Plant hire firm spends £2.2m on machinery as construction sector recovers

Construction plant hire specialist, Chippindale Plant, has invested almost £2.2m in new machinery after seeing continued demand during lockdown, and a strong post-pandemic bounce back in the construction sector.

The business, which is based in Leeds and operates across the North, supplies construction plant, tools, specialist excavator attachments and site accommodation.

During the worst of the pandemic, it operated with a skeleton staff structure, supplying construction projects exempt from lockdown restrictions as they were to support key services.

As restrictions have eased, it has seen the construction sector bounce back, driving demand for larger equipment, like excavators, telehandlers and rollers, which it expects to continue driving revenue growth.

The company notes the house building and renovation sectors have been particularly buoyant.

Also in demand have been the firm’s mobile welfare units – cabins with storage areas, a canteen space, office and toilets, used by teams working on-site to maintain COVID-safe bubbles allowing managers to comply with social-distancing rules.

Operations director Tony Atack said: “When it became clear that the country was going into lockdown, we didn’t know how long for or what the impact would be on the construction industry.

“We sold off a lot of our older equipment to raise cash to support the business.

“But, as the country recovered from the first wave of the pandemic, we took the view that that the construction industry would be one of the drivers of recovery, and we wanted Chippindale to be at the vanguard.

“Working with Lloyds Bank, we secured a £2.2m CBILS asset finance agreement which helped reduce our risk and gave us the confidence to invest.”

Chippindale reports that turnover is up 10% on pre-pandemic levels, and it is now planning further investment in equipment and the development of a new smartphone app and e-commerce site.

The £20m turnover family firm is one of the largest privately-owned hire and sales companies in the UK with 120 staff and eight depots across the region.

It offers equipment for hire or sale and has customers including national contractors, such as the Kier Group and Balfour Beatty, numerous local authorities and construction firms of all sizes, as well as domestic customers.

Dave Moore, relationship director at Lloyds Bank, said: “Chippindale Plant was able to react quickly to the initial impact of the pandemic on its core customers and was fast to spot the market rebounding.

“This investment stands it in good stead for the future and I am sure its confidence in the prospects for the construction sector is well placed.

“Lloyds Bank is working with business customers right across the UK to guide them through the challenges and opportunities as we emerge from the pandemic and help them access the support that’s available.”