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One-way traffic for Herts

Herts Equipment Rental has given the green light to focusing solely on providing traffic management solutions. Alan Guthrie reports.

A hallmark of Watford-based Herts Equipment Rental is its ability to adapt to changing market conditions. As our profile on the company back in November 2005 described, the business was created in 2002, when Let's Hire in nearby Barnet merged with existing Herts Equipment to establish a stronger operation with a clearer future. Now it has taken another bold, but logical, decision to stop hiring tools, equipment and plant and to concentrate on the traffic management market, which it first actively began targeting in 2005.

contracts with suicidal rates in a declining market. We would look at our yard full of construction equipment, yet our traffic management products were in constant demand.”

Fellow Director Richard Soanes adds, “Logistically, it was difficult to run both fleets. Traffic management requires dedicated vehicles, with racking for signs and cages for illuminated signs, and staff have different roles, having to set up and maintain equipment and to be ready to react to emergencies. We have agreements to be on site within two hours (our current average response time is 70 minutes). Staff also provide detailed reports about any actions taken.

“We also have a great team of people within our operation, which is crucial to our success. We constantly examine what we do and how to improve. We recently appointed Chris Christophi as Braintree Depot Manager, Hannah Baker, as Depot Manager at Watford, and Paul Coppin as Area Operations Manager at Braintree. Paul was formerly with the Metropolitan Police and his traffic management planning knowledge and the level of respect he commands within the industry is invaluable.”

Traffic management requires specialist vehicles and personnel.

“Herts Equipment actually began hiring traffic lights back in 1994, but only as an adjunct to supplying other equipment to site contractors,” said Director, Chris Winfield. “We had the opportunity to establish Herts Traffic Management Services Ltd in 2005, initially based in Reigate. Paul Masters, now Operations Director, saw an opportunity for us to offer a fully managed service supplying not just kit, but also helping clients in the planning stages, and maintaining installations for roadworks, utilities and the like, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The operation developed rapidly, and traffic management was soon added at Watford. Reigate outgrew several premises before moving to its current (and recently extended) Gatwick location in 2009, the same year as a third traffic management depot was opened in Braintree, Essex, enabling coverage throughout the M25 area and beyond.

Herts Traffic Management remained a separate company until 2008, when it was absorbed into Herts Equipment, principally to simplify administration. “However, soon we began realising we should actually concentrate on traffic management. National hirers were winning


Tools and plant, which were only offered from Watford, have been phased out over the last 18 months, with the final items coming back from sites before Christmas. Much has already been sold off and the company is currently seeking a buyer for its entire fleet of mobile access towers and low-level access products, as well as the remaining small plant and power tools.

The customer base is diverse, ranging from utilities and contractors, to film and television production companies, and events. Specialist staff can be involved at each project stage, from initial site

meetings and planning to producing detailed drawings, installation

As well as delivering equipment, staff can set up and monitor it.

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