Business profile: Udy Contracting

By: Cameron Officer

Business profile: Udy Contracting Business profile: Udy Contracting
Business profile: Udy Contracting Business profile: Udy Contracting
Business profile: Udy Contracting Business profile: Udy Contracting
Business profile: Udy Contracting Business profile: Udy Contracting
Business profile: Udy Contracting Bruce Udy Business profile: Udy Contracting

Specialised rail maintenance is all in a day's work for Wellington's Udy Contracting. And Hyundai's mini excavator range hits the spot for the type of challenges such projects often conjure up.

There isn't much in the way of signage outside Bruce Udy's workshop right now. That's because he and his team have recently relocated to a new Upper Hutt base and, when Deals On Wheels visits, it seems they're still settling in.

There's not much in the way of machinery on-site either, but that has nothing to do with the logistics of the move. It's just this Wellington company has a lot on the go, so most of its gear is out – some of it in some pretty remote spots.

Bruce is running a Hyundai R60CR-9 hi-rail unit which is currently working in the Manawatu Gorge and has two R80CR-9 excavators on the way. These new arrivals are currently being fitted out by Tracgrip in Palmerston North with the hi-rail gear that will make them invaluable to much of Udy Contracting's output.

"Porter Equipment with Tracgrip are fitting the hi-rail components to the machines for us as part of a one-stop package," says Bruce.

"I really like the idea of that – that you can go to one distributor and get what is some pretty specialised gear all in the one place. It works for me."

Bruce says that the hi-rail units are far more technical than they look and are in fact almost as expensive to buy as the excavators they sit under. The R60CR-9 has been a steady performer for the company for two years, with the 57hp Tier III engine giving the 5.9-tonne mini excavator ample power for the sort of work required of it.

"The new R80CR-9s will up the ante a bit in terms of power and tonnage, but we wouldn't go much beyond what the dimensions of these machines offer.

"The reason we opt for smaller machines for rail network maintenance is that they remain powerful enough to shift dirt when we need them to, but they're also compact enough to work in what can a lot of the time be pretty narrow or confined working environments."

Udy Contracting was formed in 2004 after Bruce returned from a spell working in the Western Australian mines. In addition to specialised rail line and bridge maintenance, Bruce and his growing team also undertake general earthmoving and civil construction, drain laying and trenching, as well as demolition and site clearance work.

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"It's important to be able to offer a range of disciplines. You simply won't survive as a construction company these days if you and your staff aren't prepared to take on all manner of work. In order to do that successfully though, you need the right gear."

But it's clear from chatting to Bruce that he really enjoys the rail work.

Udy Contracting has been specialising in such projects for some years now and have completed rail work all over the lower North Island. Bridge resleepering and signals upgrade work in the region are two of the more urban assignments they've also completed.

"Every contractor wants a reliable machine," says Bruce. "I suppose the idea that you have something you know is going to do what's expected of it is especially strong when you're out in the middle of nowhere."

With rail maintenance work comes some pretty intense logistical compromises. Work has to be completed around scheduled freight services; the crew have to have everything they need to complete the job at their disposal on-site (there's no rushing back to the yard for a forgotten piece of kit when you're in the middle of the bush); and more often than not, wherever the Udy Contracting team accesses the line isn't where the actual work site is – a hi-rail trip of several kilometres might then be required.

"Obviously we make sure any field work on the rail network is really well planned. That includes regular maintenance of our mobile plant with safety being of utmost importance."

Porter Equipment's ability to provide technical support to Udy Contracting in the field – no matter where they might be working – is one thing. But machinery aside, people still count for a lot too.

"Josh Hunter from Porters has been fantastic to deal with," says Bruce. "He really knows his stuff and he understands what we need from any gear we get through them. He understands the core nature of our business and that's really important."

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