Preston Rentals brings retractable loading platform system to Canada
By Andrew Snook
By Andrew Snook
A well-known and respected rental company has opened in Canada, expanding their global operations further into North America.
Their arrival has already made an impact improving efficiencies and safety on construction projects across Canada.
For more than 50 years, Preston Rentals Group has been supplying equipment to the construction sector. The business began in the scaffolding and steel industry before getting into services related to building materials handling and introducing the globally recognized and used SuperDeck Retractable Loading Platform System. These unique loading platforms were introduced in Australia about 25 years ago, but only recently arrived in Canada.
“The Preston SuperDeck system has been used throughout Australia for decades before later expanding into the U.S. in the mid-2000s, then into New Zealand around 2016, and started arriving in Canada in 2020,” said Mark Casey, general manager for Preston Rentals Canadian operations headquartered in Vancouver.
“It’s caught on quickly with some major players. Because there’s such a big market in Canada, it made sense to make a Canadian entity, rather than get equipment in from U.S.”
The SuperDeck system are designed for quick installation and relocation, taking about 15 minutes to install, which is significant time savings compared to many conventional outrigger loading platforms, Casey said.
The load reactions are distributed vertically as the SuperDeck system is an integral part of the building, which creates one self-supporting structure. Each floor supports the other floors. These units allow for minimized crane movement as materials are delivered to one point on the building. This allows for improved labour efficiencies for crane crews, riggers and ironworkers. It also allows for safer and quicker loading and unloading of materials.
The SuperDeck platforms vary in size from 2.2 metres, 2.6 metres, 3.2 metres and 4.2 metres-wide, allowing for a range of bulky materials to be deposited safely. The maximum capacity range for SuperDeck range from 2.5 tonnes to 5 tonnes.
“The reason for the different sizes is to accommodate different clients on different projects. It offers an advantage because we can give a client a 4.2-metre platform on one site, and then another client might only need a 2.2-metre platform, because they’re working on a smaller building or maybe a ship. It just gives them variety,” Casey said.
Preston Rentals chose to offer these units on a rental basis instead of purchase to ensure they could provide their clients with the right equipment for every project.
“We provide the flexibility of giving our clients the right product every time,” Casey said. “The cost to purchase and maintain the equipment is all on us. Inspections are all done in our yard. There’s no guessing, we do a full pre-delivery and return checklist for every SuperDeck to ensure quality, safety and reliability is always delivered.”
The SuperDecks have been used on a wide variety of projects including building towers, ships, underground tunnels, reinforced concrete buildings, structural steel buildings, mass timber and CLT buildings.
“On any construction site we can put these platforms in,” Casey said. “For us, it’s all about making things safer and more efficient for our clients so they get more productivity out of their equipment and workers.”
The units are designed to be simple to understand so training is as efficient as possible.
“Training is very minimal. You’re probably looking at 30 minutes of training then they know the ins and outs of the decks,” Casey said.
They feature multiple safety features including adjustable ramps, locking systems within the decks and harness anchor points.
Casey explained riggers are particularly fond of the SuperDecks.
“The feedback from the guys on the ground is they love them,” he said. “They take them 15 minutes to install compared to an hour for a conventional outrigger loading platform. When time is money, this is a significant benefit.”
Preston Rentals goes coast to coast
Casey added Preston Rentals is ready to service all sizes of clients.
“Big or small, we service everyone. We currently have clients in B.C., including Vancouver Island, Alberta and Ontario, and we’re getting interest as far away as Newfoundland. We’re literally going coast to coast,” he said.
One of the driving factors for bringing these outrigger loading platforms to Canada was to help change the way the industry views its material handling procedures.
“We’re just trying to change the way the industry is thinking about its material handling and provide them with a better option then what’s out there. We’re all about innovation and solutions for whatever our clients throw at us,” Casey said.