When Concrete4U joined the Batched on Site Association it was as a way of meeting other operators, learning and sharing best practice and operating to a higher standard. As we have a fleet of tippers, our volumetric vehicles were already going through routine inspections and MOTs and all our drivers had class 2 licences. Signing the BSA Industry Charter, therefore, was more about signing up to continue to operate in this responsible way.
BSI accreditation then became our next goal. Working with a technical consultant and using our own concrete knowledge, combined with our routine testing and quality controls, we successfully achieved the accreditation. Achieving the accreditation felt like such a milestone for the business and has allowed us to expand into new market sectors.
With the business going from strength to strength, the Department for Transport (DfT) announcement regarding volumetric weights came as a real blow. We campaigned hard, our MD Kevin Parker travelling to Parliament with the BSA to represent our industry and share his experience and knowledge, drawing specific attention to the financial implications of such a change.
As all operators know, sadly the decision to change the weight limit came into force in September 2018.
Our vehicles already complied with the road worthiness testing and our drivers switched to EU driving rules. The volumetric fleet was added to the operator’s licence.
Since September we have made some changes to the way we operate to try and ensure we continue to honour the industry charter and maintain our reputation as a responsible operator. We weigh all our volumetric vehicles as they leave the quarry to ensure we comply with the weight limits now in place. The result of this change has reduced our capacity per load from 10m3 to circa 8m3 as the vehicles operate under a VSO.
We hold ourselves to the highest standards and aim to guarantee our customers excellent service and quality, it is disheartening to hear customers tell us another supplier can still supply 10m3 per load as it clearly demonstrates they are either travelling over-weight or under yielding on their concrete and short measuring customers, both of which practices do nothing to support our industry in the drive to show the DfT and customers we are able to operate on a professional level. Sadly ‘cowboys’ still operate and damage the reputation of the whole sector by behaving irresponsibly.
At Concrete4U, we have the advantage of an on-site weighbridge and we record our weights both on the weighbridge and in the cab ensuring we never go out above the legal limit. We also ensure our drivers operate to EU rules and download tacho cards on a weekly basis. By being clever with our distribution and working with our customers we are able to offer our customers the same level of service and quality of concrete they expect from us. We hope that by operating responsibly, within the law and to the BSA charter we can increase the reputation of volumetric vehicles and operators.