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Homeowners and contractors might require items like submersible pumps to clear flooded basements, heaters, dehumidifiers, carpet cleaners and pressure washers. “This is a niche that other hirers can target.We can provide sophisticated equipment like dehumidifiers with integral pumps, so that collected water can be emptied via a hose routed through a letterbox or window, or even into a toilet, so they can be left unattended. Hour meters on machines enable clients to reclaim electricity costs from insurers, and can also show contractors if the client has switched machines off to reduce noise.”

During the 2007 floods in parts of the UK, every pump in Selwood’s fleet was out on hire.

restoration industry. Its flood clearance product offering ranges from cavity wall dryers, room dryers and dehumidifiers, to air movers, thermal foggers for room decontamination, vacuum pumps and the like. “As in other hire markets, hirers can give the rapid response customers need, with the right equipment. However, you need staff prepared to work 24/7 and to travel from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Last Christmas Day, we had staff on the road serving customers. And the equipment has to be scrupulously maintained.”

Many people believe global warming will cause more frequent extreme weather, creating, in turn, demand for equipment to tackle the effects. Martin Dickson, recently appointed as TowerLight UK’s Technical Sales Manager for Pumps, which are being sold under the TL Pumps brand, certainly believes there are growing opportunities.

“We are establishing a network of distributors for our large diameter open and super-silent diesel sets, self-priming pumps and diaphragm pumps, that could include established pump hire and supply companies, and possibly hirers looking to add this equipment for customers in flood restoration, utilities, quarrying and other markets. Returns on investment can be attractive compared to some other items of plant, and Tower Light can provide full backing from our new sales and service support operation in Milton Keynes.”

Besides the specialist national companies serving this market, there are opportunities for other hirers on a smaller scale, according to Dave Matthews, Director of Climate Hire & Sales, a division of Hire Station. “As well as emergency flooding, equipment is needed to deal with damage caused to homes and offices caused by burst pipes and water leaks. Severe flooding normally affects specific places or areas, whereas a prolonged winter freeze can cause problems throughout the country. And if pipes or tanks burst upstairs, water can damage an entire property.”

Submersible pumps can be used for many flood-related water clearance tasks. 27

Certainly, independents are ideally placed to meet local needs if flooding strikes. “We supplied a lot of Calorex dehumidifiers, Clarke International radiant heaters and Andrews Sykes fan heaters following

the Cockermouth flooding,” said Simon Benson of M & A Hire Services in Whitehaven, seven miles away. “And although a lot of subsequent restoration work was undertaken by insurers’ appointed contractors with their own kit, there was still demand for mixers and the like.”

Unprecedented rainfall

The same unprecedented rainfall affected Eamont Bridge, south of Penrith. “The village was devastated,” said Dave Taylor of Penrith Tool Hire. “I filled my 4x4 truck with as many Obart submersibles and other equipment as I could and we went to offer people help. “In one property we had three pumps running while water was still coming in. We basically saved the owner’s house.We also rescued ride-on lawnmowers and other expensive equipment that had floated out of wrecked garden sheds, and we got a lot of repair business as a result. Local people were really appreciative.”

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