Company of the year 2022

Direct Hoist has done it again. For the second year in succession, the high-flying construction hoist sales and hire specialist has scooped the coveted Building and Construction Review company of the year trophy. What a result!

The award stems from a relentless 12 months of evolution; a constant commitment to staff development and unrivalled attitude towards impeccable safety standards. Direct Hoist’s rise to the top has placed the midlands-based firm at the forefront of construction hoist technology, bringing innovative Italian Electroelsa machinery to the British market and establishing the foundations of an accredited training facility at its Lincolnshire headquarters.

Rob Wilson, Direct Hoist’s managing director, is keen to ensure customers can benefit from his firm’s growth by gaining access to not just a wider range of products but a one-stop shop for planning, supply and tuition for the use of construction hoists.

Rob says, “We’ve been in this industry for more than 30 years, working face-to-face with valued clients. This means we intuitively know exactly what each customer needs for every project – how to make life easier, saving time and construction costs. In turn, they can trust our experience and advice to be the absolute best.”

So confident is Rob that Direct Hoist offers the best packages, his company gives free advice and site surveys; crucially, his team assesses what might be needed later in the scheme to ensure the right equipment is provided from the outset.

For many years, Direct Hoist has specialised in high-quality German GEDA equipment, and boasts a healthy fleet of modern, expertly-maintained machines always available for hire. But to keep ahead of competitors – and to ensure customers receive the best choice – Direct Hoist last year became UK distributor for Electroelsa, an Italian manufacturer of mast-climbing work platforms (MCWPs), transport platforms, material hoists and construction hoists.

Rob says, “Electroelsa is implementing a wide range of technological innovations, which we’re excited to introduce to the British construction industry. We’re currently supplying an Electroelsa 3×1.2m platform for a large development in Lincoln. We’re adapting the entire Electroelsa range for the rigours of the British rental market, where we’re enhancing components for longevity during intense usage – it’s vital to minimise downtime on-site, while maintaining efficiency, cost and ease of use.”

Electroelsa is a market-leader in safety, boasting an independent overspeed device (OSD) that intervenes by locking the platform if it descends at an excessive speed, along with an automatic safety system to protect the machine from being overloaded. Electroelsa machines also benefit from high-tech computer control, including SIM technology with data-logging; it features a self-diagnostic function to remotely relate to Direct Hoist any problems, wherever it is in the world.

“We can save countless man-hours by quickly solving issues without even visiting the site,” says Rob. “We can programme a hoist to restrict or enable users, and we can turn it off remotely in the event of emergency or theft – or even non-payment…”

Direct Hoist has recently invested in expansion and redevelopment of its site to include vastly greater storage areas, bigger offices and a bespoke teaching centre. Here, candidates will be trained to reach NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) Level 2 standard in hoist installation. A two-day session will be offered for experienced people, while a week-long course is available for a more comprehensive understanding of erecting and dismantling different types of construction hoist.

As well as a new classroom, Direct Hoist’s facility includes a 10m training tower, capable of transporting a two-tonne platform hoist to full height. Candidates are taught the theory and practical elements of assembly and disassembly of various lifts, including GEDA 300, 500 and 2000 units.

Direct Hoist’s fully-qualified trainers place keen emphasis on safety, to ensure installers understand the essentials of keeping themselves and others away from risk. Only then will they be deemed competent.

The firm has partnered with a specialist training provider to supply NVQ accreditation. So, at the end of each course, students are examined by an external assessor before they can receive a certificate, which will be recognised on most building sites.

Rob says, “You may also need a CSCS card on some sites, but our Level 2 NVQ is the most suitable grounding for applicants looking to work on or around construction hoists.” In fact, Direct Hoist is also actively recruiting apprentices, as well as experienced hoist technicians, so a vocational course is the perfect opportunity to start learning.

Rob continues, “We’re expecting to run two courses per month, starting in February. And then we have more programmes on the horizon, including electrical safety and working at heights.

“The Direct Hoist Group is also in the process of launching a plant hire department – mini diggers, dumpers, excavators and such like – again to give our clients better and easier access to the machinery they need.”

By then, Direct Hoist will be ready to open a new depot in Birmingham – another step on this impressive firm’s flight to the top. No wonder we’ve yet again named it company of the year.

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