Contractors throughout the UAE are electing to hire as an alternative to buying, which can present an unrealistic option for many – representing a major investment and outlay.
Renting construction plants on a job-by-job basis offers the major advantage for the contractor of not having to finance idle plant which is always depreciating – plus it provides access to the latest equipment ‘as and when’ needed.
According to a spokesman at Inma, the local distributor for Dynapac compaction rollers and Atlas Copco compressors and generating sets, the trend towards rental is constantly growing, particularly for the smaller items such as gensets and compressors.
“This type of equipment, including compaction rollers, can remain idle on a site for fairly long periods, which is not cost effective for a contractor owning the equipment,” he says
“Generally, rental becomes the preferred option for shorter term projects,” he adds.
Inma has seen a significant increase in demand throughout 2005 and the start of 2006 for its equipment by rental companies modernising their fleets and introducing new lines such as generating sets to meet the rising demand.
One example is a long established rental company specialising in larger more conventional construction equipment, which had a small proven fleet of eight older Atlas Copco compressors delivered in 1998.
“However, last year they recognised a demand not only for compressors but also generating sets,” says the spokesman. The company not only took delivery of compressors doubling its fleet but also enhanced its fleet of gensets.
Following the delivery of the first sets in July 2005, the company has, with regular repeat orders, boosted its fleet to 22 Atlas Copco generating sets including the most recent delivery in February this year for two 100 kVA QAS 100s and a 250 kVA QAS 250 generating set.
Al Shola is another long-established rental fleet operator formed more than 30 years ago. Although an earthmoving contractor, Al Shola also maintained a rental fleet of heavy equipment including excavator loaders and compaction rollers, plus a limited number of older Atlas Copco compressors.
“Twelve months ago, we recognised the need to modernise our airpower fleet as contractors began requesting rental of compressors,” says Al Shafer’s rental
sales engineer, V Vinayakumar. “Following an initial order for three Atlas Copco XAS 136 compressors, we quickly increased this to 10 units including five XAS 97s,” he adds.
Vinayakumar considers that rental units are today making up to 70 per cent of contractors’ fleet requirements, “a significant increase compared with just three years ago,” he adds.
“Backup is absolutely essential with many contractors’ plant managers no longer interested in carrying out routine maintenance or employing related labour for maintenance procedures.”
Al Shola operates a dedicated workshop with its own service team, ensuring a thorough servicing and maintenance of all equipment before every rental and throughout the on-site rental period.
“Rental periods can vary from just a day to up to one year, with many between three to four months,” continues Vinayakumar.
With such a diverse range of rental periods and with the operator’s skills, at times, very poor, it is essential that the equipment have a proven reliability and capability to withstand robust use. Although rental can put added demands on work scheduling for the contractor in ensuring that the right plant is available at the right time and in the right place, the benefits that the system offers is being increasingly recognised by more and more companies and the trend is expected to continue throughout the next 12 months, putting more pressure on the rental fleets to expand further.
At least one rental company is looking to increase its fleet of compressors by up to 20 new units of which the majority will be Atlas Copco XAS 136 portable air compressors.
Inma also agrees to the fact there is an increasing demand for the rental of compaction rollers forcing rental companies to modernise their fleets.
Al Mutawa Heavy Equipment Trading falls into this category, having updated its fleet last year, which, for the first time, included compaction rollers – three Dynapac CA 250D rollers.
A typical rental features one of the Dynapac CA 250D on a short term rental with Mills Bailey Concrete Products readymix concrete yard in Dubai Investment Park.
Opened 14 months ago with concrete batching plants producing 180 cu m/h, Mills Bailey opted for an on-going construction programme allowing concrete to be produced to meet demand as construction continued.
The Dynapac is currently being used to fabricate the concrete base for the final structures to complete the yard and the chiller and ice plant.
Like Al Mutawa, Iejaz Transport has also decided to incorporate compaction rollers in its rental fleet for the first time. The company has just placed its first order with Inma for two Dynapac CA 250Ds to meet rental demand for compaction rollers, particularly from the highway sector.