2023 sees Gloucester based contractors WE Plant celebrate their 10th anniversary in business.

The family run firm, set up by Mike and Steve Parrott, was formed to undertake the construction and maintenance of private equine facilities throughout the region but has since grown to undertake a variety of earthmoving and demolition projects. Steady growth has seen the company introduce more machines and operatives as their workload increased and currently run a Komatsu D61 dozer several LGP dump trucks and a range of Kobelco excavators equipped with GPS and tiltrotators.

A recent contract win has seen Mike pick up the development of a new fishing lake, and access works in the heart of the Gloucestershire countryside. The development of the land is in part to manage water flow across the owners land and reduce flood risks and asks for the existing field to be re-profiled to allow a new, 2m deep lake to be constructed. This work involves the entire site being stripped and over 36,000m3 of material moved from the top of the field and placed in the lower section. Alongside this cut and fill work, Mike will clean out the original drainage channels surrounding the land to increase the water movement into the area’s drainage system.

With a long list of ongoing projects tying up the majority of Mike’s fleet as this job was due to start, he has turned to national plant hire specialists Plantforce to supply a range of machines to undertake the work. “We have used Plantforce to supplement our fleet on a regular basis.” Mike commented. “We know that we are going to get a fresh machine that will be delivered when we want it with no excuses. Another huge plus point for us is that we run almost all of our projects with machine control and with Plantforce, we can specify an excavator or dozer complete with machine control and ready to work as soon as it lands.”

We met up with Mike and dad Steve on the lake project where the pair had just taken delivery of a handful of machines from Plantforce just that morning and were already underway with stripping the ground and making the most of a brief spell of good weather.
“We need to make a big impression whilst we have the good weather.” Mike commented. “So, we’ve gone and kitted ourselves out with a Kobelco SK350, a couple of Hydrema 922 trucks and a new D6 just to break the back of the job. Once we have the site stripped and the basic shape pulled out, we can relax a little.”

Plantforce have grown to become a national supplier plant and machinery tailored to the construction, rail, major projects, and energy industries. Established as regional plant hire company in 1999, they have grown year on year to now provide one of the largest and most diverse ranges of machinery and skilled operators in the UK, reinforced with another new depot opening recently in the Manchester region.

Not content with building up one of the largest plant fleets in the UK, they have also recognised the importance of being able to supply a range of services to complement the hire fleet such as attachments, crushing and screening equipment, heavy haulage services and the GPS machine control solutions side of the business with Plantforce Digital.

Building their business around the needs of customers has given Plantforce the foundation to service major developments, such as the construction of the Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station. This project was Europe’s largest construction site with Plantforce being principal plant supplier for over 9 years and having more than 300 items of plant on hire and over 200 working personnel onsite at peak times.

As access to the site was limited, Mike’s instructions to Plantforce were to deliver each machine separately with a decent gap in-between deliveries so as not to block up the country lanes and upset the neighbours. This was adhered to, and it was the Kobelco SK350 to arrive first on site, Mike quickly jumped in and started to strip the ground around the entrance to the site ready to install a temporary water connection. With the second Plantforce truck not far away, he turned his attention to stripping grass and topsoil from around a tree piling the material up ready for loading and moving down the site.

The next delivery was a box fresh CAT D6 dozer complete with a Trimble Earthworks machine control system. “We have used Trimble for several years and find it to be a very comprehensive and easy to use system.” Mike commented. “Having the dozer delivered with the system all ready to go is an ideal solution for us.” One of several in the fleet, the D6 is available with either a PAT or straight blade option, both with LGP undercarriages. Plantforce have also invested heavily in purchasing several of the XE Hybrid versions offering customers improved fuel economy. Jumping from the Kobelco into the D6, Mike started pushing the grass and topsoil down the site and gradually taking the paint off the blade and tracks.

During a quick break Mike is keen to point out the brilliant performance of the dozer. “I’m really impressed with it! We haven’t had a D6 for such a long time and this new model seems to be a huge step up from the previous model. It just wants to push and push!”
Getting back to work, Mike quickly strips an area ready for excavating leaving a growing heap of material at the far end of the site and demonstrating just why it makes sense to hire in the right piece of kit.

With Mike stripping the site, Steve is left to take delivery of the final two pieces of kit from Plantforce, a pair of new Hydrema 922G trucks. Famed for their impressive low ground pressure abilities, the Hydrema has a 22-tonne capacity and will be ideally suited to working on this project as the weather deteriorates.

“As a company we try to keep our hires down to a minimum and use our own machines whenever we can, but we do realise that this isn’t always the way.” Mike commented. “For us having Plantforce almost on the doorstep and having built up a good relationship over the years with them, we will always give them a call first. They always do what they say they will do and deliver a good, tidy machine. Most importantly for us, their service is second to none, as they have proved again today.”