Darren Boland on Rockhard Stone’s Gehl V270
In Western Australia a contractor such as RockHard Stone Construction is by no means out of the ordinary when it uses skid steer loaders to haul and place heavy limestone blocks for retaining walls and other stone masonry work.
RockHard principal Darren Boland’s machine of preference for handling heavy limestone loads in confined spaces is a 1225kg capacity, 52.7kW Gehl V270 vertical lift skid loader acquired in 2012 from Perth dealer LiftRite Hire & SalesHire & Sales.
Boland established retaining wall and stone landscaping business RockHard in Perth’s northern beach suburb of Hillarys in the 1990s. The stone landscaping arm of the business includes the design of swimming pool surrounds, ponds, patios, terraces, courtyards, driveways, garden paths and edges.
In a niche market such as his, he believes the correct choice of equipment can be the difference between securing or losing commercial or residential contracts.
Once he had made the decision to add a new skid steer to his fleet, Boland put a lot of attention into the choice of machine.
“I started researching the options based on my primary need to lift heavy limestone blocks from a trailer onto a worksite,” he said.
“There was a good choice of machines available at the time, but the Gehl V270 loader stood out for its lifting capacity and size.”
LiftRite’s experience with the Gehl range, as a dealer since 2008, enabled it to offer solutions to almost any business application. In RockHard’s case, the customising included special tyres, a large bucket and a 9m-long extended boom.
“In my line of work, I need machines that have a certain clearance from ground level to reduce my chances of bogging in sandy soils,” Boland said.
“The standard tyres on the V270 kept it too low to the ground so LiftRite sourced a special brand of tyre which would give the machine the height boost and allow it to travel safely over sand.
“On jobs where I can’t get direct access to the back of a property, the boom is invaluable for lifting limestone blocks over premises. Most machines would just tip over with that sort of load.”
Boland’s research has since been vindicated by his subsequent successes in winning difficult contracts.
“I was contracted on a development site in Kwinana two years ago as I was one of the only businesses in Perth with a machine robust enough to lift a series of massive tree stumps that were needed for landscaping,” he said.
“I won that contract based on the Gehl … no other machine would be able to do what I achieved there.”
The machine’s speed and the capacity of the large bucket attachment to fill his trailer in half the time of a standard skid steer are important factors.
“I tend to use it on jobs where I need to bulk out and get rid of sand very quickly,” Boland said. “It allows me to get the job done fast and, as a result, my quotes come in a little bit cheaper.
“It has awesome balance, it feels good and it handles really well in the environments we go into. It’s perfect for landscaping and it does the work I need it to do very well.
“It felt like a bit of a gamble four years ago, to purchase a machine from a manufacturer that I didn’t know much about, but it’s been a perfect fit for my business.”
If you are looking for retaining walls or pool construction why not check out Rockhard Stone Construction at www.rockhardconstruction.com.au
And if you want to check out the Gehl range of Vertical and Radial lift skid steers contact the LiftRite team