Travelling around the country and talking to all our customers, I think it’s fair to say that the UK Construction Industry is enjoying something of a purple patch, particularly house building.

Building sites are full steam ahead and with more and more projects coming on stream, many businesses have got more forward visibility than they’ve had for a long time with order books already filled for anything up to 12 months ahead.

This is fantastic news for an industry that was very much at the sharp end of the downturn and one that felt the pain of the recession in many ways, harder than any other sector.
Strong Growth

But periods of strong growth also bring their own challenges, chief amongst which is finding enough resource to do the work that you’ve got on. Whereas the challenge 2 years ago might have been to simply pay the wages, now it’s a case of finding enough men with the right skills to be able to actually get the job done.
Plant Hire

Finding enough of the right kit is also starting to become difficult. With so many contracts on the go, there has been a huge demand for the plant and equipment needed on site. In many cases, contractors don’t want to buy the equipment so they will hire it from one of the hundreds of Plant Hire Companies around the country. Because of this, Plant Hirers have rarely been busier than they are at the moment which is also good news – but they still need to keep their wits about them!

With contractors working on sites up and down the country, plant hirers are getting calls from people they’ve not dealt with before who might be from out of the area wanting plant hire. This is where you need to keep your wits about you….

When you’re working flat out, this is sometimes the time when you might skip a bit of detail or miss something that you would normally notice, simply because you’ve got so many balls in the air. This is what the potential fraudulent hirer – Thief, is hoping for.

Pretending to be a contractor from out of the area he will present himself very plausibly as a business that has secured a job in your area and needs to hire some kit. He might give you a credit card for the first plant hire and all goes well. He might even return the mini digger that he hired for a week. This time he wants 3 tonner and a dumper for a week, perhaps you’ll even give him an account now because he seems kosher. He might even pay the account on time and return the digger and dumper.

‘The job’s going well now’ and this time he wants a 13 tonner, a telehandler and a 6 tonne dumper for 8 weeks. ‘No problem’ and customer collects the kit from your yard. The first months plant hire is invoiced on account but it’s a week late being paid so you chase it up but there’s no reply. After some more ringing round, you realise that you can’t get in touch with the guy and alarm bells start to ring….

Cutting a long and painful story short, the kit is long gone and has probably been overseas for more than a month with the only hope of getting it back being the tracking devices that you fitted. With the kit having been gone for so long, the thief has had plenty of time to try and find the tracker and it’s now disconnected and won’t activate.

To add insult to injury, the invoice will never be paid either…
Plant Hire Fraud

Theft by fraud or deception is becoming more and more common, driven by the fact that manufacturers are making plant harder to steal by fitting high quality security devices as standard. Thieves can be quite clever and they realise that when you’re really busy, they might be able to sneak through the usual checks and con a plant hirer into giving them the keys to the machines that they will eventually steal.

Don’t let the busy time that the industry in enjoying at the moment make you become a victim of crime and fraud. Keep vigilant and don’t get caught out by fraudulent plant hire.