Contactor profile: Renshaw Civil Ltd

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Supplied

With a ‘can-do’ attitude and absolute confidence in the machinery they use, Renshaw Civil Ltd is looking forward to a busy and successful year ahead

A gully muck out with the SK75

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m ably reminded of that fact when I ask Renshaw Civil Ltd’s Anthony Renshaw what a typical job for his company might look like. He answers by showing me a few photos on his phone taken at various worksites around the Greater Wellington region, and the photos really do say it all.

Renshaw Civil Ltd often goes were other contractors fear to tread

If it’s steep terrain and site access is challenging, then that’s absolute catnip for this Kapiti-based company.

"I love that sort of work," enthuses Anthony. "It’s good to be challenged, and we love creating something great out of a tough site. We tackle the sorts of earthworks jobs that I reckon other contractors wouldn’t want to do, but that’s alright by us."

If site access is an issue, Anthony says it’s all part of the challenge to be solved

Anthony went out on his own in 2017, although, the Renshaw name will be a familiar one to anyone in the Lower North Island. Dad Richard has been in the contracting and timber milling games for decades, while brother Daniel heads up Daniel Renshaw Drainage Ltd and is taking on bigger and bigger projects in his own right.

Combining talents and tools, this wider family affair can take care of pretty much any aspect of civil construction. Anthony says a few recent jobs have included a 500 cubic metre cut and fill on a 45-degree slope ("River boulders mixed with clay—real hard yakka," says Anthony), and earthworks jobs for the Porirua City Council, including site prep for emergency water storage tanks.

Prior to catching up with Deals on Wheels, his previous few days have been spent mucking out 300 cubic metres from a remote gully up off Akatarawa Road near Reikorangi (between Upper Hutt and Waikanae). "That’s exactly the sort of job I love—plenty to get on with and no reception, so my mobile’s not going 24/7!" he laughs.

The fleet

The Kobelco gets airborne momentarily

The Renshaw Civil Ltd machine fleet is sized to suit the sort of jobs Anthony is tasked with on a weekly basis. It’s a delicate balancing act: machine sizes that work well within the tight urban confines of a suburban dig-out but that also boast plenty of grunt for bigger jobs in the bush.

A typical suburban job for the Renshaw Civil Ltd team

"Our machines are on the smaller side; we have run two- and three-tonners traditionally, as these are a good size for the sort of work we do. Sometimes we need bigger gear though, which is why I also lease a Kobelco SK75.

In fact, my goal this year is to buy a 7.8-tonne Kobelco outright, as the larger machine is coming in handy a fair bit. In the meantime, if I need to go bigger, Dad’s operation runs a 20-tonner; that’s the beauty of us all working together with our separate businesses. We can fill any gaps in what machinery is needed depending on the job."

One of Renshaw Civil’s "telephone boxes" in the field

Among his other equipment, which includes two three-tonne Hitachi Zaxis mini diggers—that he cheekily refers to as the ‘Telephone Boxes’—and a Bobcat T190 skid steer, Anthony says his 3.7-tonne Kobelco SK30SR Aircab fills the sweet spot and underlines the reasons why he says he’d find it a hard ask buying anything from any other manufacturer.

The confines of tight Wellington job sites are no problem for the company’s mini excavators

"The SK30 is so smooth to use. It’s not super-fast, but it delivers its power consistently and predictably, and it’s comfortable to spend the day at the controls too. For a little machine, it has great air conditioning, and you’re also shut off from the engine noise nicely inside the cab."

Anthony Renshaw reckons his 3.7T Kobelco SK30SR Aircab hits the sweet spot

Anthony says the Kobelco SK30SR has a great blade design, and the short tail swing makes it perfect for working down the sides of houses in town, or on bush-clad sections where overgrowth can often shrink the job site parameters.

Thanks to a 700mm extension to the deck of Renshaw Civil Ltd’s Fuso Canter 816, the excavator fits snuggly into the back of the truck, too. Machine benefits aside, brand loyalty is so often built around what happens beyond the point of purchase, and that’s definitely the case for Anthony and his enthusiasm for machinery from the Texas manufacturer.

"Mimico in Paraparaumu are absolutely top-notch; they really look after their Kobelco customers. Phil Collins and his team there are always great to deal with and nothing’s ever a problem.

"The same can be said for Dan Beavis from Keith Andrews who look after our Fuso," he adds. "They offer great service behind a great truck. I’ll stick with that brand when I upgrade to the bigger excavator too."

Anthony also namechecks Doughty Buckets from Tauranga as another supplier offering up next-level performance for the tasks he is faced with. "They’re the best out there I reckon," he says. "You pay a bit more, but you get a bloody impressive product that’s going to last the distance as a result."

Expansion plans

Anthony says that as part of his expansion plans, he would eventually like to have two crews working across the Lower North with five solid days of work for each crew every week. In order to cater for the Kobelco SK75 he plans on purchasing, he’ll also look to add to the company truck fleet accordingly.

"We’ll probably upgrade to a 10-yarder (six-wheeler) with a tilt deck, just to make machine movements easier. The six-yarder (four-wheeler) will still be handy for those tighter city jobs, although digging out 80 or 100 cubic metres with a five-tonne truck is pretty hard going," he says.

Happy to have the "crap weather" and second national lockdown of 2021 behind him, it’s fair to say Anthony is optimistic about the opportunities 2022 will present Renshaw Civil Ltd.

"We have a fair bit of momentum now. There’s plenty of work out there around the Wellington and Kapiti regions, and we’re not afraid to tackle the harder stuff. We also have some great people that we work alongside—sales reps that actually care about your business. That makes all the difference to me."

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