’s mobile welfare units and lighting towers utilise hybrid power and Smart Water systems that unlock huge reductions in onsite fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

2. Support overworked staff

While infrastructure firms plan hard to deliver the projects they commit to, 55% also say they are struggling with labour shortages. This makes life extremely tough for the workers they do have, and could lead to decreased morale, exhaustion and even mental health struggles.

Welfare Hire’s mobile welfare units are designed to tackle these problems, providing a larger, more comfortable space for workers to rest during downtime. The effect both on workers’ productivity and health can be dramatic – exactly what projects struggling with a shortage of staff need to help keep their site operatives happy and attract new hires.

3. Make sourcing equipment easier

Delays have plagued many large Scottish infrastructure projects since February 2021, even before COVID-19, with almost 50% of projects experiencing such issues. This emphasises the vital importance of reliable service and support from supply partners.

Welfare Hire’s new depot will deliver the most comprehensive support possible, ensuring projects can always access the mobile welfare units and lighting towers they need – exactly when they need them – from a specialist partner.

1.https://www.insider.co.uk/news/labour-shortages-challenge-scottish-construction-27647760
2.https://brodies.com/insights/infrastructure/scotlands-26bn-infrastructure-investment-plan-2021-22-to-2025-26/
3.https://brodies.com/insights/infrastructure/scotlands-26bn-infrastructure-investment-plan-2021-22-to-2025-26/
4.https://www.gov.scot/policies/government-finance/infrastructure-investment/
5.https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/fears-major-infrastructure-projects-in-scotland-face-being-cut-back-3725011
6.https://www.railtechnologymagazine.com/articles/scottish-rail-see-ps120m-investment-create-greener-sector 7.https://news.stv.tv/scotland/labour-shortages-challenge-scottish-construction-firms-as-workload-grows-across-the-sector 8.https://www.itv.com/news/2019-04-23/almost-half-of-all-major-infrastructure-projects-in-scotland-delayed

How Innovative Products Can Combat On-site Noise Pollution

Noisy construction sites are nothing new, but many do not realise quite how serious the consequences of all that noise can be. From compromising people’s health to harming local communities, noise pollution is estimated to cost the UK economy an eye-watering £20 billion each year.¹

Construction leaders have a responsibility to fight this, and switching to quieter equipment like eco-friendly mobile welfare units and tower lighting units is a great way of doing that.

But how much impact would they actually have? And why is it so important to reduce on-site noise?

The impact of on-site noise

According to medical studies, around 51% of construction workers have been exposed to hazardous noise.² It’s not just unpleasant; it harms their health. Roughly 14% of construction workers report hearing difficulty, and 7% suffer from tinnitus.³

This extends to the neighbours of the site, too. A recent report outlined how noise from construction sites can cause stress, poor sleep and health problems for those that live nearby; and the World Health Organisation (WHO) claims noise pollution is the second-largest environmental cause of health issues.

The message is clear: noise pollution makes communication harder, reduces wellbeing and negatively impacts people’s health.

Site Welfare Facilities

What can construction sites do?

There are a number of ways leaders can reduce the noisiness of their sites. Focusing on particularly noisy activities will help curb the social impact of construction noise.  Additionally, noise restrictions tend to be stricter in the evenings and during the night time, so reducing noise at those times becomes imperative.

Equally, the Government’s advice highlights the value of altering design processes to reduce noise and removing people from the vicinity of noisy work. It also highlights the importance of choosing quieter equipment. And that is where Welfare Hire is able to lend a hand.

How Welfare Hire combats noise pollution

Welfare Hire’s innovative lighting towers run largely by battery rather than generator power; this means they are completely silent whenever the battery is being used. The X-Eco HYBRID LITHIUM, for example, can run silently for 36 hours. This means the lighting tower can be used all night without creating any noise at all.

The battery can then be charged using a generator, but this generator time is a fraction of the time needed if this were the primary source of power to the light.  Charging can take place during the day, ensuring the impact of the noise is minimal. The unit is also fitted with smart telematics, enabling site managers to check the battery remotely and manage charging around their project’s needs.

Similarly, Welfare Hire’s ECO welfare units are powered by solar energy first, lithium battery second and generator power only as a back-up.  This Smart Power management ensures that generator use is roughly ten times less, based on a standard competitor. In the summer, they may be able to run with no generator use at all.

You can see exactly how much your project could save

If you’d like to learn more, reach out to our sales team today.

1.https://acousticscompany.com/noise-pollution-costs-the-british-economy-around-20-billion/
2.Kerns E, Masterson EA, Themann CL, Calvert GM. (2018). Cardiovascular conditions, hearing difficulty and occupational noise exposure within U.S. industries and occupations. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 61, 477-491.
3.Kerns E, Masterson EA, Themann CL, Calvert GM. (2018). Cardiovascular conditions, hearing difficulty and occupational noise exposure within U.S. industries and occupations. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 61, 477-491.
4.https://ww3.rics.org/uk/en/modus/built-environment/construction/noisy-neighbours–how-building-sites-are-keeping-quiet.html 5.https://www.eea.europa.eu/articles/noise-pollution-is-a-major

Five Key Challenges For Highways In 2022 and Beyond

The UK’s Highways sector is one of its most vital and valuable assets. But from improving safety to delivering on climate targets, the sector faces a number of challenges.

As a proud supplier to many key highways projects, we explore five key trends in this article that will define the highways sector over the next year and beyond.

1. Project delays

A combination of planning delays and a pause on the roll out of smart motorways has led a large number of National Highway’s enhancement projects to be at risk of being deferred or dropped. According to Highways Magazine, the percentage of schemes at risk of missing an SOW commitment increased from 9% in 2020 to 22% last year.¹.

How these delays are resolved is unclear, but it will undoubtedly place pressure on National Highways to demonstrate its ability to deliver; the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) has warned that the company must prove it has “robust risk mitigations” in place.²

2. New safety recommendations

Road accidents are said to cost the UK economy and NHS £30 billion each year.³ And while lockdowns brought about a large decrease in the number of accidents on the UK’s roads, recently published numbers have shown a return to pre-pandemic rates.

The government has responded with the launch of The Road Safety Investigation Branch, which will provide independent recommendations on how the country’s roads could be made safer and incorporate new technology more effectively. This will likely spur on many high-value projects in the coming years, requiring innovative mobile welfare units.

3. Innovative technology

At the beginning of 2022, the UK government announced that no more all-lane running smart motorways would be built until the concept’s safety could be proven. This dealt a real blow to those who had claimed digital technology would transform roads in the coming years. But there is still reason to expect digital to be a significant part of future projects.

One key way technology will be used in highways moving forward is through design and maintenance. National Highways is already looking to leverage digital to produce a safer and more efficient construction process. The result may be a very large improvement in the output of the sector.

4. The rise of social values

Most industries have seen an awakening on issues of social justice in recent years. The highways sector is no different, and we are just beginning to see how this will be realised in the coming years.

National Highways recently published its Social Value Plan, which outlines how the company will support positive social change. This speaks to a larger trend, where highways businesses race to show their progress in relation to social values and local councils increasingly factor social value into their procurement decisions¹.

To promote diversity, companies in the sector should consider ways to improve on-site welfare. Providing their workers with innovative mobile welfare units that provide space and comfort will help improve morale and encourage employment interest from a broader range of talent.

5. Reducing carbon emissions

In July 2021, the UK government published its Transport Decarbonisation Plan¹¹ – a guide to helping the country’s transport networks meet net zero targets. From embracing electric vehicles (EVs) to encouraging the use of public transport, this will be a defining challenge for the highways sectors in the coming decade. 

For industry contractors, this is more than just an indication of the kinds of projects they will be working on; it is also a call to arms for them to reduce their own emissions. 

The Department for Transport (DfT) recently argued that fleets played a vital role in overarching net zero efforts. While road vehicles produce more than 90% of emissions, there is still an urgent need for strategic equipment such as mobile welfare units and mobile welfare vans to be as eco-friendly as possible¹².

As net zero deadlines grow closer, contractors may be able to improve their chances of landing valuable contracts by introducing more environmentally friendly equipment – such as hybrid-powered mobile welfare units. This will involve ensuring they have the right supplier partnerships in place to source such vehicles.

1.https://www.highwaysmagazine.co.uk/National-Highways-risks-falling-behind-on-enhancements/10791
2.https://www.highwaysmagazine.co.uk/National-Highways-risks-falling-behind-on-enhancements/10791
3.https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-countrys-first-ever-investigation-branch-focused-on-road-safety
4.https://www.highwaysmagazine.co.uk/Road-deaths-rise-as-lockdown-reset-fails-to-materialise/10918 5.https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-countrys-first-ever-investigation-branch-focused-on-road-safety 6.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59956911 7.https://nationalhighways.co.uk/our-work/digital-data-and-technology/digital-roads/
8.https://www.highwaysmagazine.co.uk/National-Highways-publishes-social-value-plan/10938
9.http://www.infrastructure-intelligence.com/article/jun-2022/kier-highways-sets-industry-standard-social-value
10.https://mag.publicsectorexecutive.com/articles/social-value-in-highways-procurement 11.https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1009448/decarbonising-transport-a-better-greener-britain.pdf
12.https://www.highwaysindustry.com/fleets-essential-to-plans-to-decarbonise-uk-road-transport-says-dft/

Four Best Vehicle Mounted Access Platform Practices To Improve Your Worksite Safety

Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms (VMAPs) are essential for most infrastructure projects, enabling you to work at heights safely. But in order to make the most of them, contractors must ensure their workers know exactly how to operate their equipment. 

As market leading providers of Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms for hire and lease, we at Access Hire feel a duty to help our partners make the most of their vehicles. That’s why we created this instructional video for the 5.2T – 14.5M VMAP:

Following these best practices will improve your worksite in at least four ways:

1. Prevent damage and malfunction

Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms need to be carefully maintained to avoid damage or malfunction. If the vehicle is compromised, it can result in delays to your project and repair costs that eat into your budget.

The best way to keep your vehicles in proper condition is following a careful series of checks on each Vehicle Mounted Access Platform before using it. This will ensure the vehicle and platform operate correctly and are safe for use. Here at Access Hire, vehicles go through a rigorous 50-point pre-delivery inspection ensuring your vehicle arrives road-ready.

 

2. Keep workers safe

Onsite safety is a huge priority for any contractor – especially when employees are working at heights. Following correct operating procedures is vital to ensure both those operating the vehicle and those in the basket remain safe and secure at all times.

The operator of a Vehicle Mounted Access Platform is responsible for carrying out a full risk assessment before, during and after use. They should also undertake daily checks before usage; deploy stabiliser legs correctly; ensure anybody using the platform wears a safety harness; and be fully aware of all emergency procedures, to ensure they are able to quickly resolve any issues during operation.

3. Avoid worksite accidents

Worksites can be busy, stressful environments, and without proper safety precautions moving vehicles can be a serious safety hazard. That is why anybody operating a Vehicle Mounted Access Platform has a duty to continually check their surroundings for hazards, as well as assessing the ground conditions.

Not only will this keep those outside of the vehicle safe from harm; it will ensure the whole site is able to operate more smoothly.

4. Improves efficiency of work

When you are on a tight budget and deadline, even minor faults can cause significant difficulties. But from platform malfunction to miscommunication, issues around the operation of strategic equipment are a common cause of delays on infrastructure worksites.

Following a clear set of shared best practices ensures your Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms operate smoothly. This means each task is completed as quickly and effectively as possible – keeping you on schedule.

Learn more with Access Hire

At Access Hire, we provide the UK’s largest and most modern fleet of Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms. But we don’t stop at the point of delivery.

Instead, we are dedicated to ensuring our partners’ projects are successful. That is why we include 24/7 support with every vehicle and offer expert advice about the safe and proper operation of your fleet.

Reach out today to discover how our service could help improve your worksite.

Five Key Challenges For Street Lighting In 2022 And Beyond

Street lighting is a vital part of the UK’s public infrastructure, and experts argue it could help contribute to a safer, greener future for the country. But the industry faces a number of tough problems in the coming years¹, from managing budgets to sourcing the right vehicle mounted access platforms.

In this article, we explore five key challenges that contractors must understand and tackle if they want to thrive in 2022 and beyond:

1. Budget management

Given that the UK government’s National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline has promised £650bn for infrastructure schemes over the next decade, we might assume budgeting is going to be less of a problem in the coming years. But this overlooks two challenges.

First, public finances are under unprecedented pressure – and that means tough decisions are on the way. Projects which are deemed to be economically inefficient or lack a clear Return On Investment will likely be the first to be shelved.

Second, contractors often overlook ways they could improve their budgeting efficiency. For example, by switching to a leasing model for their Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms, many firms could gain far greater control over their spending – and make themselves a far more appealing proposition when bidding on contracts.

 

2. LED lighting

Street lighting typically consumes around 30% of a local authority’s budget², but this figure drops quite a bit if they have switched to LED lighting. It has been suggested that local authorities could save £100 million a year by making the switch³

Another reason demand for LED street lighting has grown is climate change. LED lights offer 100,000 hours of light, compared to 15,000 from normal bulbs, presenting a huge opportunity to reduce energy usage and create more sustainable public infrastructure.

This helps explain why local councils have spent nearly £500 million installing LED street lighting since 2016. Experts estimate the UK’s streets will be 100% LED lit by 2035, but it is smaller, less well-funded areas that contractors should look to for the biggest opportunities.

3. Public safety

While LED lighting provides huge cost and climate benefits, it also presents challenges in terms of reliability. In London, by far the most advanced area in terms of LED adoption, nearly 1,500 complaints have been made relating to street lighting since 2016

This speaks to a larger issue of public safety. Recent studies have found that well-lit street can reduce crime by 36%, meaning street lighting is not just a tick-box compliance exercise but a potential means of improving the safety and wellbeing of local populations.

Street lighting contractors have a responsibility to help local authorities make better use of street lighting as a means of improving safety. Doing so will not only fulfill social responsibility, but help contractors build better relations with their customers.

4. The Internet of Things (IoT)

Urban planners and local authorities are empowered by greater volumes of high-quality data. Smart, connected street lighting could be an unparalleled source of real-time information for them in the future, enabling everything from monitoring traffic to enabling more efficient energy usage.

Making this a widespread reality will require a great deal of innovation and investment. Street lighting contractors and manufacturers should champion this approach, making the case for better connected, technologically empowered systems.

A government report from June raised security concerns as a major roadblock to implementing smart street lighting technology. The report asked for additional guidance on security matters, and those in the industry that are able to help resolve these concerns will likely position themselves well for future opportunities.

5. Reliability

Finally, street lighting contractors face a challenge ensuring they are able to deliver projects on time and budget reliably. The construction industry as a whole has developed a reputation for delays and budgetary problems, and overcoming these issues will help contractors win 

One factor to consider is procurement: plenty of problems arise not because of the contractors themselves, but a lack of transparency or reliability in the supply chain. Ensuring key equipment like vehicle-mounted access platforms are on-site when needed is vital to keep things ticking along and stay on target.

Contractors should therefore consider who they partner with – their reputation, delivery model and capacity. At Access Hire, we operate the UK’s largest, most reliable fleet of vehicle mounted access platforms, and with fully inclusive maintenance and support, we help our street lighting customers deliver reliable results every time.

1.https://www.raconteur.net/infrastructure/uk-faces-tough-choices-to-finance-infrastructure-ambitions/
2.https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/safer-streets-uk-lighting-crime-energy-net-zero/138727/
3.https://www.facilitatemagazine.com/news/2018/09/12/uk-street-lighting-market-set-17-value-growth-2022
4.https://www.thelightingsuperstore.co.uk/blog/post/energy-efficiency-in-the-uk-how-many-areas-are-converting-to-led-streetlights
5.https://www.thelightingsuperstore.co.uk/blog/post/energy-efficiency-in-the-uk-how-many-areas-are-converting-to-led-streetlights
6.https://www.thelightingsuperstore.co.uk/blog/post/energy-efficiency-in-the-uk-how-many-areas-are-converting-to-led-streetlights
7.https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/safer-streets-uk-lighting-crime-energy-net-zero/138727/
8.https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-smart-street-infrastructure-security-report/the-smart-street-infrastructure-security-report-executive-summary

How Mobile Welfare Units Can Help Kickstart Better Mental Health in the Construction Industry

Construction has a reputation for being tough, dangerous work. But as anyone with first-hand experience knows, it is not the physical impact of the job which most struggle with – it is the emotional one.

Mental health issues affect a staggering 83% of construction workers in the UK,¹ and should rightly be deemed a major workplace health crisis. But the combination of high-stress work and low job security – as well as a toxic workplace culture which emphasises stoicism over sharing – leads many to suffer in silence. 

Over two thirds of construction workers believe there’s a stigma surrounding mental health which stops them from talking about it,² and 56% of construction professionals work for organisations with no policies on mental health in the workplace.³

Ultimately, men working in the industry are roughly four times more likely than average to take their own lives – and suicide is five times more prevalent than all other fatalities combined.

Welfare Hire is passionate about improving mental health in the construction industry, and in this article we explain why our mobile welfare units should be a vital component of any business’s attempts to do so.

Better mental health will transform construction

As Welfare Hire’s recent research showed, the construction industry has become sluggish in recent years, with low productivity and a growing trend of missed deadlines. But this may be more directly related to the mental health crisis than many assume.

Consider, for example, the economic effect of poor mental health support. Stress, anxiety, and depression account for one-fifth of work-related illnesses – leading to 70 million days of leave and costing an estimated annual cost of £70bn-£100bn. Improved mental health support would immediately reduce that cost, providing a much-needed boost to construction projects’ productivity and financial efficiency.

This is just one of many ways improving employee experience – by hiring better mobile welfare units – would lead to widespread improvements. Consider hiring difficulties, retention challenges, diversity problems and onsite communication – all would be vastly improved by a wholesale reevaluation of mental health support. And we believe that starts with the onsite environment.

The power of thinking small

Many businesses go wrong by trying to tackle the big picture problem head-on. But this overlooks the small wins available to them, and misunderstands the day-to-day experiences that cumulatively lead to mental health struggles.

A third of construction workers suffer from elevated levels of anxiety every day, and 44% feel their daily workload is too high. These are low-level concerns that ultimately grow into larger problems, especially when they are persistently underestimated or ignored.

Experts often suggest that construction workers need to be educated and encouraged to talk about their problems. But this overlooks the fact that most construction sites are extremely poor environments for such open communication – especially if you are not used to having such conversations.

How mobile welfare units help

Our business is explicitly designed to help businesses improve the way they treat their employees – by providing the physical comfort and space they need with a range of innovative mobile welfare units and welfare vans. 

Better mobile welfare units and welfare vans can combat this in two ways:

First, they provide the right atmosphere to have important conversations, providing respite from the loud and often intense construction environment. 

Second, they signal to workers that their mental health is being taken into account and supported. This encourages workers to feel safe opening up.The X-Eco10, for example, provides 20% more internal space than other mobile welfare units, enabling up to 10 people to rest at any given time. This can be a gamechanger in terms of employee wellbeing, providing a safe, private space where the complex and vital work of destigmatising mental health concerns can take place.

1.https://bcbuildingtrades.org/83-of-construction-workers-have-experienced-a-mental-health-issue/
2.https://www.matesinmind.org/news/mental-health-in-uk-construction-the-statistics
3.https://www.ciob.org/media-centre/news/one-four-construction-workers-consider-suicide-finds-ciob-report
4.https://constructible.trimble.com/construction-industry/mental-health-in-construction-stats
5.https://www.ciob.org/media-centre/news/one-four-construction-workers-consider-suicide-finds-ciob-report
6.https://www.matesinmind.org/news/mental-health-in-uk-construction-the-statistics

How Access Hire Keeps Customers Working

Kelling Group Safety Tips For Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms

Infrastructure output in the UK is set to increase by 8.8% this year – and a further 4.6% in 2023¹. But in order to keep pace with that growth, contractors must ensure they are not hit by unexpected delays.

According to research, large projects routinely take 20% longer than planned, with 69% of projects run over budget by more than 10%. And one of the most persistent causes of these problems is faulty equipment. 

From unexpected maintenance to failing motors, there are a range of problems, key assets like vehicle mounted access platforms routinely cause. But without the support of suppliers, contractors are helpless to prevent such setbacks. 

In this article, we explore three key factors that can ensure key equipment functions properly throughout a project:

1. Communication from suppliers

One third of project failure results from poor communication – including interactions with suppliers. Without consistent, transparent communication, contractors are left in the dark and issues with the equipment are not attended to quickly enough. 

This is a common fault with suppliers. In fact, the average B2B business scores less than 50% on the customer-experience index. But at Access Hire, we have made it our priority to change how things are done. 

We ensure key channels of communication are open at all times through our 24/7/365 operational support, meaning you can contact an expert advisor whenever you need to. And because we pride ourselves in hiring true industry experts, we are there to offer detailed strategic or technical advice that will help solve your problems faster.

24/7

2. Inclusive maintenance and support

Specialist equipment requires regular maintenance to ensure it stays operational.

Not only does this increase the likelihood of failure and delays, it hits your bottom line – as maintenance accounts for up to 30% of the total cost of a vehicle. Sourcing and paying experts is expensive, but entirely necessary to keep your project running.

Access Hire, however, undertakes regular planned maintenance on our entire fleet – to guarantee they are in top condition. Before delivering products, we undertake a rigorous 50-point inspection to certify they are in proper working order. As well as include breakdown and recovery as a standard, to ensure every one of our partners feels confident that any issues they face will be quickly resolved.

3. Seamless product delivery

Finally, strategic equipment like vehicle mounted access platforms need to actually arrive on your site when it is needed. Reliable delivery is not only important for keeping on schedule – it also enables a certain amount of flexibility, as you can more easily source extra equipment. 

This is where operating the country’s largest fleet comes in handy: we are able to deliver key strategic equipment across the UK. The result? Our clients are able to keep their site working and stay on schedule – always.

Access Hire Celebrates 15 Years Driving Industry Innovation

When Access Hire was founded in 2007, there was a clear strategic goal: to build a specialist, market-leading operation with the largest and most modern fleet, accompanied by the best-in-class service

As each new long-term customer partnership developed and became stronger, our fleet expanded. Access Hire’s focused approach has resulted in the business becoming the UK’s largest VMAP long-term hire and lease specialist.

This year marks 15 years since it all began. In recognition of that significant milestone, we wanted to take a look back at some of our key achievements.

 

Great products speak for themselves

Since the beginning, Access Hire has prided itself on continual investment and having the most modern and innovative fleet in the UK. This is proven by the fact that over the last 15 years, our fleet has grown from less than 100 vehicles to over 1,300 today, with an average age of fewer than 2.5 years. 

We have continually reinvested in improving our fleet and service. This has enabled us to deliver better, more reliable products for our clients consistently – and that level of quality simply does not go unnoticed.

We opt for high specification as standard for every single one of our clients, and provide 24/7 support across the entire hire.

And by augmenting our core van-mounted fleet with more specialised equipment (such as 4x4s and pole erection units), we can meet client’s needs across a wide range of sectors – from telecoms and local authorities to street lighting and power.

Here is our latest product review video of the 3.5t Renault Master.

Investing in people pays dividends

Throughout our journey, we have consistently put our people front and centre – whether that’s recruiting great employees and nurturing their talents, or building long-term relationships with our growing customer base.

We have always focused on being a true specialist in our chosen field, who can advise and help our clients. We are a specialist, not a generalist provider which affords our clients many benefits.

We are able to provide truly detailed, expert advice and support to our clients in many ways, including, inter alia, asset selection, the benefits of long-term hire vs lease, regulatory compliance, servicing and breakdown, and asset management. Our one-stop-shop, fully outsourced offering is unmatched, providing clients peace of mind and continuity of operations.

 

Innovation is never finished

The last few years have demonstrated that there is never a limit to innovation.

With the size of our fleet and workforce rapidly growing, the decision to move to a larger site was required to allow further growth.

This investment was made in 2018, through a new 50,000sq ft HQ and primary depot located in Normanton, surrounded by major transport links allowing for accurate and reliable nationwide deliveries.

By 2021, Access Hire boasted the country’s largest fleet of access vehicles and was widely seen as an industry leader in service and quality, and expertise for long-term VMAP hire.

This has been further augmented with the launch of Access Lease in 2021. Access Lease is a market-leading, fully inclusive, and maintained solution, allowing customers protection against financial uncertainty by locking into a long-term fixed price contract.

Thanks to our continuous investment resulting in a robust pipeline of new assets with agreed delivery times, our Access Lease proposition allows our customers to beat the current long lead times with access to brand-new, market-leading vehicles.

 Over the last twelve months, the company has added over 300 new vehicles to its fleet. As we continue to innovate and invest in our fleet, the total number in the fleet will grow to over 1,400 by the end of this year.

Never settle for second best

It has always been central to our ethos that truly great companies never compromise.

So, as we look back on everything we’ve achieved with our clients and within the Access team over the last 15 years we say thank you, and here is to making the next 15 even better!

Welfare Hire Leadership: The Key to Positive ESG Is Measurement

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings are increasingly essential for businesses. Not only do they help evaluate and quantify efforts to become more sustainable, they are also an important signal for investors – and a strong predictor of operational performance.

However, measuring ESG can be challenging. Because businesses need data on the environmental impact of their entire value chain – including everything from the materials they use to the welfare equipment they procure. 

In this article, we explore the challenge of measuring ESG for construction firms – and how Welfare Hire’s eco-calculator is designed to help.

Three reasons to measure environmental impact

20%

1. To validate your sustainability strategy

As Antony Brophy, Director of Business Development, Cobuilder, recently told ConstructionNews, a lack of data makes it near-impossible to be confident that our efforts to reduce carbon emissions are working¹. Consistent measurement is therefore vital to assess the impact any sustainability initiative you launch has. 

You may believe a new mobile welfare unit or lighting tower is helping curb emissions, but without real data – it’s all just guess work.

2. To enable targeted solutions

Once you have data on the emissions and environmental impact of your equipment and materials, you can make better informed decisions about how to improve things. You can target the most harmful – or easiest to improve – areas of your business first, and see exactly how much these changes impact your overall ESG rating.

This is particularly important as construction firms are often plagued by hidden emissions (often known as “embodied carbon”)², meaning decision makers often overlook big sustainability wins.

3. To track your business’s progress

Net-zero carbon and other sustainability goals are not short-term challenges – they are long-term projects that will require ongoing maintenance and monitoring. Data is crucial in this regard, as it enables your business to track and adjust its efforts over time.

When, for example, you switch suppliers and introduce a new model of mobile welfare unit, you would always assess the financial implications of the decision. And exactly the same protocols should be in place to assess the effect a decision will have on your business’s ESG rating.

Why are ESG ratings difficult to measure?

ESG is difficult to measure in part because there is no single accepted way of doing it. There are a range of ESG frameworks³, and each will produce a different rating depending on the particulars of your company’s activities. 

Without a set of standardised criteria, many fear that ESG scores are unreliable indicators of a business’s true environmental impact. But for construction businesses, this is not the biggest concern.

The biggest concern is that the average construction firm’s supply chain is large and complex, meaning assessing the overall impact of your activities is challenging – especially when suppliers are unable to provide you with their own ESG data.

Suppliers must provide accurate data

Many construction suppliers are not forthcoming with information about their products’ ESG credentials – meaning contractors will struggle to gain full visibility of their environmental impact. They will give you the full spec on their mobile welfare units, but cannot help you when it comes to determining how their products will impact your sustainability efforts.

This is exactly why Welfare Hire created our Eco Calculator – a simple tool to provide full transparency to our partners and help them understand how each of our market-leading products will change their site’s overall emissions. 

It is based on rigorous research where we took over 500,000 hire days’ worth of live site data on our products and compared it with the market standard. This enabled us to quantify the relative savings and environmental impact our product suite offers. 

You can try it for yourself today

1.https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/tech/why-data-is-vital-for-the-industry-to-achieve-net-zero-13-07-2022/
2.https://www.c40knowledgehub.org/s/article/Why-cities-need-to-address-the-construction-sectors-hidden-emissions?language=en_US
3.https://www.rio.ai/blog/esg-frameworks-explained-the-top-choices-why-they-matter
4.https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/lack-of-standardized-esg-data-may-hide-material-risks-oecd-says-60541261

How Leasing Access Vehicles Can Improve Street Lighting Projects

The future looks bright for street lighting contractors. 

From 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) to ongoing government funding to tackle street crime¹ and the climate crisis², there are a number of exciting projects on the horizon. The UK government’s latest National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline promised £650bn for infrastructure schemes over the next decade³.

But with public finances under pressure, many contractors are being forced to find ways to increase efficiency and deliver greater value on projects.

One way of doing this is by rethinking the way they procure key strategic equipment and Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms. And in this article, we explore how embracing a leasing model can empower contractors in the street lighting sector.

The budget problem

Research from the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) shows there is a persistent gap between cost estimates and output from infrastructure projects, suggesting that contractors and firms struggle to plan their budgets effectively.

There are a number of reasons why. For example, street lighting projects are very prone to disruption, with weather often slowing work down or making it too dangerous. This can create a cascading effect, leading to delays and excess spending.

However, one of the most challenging parts of the budgeting process is procurement.

The procurement problem

The majority of street lighting projects require assets like Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms, to enable them to work at heights safely. But because few contractors can afford to buy their own fleet outright, they are forced to hire it from a third-party provider. 

This tends to lead to rigid contracts that aren’t adaptable to their projects’ workflow, and limits their ability to afford top quality equipment. It makes managing their budget more challenging, as payments are fixed and often don’t fit well within the contractor’s income stream. 

But the reality is, this need not be a problem at all. Because there is a third option for street lighting contractors – the vehicle leasing model.

Kelling Group Access Hire Leasing

The leasing solution

Leasing Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms enables a level of flexibility that most contractors assume is not available to them. 

The model allows them to procure the highest quality vehicles without the prohibitive cost of buying, and update the model when a project is done – without ballooning payments. But it also helps them spread their payments more effectively, helping manage and adapt their budget to their income. 

There are also clear tax benefits. Many street lighting contractors even find they can deduct the full lease rental cost from their taxable income – or claim capital allowances on the asset cost. Across an entire fleet and multiple projects, this creates a huge improvement in financial efficiency – one that can either be passed onto the client or kept to increase the contractor’s bottom line.

Vehicle Mounted Access Platform Budget

Working with Access Hire

Access Hire has pioneered this leasing model with our market-leading Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms. We provide 24/7 support, ongoing maintenance and expert product knowledge to every one of our clients. And our vast list of long-term relationships is proof that the model works.

To discover how leasing our vehicles could help you, reach out to us today.

1.https://www.gov.uk/government/news/intelligent-street-lighting-illuminates-the-way-to-digital-roads-for-national-highways
2.https://iotuk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/The-Future-of-Street-Lighting.pdf
3.https://www.raconteur.net/infrastructure/uk-faces-tough-choices-to-finance-infrastructure-ambitions/
4.https://www.ice.org.uk/media/vmhdu4jc/ice-report-reducing-the-gap-between-cost-estimates-and-outturns-for-major-infrastructure-projects-and-programmes.pdf