Porter Press Extra: Sayer Drainage Ltd

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer


With multiple earthworks projects on the go in a variety of locations, Tony Sayer of Sayer Drainage Ltd looks to Porter Equipment machinery and back-up support to be equal to the task

When Deals On Wheels last caught up with Hamilton’s Tony Sayer of Sayer Drainage Ltd in 2015, he was busy at work on a subdivision project on the outskirts of Pukekohe.

Back then, he had four Hyundai excavators in his fleet and the reason we were on his doorstep was to see his most recently purchased machine, a Hyundai R210C-9.

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Sayer Drainage has recently commenced work on a large subdivision near Ngaruawahia

Four years on, Tony says the big 21-tonner hasn’t missed a beat. In fact, his Porter Equipment-supplied machine fleet has proven so reliable, the company has invested further in both Hyundai excavation and BOMAG compaction hardware. He now has eight machines supplied by Porter Equipment.

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is just how busy Tony and his team are. Actually, not only has the machine fleet doubled, the staff roster nearly has, too.

"We have men and machinery on six sites right now, and about 40 staff," he tells me when we catch up at Sayer Drainage’s latest undertaking, a new subdivision project near Ngaruawahia.

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Tony Sayer in front of his new BOMAG BW100 ADM tandem roller

"We’re still very much Waikato and Auckland based. We have a full-time team up in Mangere working on industrial projects, as well as between one and two crews on the Huntly Bypass project.

"We are also working on a major drainage project to supply water, stormwater and wastewater pipelines to service the Rangitahi Peninsula development for Fulton Hogan at Raglan.

"It’s fair to say we’re chock-a-block and will remain so for the next couple of years."

It doesn’t stop there, though. Tony’s firm remains the preferred drainage contractor for many North Island Fonterra operations. Every winter, Sayer Drainage completes wastewater upgrades and water-mains maintenance work for the dairy giant. It’s hard work that has to be completed within a very tight window of opportunity, during the short shut-down phase.

"The work is incredibly intense, so we certainly do some long hours," says Tony. With all this going on, it’s not surprising that machine reliability is at front of mind. Tony says that Porter Equipment provides an excellent back-up support service where it’s needed, extending the relationship well beyond the actual purchase of the machine.

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We first met this particular Hyundai R210LC-9 in 2015, when it was brand new. It hasn’t missed a beat since

"Not only is the back-up that Porters give us really good, but the machines are very good, too. They work consistently well and don’t give us any dramas whatsoever. Both BOMAG and Hyundai gear are bulletproof and offer great bang for your buck. The Hyundai diggers aren’t lacking for anything over higher-priced machines and come specified for our conditions as part of the package, too. You can’t argue with that."

While the Hyundai R210LC-9 and a more recently purchased Hyundai R160LC-9 are busy laying pipe as part of the initial groundwork at the Ngaruawahia subdivision (the team have been on-site for only a week or two when we catch up with them), Sayer Drainage’s latest acquisition retains its showroom shine on a tandem trailer (which Porter Equipment also supplied as part of a package).

Of course, such is the speed with which Tony’s company works, the compact BOMAG BW100 ADM tandem roller won’t remain on the trailer – or pristine – for long.

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The BOMAG BW138 AD was bought a couple of years ago and has proven to be a good investment

"We purchased a larger BOMAG BW138 AD a couple of years ago and it has been brilliant. The nature of subdivision work, though, means that as the project rolls on, the working space you’re putting machinery into gets more and more restricted.

"The little BOMAG will be a great finishing machine for all those tighter spots we have to complete. The fact that BOMAG machines give us German technology, and Porter Equipment ensures a great supply of parts locally, means that it’s a good investment for us."

The speed with which the work has to happen is impressive. But then so is the speed of change in the Waikato District. Sayer Drainage has plenty of subdivision experience, having completed work at the large St Kilda development in Cambridge before commencing work at Ngaruawahia. The latest subdivision is equally large, with multiple lots to be built over several stages.

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As it says on the sign, placing pipe is a Sayer Drainage specialty

Tony reminds me of one of the reasons he initially went to Porter Equipment, back when his machine fleet was smaller.

"A machine from another brand that we run needed $20,000 worth of extra kit added to it after we took delivery, simply because it didn’t come with the option of getting all the safety equipment added at a distributor level. Not only was that an extra cost, but it was extra downtime for the machine.

"When we order a digger through Porters, we know it’s going to arrive on-site with everything we specify for it, whether that be forestry grilles, anti-drop valves, or ROPs – this sort of stuff is vital for us, to have our guys working safely, and is part of the package.

"I really think Porter Equipment is ahead of the game as far as this sort of stuff goes," says Tony.

"We’re moving pretty fast all the time, so having a distributor that can keep the pace is pretty important."

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