Home | News › Watson & Hillhouse and the UK piling industry
Watson & Hillhouse and the UK piling industryA brief evolution of a highly successful PVE dealer
It takes ‘a lot’ to be at the very forefront of the piling industry. Especially if you are based in the UK with a very competitive hire market and rental rates that are amongst the lowest in Europe. When W&H started its business in 1972, there were just 2 competitors. A brief evolution of a highly successful dealer.Hire & sell, used & new
Founded by Robin Watson and John Hillhouse “the initial main activity of the company was the hire of air hammers and diesel hammers”, says Phillip Bell, managing director of W&H. “In order to keep the hire fleet modern and up to date, we started to sell off our older equipment and replaced it with new state of the art piling equipment. This is embedded in our strong belief in differentiation, keeping ourselves ahead of our competitors by continuous focus on our core principles: providing high quality state of the art piling equipment backed by a first class service which we believe is second to none.”
Engineering training program
In the early 1980’s, W&H began an engineering training program, employing school leavers on a 5 year scheme, covering all aspects of mechanical engineering, hydraulics, electrics and electronics, graduating as specialist technicians. Bell: “I was one of the first trainees, straight from school at the age of 16, starting as a trainee hire manager at W&H. The program has continued to this very day and offers great opportunities for young people to develop enhanced engineering skills and knowledge of the business.”
This people’s investment has contributed hugely to the success of W&H. The company has been recognized by the UK governments training board CITB as a training house for pile pressing machine operators.
As part of the W&H training program, all trainees will visit PVE for specialist product training. It began in 1989 when W&H became Dieseko’s first ever dealer in the UK for PVE piling vibrators. Bell: “we started to replace our existing fleet of vibrators with PVE units. When the variable moment technology was introduced, we invested in VM vibro’s promoting their low vibration benefits. These VM vibro’s now account for 60% of our hire fleet.” Free hanging vibrators are used for extraction works, marine projects or in areas where it is not possible to use a piling rig. Hydraulic drop hammers are used to final drive piles into harder soils. Bell: “There will always be a need for both vibratory and impact types as the soil conditions across the UK vary considerably.”Mutual successes
The close relationship between Dieseko PVE and W&H has led to many mutual successes; W&H in supplying high performing and reliable PVE vibrators while PVE benefited from W&H’s overseas sales business. Bell: “We share the same core values: having good products, good ethos, great people and continue in training and investing in those people. That’s why both companies are still at the forefront of this industry for 4 decades now!”About W&H
Watson & Hillhouse provides the most comprehensive range of high quality piling equipment in the UK and Ireland, including the brands PVE and Kowan Still Worker. Its policy of large stocks of spares and continual replacement makes plant available for virtually any requirement, regardless new, used or hire. W&H serves the market through its head office and yard in Ipswich Suffolk and an additional Northern depot in Warrington.About Phillip Bell
Phillip Bell joined W&H in 1980 as trainee hire manager. He subsequently progressed to depot manager, sales and marketing manager/director and since 2004 managing director and shareholder. Bell studied Business and Marketing at University College Suffolk.
More info at www.w-h.co.uk