Infrastructure support service leader Amey put safety first when ordering a fleet of 3.5-tonne tippers for highways maintenance duties in Gloucestershire. Based on Citroën chassis, they were built by new supplier Bevan Specialist Products and are specified with its innovative Safe-T-Drop system, which is designed to eliminate any risk of a fall from height by operatives working on the vehicle bed.
The patented Safe-T-Drop rails can be easily folded away for loading and unloading, and are strong enough to withstand impacts from other vehicles such as fork-lifts. Raising the dropsides is also quick and simple. They can only be closed with the Safe-T-Drop rails in place, ensuring correct use of the rails at all times.
In addition to their tipping bodies, the 16 new vehicles have storage lockers immediately behind the cabs and 250kg capacity SwingLift miniloader cranes by Penny Hydraulics.
Amey began work on its Gloucestershire County Council highway and transport services contract in the spring of 2014. Under the five-year agreement, which could be extended by a further six years, Amey is responsible for maintaining a 10,000km network of roads, as well as providing winter services and delivering highway improvement schemes.
Meanwhile, Bevan Specialist Products has supplied Amey with a further 19 Renault 3.5-tonners. These are all dropsiders and also fitted with Safe-T-Drop systems. Twelve are traffic management vehicles with rear-mounted light boards. They wear a Highways England livery and are used to assist with mobile – as opposed to static – lane closures, which minimise disruption to traffic.
The remaining seven are based in Scotland, where they are assigned to Amey’s Forth Road Bridge project. Three are short-bodied mobile workstations, tool pods and, in one case, a welding plant. Two, which also have short bodies, are fitted with rear-mounted HMF cranes and used for bridge maintenance, and the remaining couple have longer bodies for carrying scaffold equipment.
Bevan Specialist Products operates from a factory in Stone, Staffordshire, and has just celebrated its first anniversary, following the acquisition by its multi-faceted parent, the West Midlands-based Bevan Group, of the former Stag Bodies. It has grown strongly in the last 12 months, and, with a move to new, bigger premises on the cards, is projected to double in size over the next two years.
Their relationship is still a relatively new one but Bevan is now firmly established as an approved supplier to Amey, and also currently working on orders from its high-profile customer for several 7.2-tonne Ivecos, including more highways maintenance units and caged tippers that will be used for street cleansing on the Isle of Wight.
Jason Clement, Procurement Co-ordinator at Amey, confirms: “We’ve been impressed by Bevan’s all-round package, which includes its service as well as the vehicles themselves.
“Bevan’s build quality is very good, of course, and its pricing keen. Quotes are invariably turned around very rapidly but are also thorough and ‘to the brief’, while the bodybuilder’s Bevan Passport scheme is a brilliant in assisting us to secure Individual Type Approvals on our vehicles with minimum of hassle.”
Turning to the Safe-T-Drop system on its new vehicles, Mr Clement continues: “Bevan Group Sales Director Roy Shelton is very proactive in suggesting ways in which we might improve the specification of our vehicles.
“Safe-T-Drop is a great case in point. In the past, with other systems, operatives might have mislaid safety rails while working on sites. The Safe-T-Drop rails, by contrast, are permanently fixed to the vehicle, so it’s not possible to lose them. This means that whenever and wherever they are, our Bevan-built tippers always meet our stringent health and safety standards.”