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Powered access takes the low road

A new company is looking to provide low-height access for the M&E sector powered access. By Paul Howard

A North-west powered access specialist has set up a company promising to provide M&E contractors with platforms that are targeted at their sector.

Andrew Fishburn and Stuart Honeywood, formerly of Wizard Workspace which was recently absorbed into access giant Nationwide, have acquired the UK distribution for Bravi, an Italian manufacturer of low-level powered access products.

Having conquered the construction site and become an integral part of the process of creating a building’s shell, the next step for powered access is to provide a sufficiently versatile machine to meet the needs of the M&E trades that turn this shell into a functioning building, says Mr Fishburn.

“We’re targeting the whole of the M&E sector,” Mr Fishburn explains. “Think about what effective and efficient powered access can offer to shopfitters, plumbers, painters and decorators and electricians. Electrical contractors alone are a huge -potential market.”

Mr Fishburn intends to target this market with the Leonardo Lui Mini SI, a self-propelled -machine with a working height of up to 4.9 m.

“It’s the first product about which I’ve seen get people excited in ages. There’s a gap in the market for low-level, powered access products,” he says. “You’ve got kit that needs outriggers, or that you need to push around and that is time-consuming.

“What’s more, the Leonardo only weighs 450 kg so your average shopfitter with a big van can fit all his tools and kit as well as his access platform into his van. He doesn’t have to rely on someone getting it to him at 7am.”

But Mr Fishburn thinks the majority of machines will still be sold to hire companies. “We will help hire companies tap into these markets,” he says.

Neat fit

The company is already receiving help from the ultimate clients of the M&E sector.

“We spoke to someone in a store that was being re-done by shopfitters,” he says. “Their project manager went on site and saw people using a pop-up. But they were pulling themselves along the pipework they were working on without going down to the ground to move it. The client stopped the job.”

Even the massive potential of the M&E sector does not satisfy Mr Fishburn’s appetite or his belief in the product.

“The low level access market goes everywhere from offices to nuclear power plants and food factories. The Leonardo will fit into a passenger lift and has got a roll-out deck, so it has a realistic working area.”

The company’s UK arm is based in Leeds. Stock parts are already in the country and stock machines are due in this week.