Dynamic duo

In the current economic climate it’s great to come across a contracting firm that is standing its ground.   BY MARY SEARLE

October_175.jpgPaul Smith Earthmoving in Timaru is a locally owned and operated company that undertakes a wide range of civil and residential work in an area that stretches from Blenheim to the West Coast and down to Queenstown.

Although it has noticed the downturn, with less dairy farm work on the books, the owners are working hard to keep the staff busy, and are succeeding at that. So much so that they’ve just acquired two new Doosan excavators, a DX60R and a DX80R.

Bruce Tinnelly and Tony Moir bought the company from Paul Smith back in 2002, and over the last seven years have nurtured it from its core business of site works and plant hire to a firm which undertakes all round earthmoving, drainage, demolition, metal supplies, farm work and roading projects. The team has grown considerably in that time too, up from 12 to a staff of 55.

Paul_Smith_3.jpgWhile Tony looks after the domestic side of the business, including residential site works and landscaping, Bruce takes care of the construction side of the business – namely, work for the NZ Transport Agency and local government.

He’s put in a lot of effort to achieve NZTA prequalification in 2007 and ACC tertiary accreditation in 2008. The company is also approved contractors for both the Timaru and Ashburton district councils and has a registered drainlayer on the team to ensure its work meets all drainage requirements to council specifications.

The two new Doosans are ideal for drainage work – their compact size and offset booms make digging trenches a breeze, especially on sites with little room to spare, such as around houses and buildings.

Their configuration makes them ideal for much of the domestic work on the company’s books too – building rock retaining walls and water features, driveways and doing site works.

Paul_Smith_2.jpgBoth machines offer powerful performance and simple and easy maintenance. They also boast increased production and improved fuel economy thanks to the electronic optimisation of the hydraulic system and the new-generation engine.

Paul Smith Earthmoving has between 50 and 60 excavators, dozers, graders and loaders, and 30-odd trucks. It has chosen to stick with Doosan when buying smaller excavators, thanks to the reliable performance of the two Doosan diggers it already has.

“That brings the total to four,” says Bruce. “We’ve had a good run out of the first two and I’m sure these two will perform just as well.

“We haven’t yet tried the larger Doosan equipment, but we will definitely get more Doosan gear in time. The smaller stuff has performed really well.”

The day of the Contractor photoshoot the DX80R is hard at work in suburban Timaru constructing a rock retaining wall, using a grapple to move large pieces of stone with ease. Here it is easy to see the advantages the compact size offers – the site is a private front yard with not much room to manoeuvre, yet the DX80R works comfortably and efficiently.

But don’t be lulled into thinking small stuff is all that Paul Smith Earthmoving is about, the company has tackled the excavation for a subdivision in Timaru, including the trenching of sewer, stormwater and telecom services to all lots, footpaths and driveway excavations.

Paul_Smith_1.jpgLast year it did the initial siteworks for a NZTA recycled crushed concrete contract, including the establishment of a stockpile site at Wigram, Christchurch, for the production and supply of 60,000 cubic metres of recycled crushed concrete AP65 subbase for use on the construction of the proposed Christchurch Southern Motorway extension.

The company has also worked as a subcontractor to Harker Underground Construction, doing the ground stabilisation, sheet piling and installation of 150 metres of 2.3 metre-diameter concrete pipes, which is part of a stormwater tunnel in Timaru.

Bruce says 2009 has been a good, steady year for the company, with a consistent level of work keeping them occupied. He’s refusing to participate in the “stupid prices” some companies are tendering for civil work, focusing instead on projects that generate a profit.

It’s a sound plan, and it seems to be working.  

Contractor Vol.33  No.9  October 2009
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