Tim Smith, Commercial Property Manager at Greendale business park (left) with Ryan Dobson, Exeter Depot Manager at Ainscough (right)

Ainscough Crane Hire, the UK’s leading crane hire company, has opened its 30th depot in the UK, in Exeter. The new one-acre site on Greendale Business Park will be in operation from 1st December 2013.

Mark James, Southern Operational Manager at Ainscough said: “We have been looking to expand in the South West, and are very pleased to have a home in Exeter. The new depot will help our growing customer base and also to take some of the dependency away from Bristol and Plymouth, which have been jointly supporting the area from a distance. Customers in the Exeter area can benefit from a more proactive and localised approach with easier access to our fleet.”

Greendale Business Park hosts a variety of other businesses including FedEx and DHL Express.  The site, which will hold approximately 12 cranes, is Ainscough’s third depot in the South West. The new depot is in addition to its Bristol and Plymouth sites.

Gareth Jones, Commercial Director at Ainscough said: “We are extremely proud to be able to open our 30th depot. This milestone outlines our commitment to customers and our determination to remain the UK’s leading crane hire company.”

Headquartered in Wigan, Ainscough Crane Hire is the largest lifting service company in the UK, now with 30 strategic locations spanning the UK from Aberdeen to Plymouth.


Ainscough Crane Hire, the UK’s leading crane hire company, has recently completed a Halloween stunt that involved suspending a giant pumpkin 150ft in the air and dropping it onto the floor below in front of a crowd of hundreds.

The event was held at the University of Bristol as part of a family fun weekend hosted by resident artist Melanie Jackson. Along with the main event that saw the 150cm diameter pumpkin being smashed, there were various other activities to get involved with such as jack-o-lantern making and vegetable sculpturing.

Ainscough’s Regional Operations Manager, Mark James, said: “This has been a very interesting project from start to finish and we are pleased to be involved with the activities at the University. We took notice from an American company who have done several of these drops, and our thanks to Jason White at “Unusual Rigging” for assisting us with the automatic release mechanism. All credit to our supervisor Mike Wools who certainly felt the weight of expectation of the crowd but the stunt was a great success.”

The crane used during the event was Ainscough’s 75 tonne Liebherr’s. The crane was positioned to ensure a sufficient ‘splat radius’ to protect spectators from low-flying pieces of pumpkin!

Talented artist Melanie Jackson, designed the event as part of her residency at the University of Bristol, where she has been exploring the work and ideology of space alongside the Biological Science Department.

The pumpkin stunt was coordinated by VINCI Construction.

Penarth Learning Community construction hits the top spot

Ainscough Crane Hire swung by Penarth Learning Community to take part in a traditional topping out ceremony on Wednesday 18th September, celebrating the school’s construction reaching its highest point. The medieval ritual required a 40-tonne Liebherr to lift a yew tree to the top of the new combined mainstream and SEN (special educational needs) school building.

The £39.4 million project will create two new schools in a single building on the site of St Cyres School in Penarth. The project will provide facilities for the mainstream comprehensive school, and will also create a new SEN school, Ysgol y Deri. The new SEN school will accommodate pupils from three others in the area: Ysgol Erw’r Delyn, Ysgol Maes Dyfan and Ashgrove School.

Jane Wade, Operations Manager Property for Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “This is a very exciting project for the Vale of Glamorgan Council and forms an important part of the council’s 21st century schools programme. The topping out marks an important date in the progress of the project, which not only provides state of the art facilities for the schools but also for the whole community.”

Ainscough’s Cardiff Depot Manager Darren Williams added: “While we’ve completed thousands of lifts in our time, the topping out of Penarth Learning Community was certainly a unique experience. It was a pleasure to be involved with the enthusiastic staff and pupils of this wonderful school, and the ceremony marks an exciting new chapter for the community.”

Huw Lewis AM, Minister for Education and Skills, and representatives from the construction team attended the ceremony. Also in attendance was Rob Bradley, Managing Director of Leadbitter and Bouygues UK’s Western team, which is building the new schools.

Mr Bradley said: “The topping out marks an important milestone in construction, which is progressing very well. We are working closely with the Vale of Glamorgan and teachers, governors, pupils and parents from all four schools, as well as the local community, throughout the project. This will help ensure the new schools will provide the best possible education, social welfare and healthcare for all pupils.”

Cranes Today – Petrochemicals

We spoke to Cranes Today Magazine about our work in the petrochemicals sector. Below is a copy of how the conversation went:

What cranes are typically being used by Ainscough on refinery work?

We use a full range of cranes from low capacity 15t industrial up to 500t heavy mobile cranes. It all depends on the type of work

What type of projects are taking place at the moment? What major maintenance jobs are you carrying out?

The work is relatively consistent year on year, we have a number of cranes sited permanently on refineries and undertake a number of shutdowns every year where part of the production is closed down whilst the plants undergo major component replacement.

How is the rental business linked to petrochemicals? is it a good area for growth currently?

The mobile crane rental business is intrinsically linked to petrochemicals due to the almost continuous need for lifting services on site. The refining sector is not experiencing much growth in the UK and Petroplus Coryton closed last year. In line with this, demand for crane services in the sector is relatively unchanging.

What are the differences you’re witnessing across different geographies?

There aren’t any significant differences across the UK.

How are lifts changing? Is it a question of capacity increasing or are there other changes?

As larger capacity cranes are developed, heavier components may be utilised. This is the same across other sectors of our business; evolution not revolution.

What challenges do older refineries pose?

There may be more challenging access/ egress issues; but the challenges are generally similar to those on general construction or infrastructure lifts.

In terms of safety, what are Ainscough doing in relation to petrochemicals, in particular it would be good if you have any information on the company’s work the Shell certificate training for drivers.

All our drivers go through a thorough site induction before commencing work at a refinery. We have a regular presence on all the refineries we serve throughout the year and hold regular safety meetings and work to solid safety initiatives. We have a permanent safety representative on site during shutdowns.

Excepts from the above appeared in the July 2013 edition of Cranes Today. Back copies can be downloaded from


In honour of the Royal Baby, we thought that a fitting tribute would be to name one of our newest machines after Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. Here’s hoping that it will inspire a generation of crane operators!

New Managing Director at Ainscough

Ainscough Crane Hire Limited has announced the appointment of Robin Richardson as its new managing director.

The appointment follows the decision of Neil Partridge to retire.

Robin joins the business with extensive sales and operations experience gained inboth a capital equipment and rental environment. Prior to joining Ainscough, Robin held several senior positions with Avery Weigh-Tronix and most recently Aggreko, the generator rental company where he was Managing Director for Northern Europe.

Commenting on his retirement, Neil said: “I have enjoyed my time within the business and over the course of the last 18 years have formed some strong alliances and relationships with both customers and employees. I am pleased someone of Robin’s experience and background is taking on the role, and I wish Robin and the team at Ainscough every success for the future.”

Responding to Neil’s closing comments Robin added: “Ainscough is a fantastic business with a strong brand and market presence. I am both pleased and proud to be taking on the challenge and look forward to working with the team as we embark on the next exciting phase of our story.”

Ainscough gets heavy with MAN

Crane hire and contract lifting specialist, Ainscough Crane Hire, has bolstered its MAN heavy haulage fleet with two new 150 tonne TGX 26.540 6×4 tractor units with XLX cabs. The company made the acquisition through MAN Financial Services on a seven-year Lease Finance package. This latest delivery, which incorporates the company’s new livery, takes Aincough’s MAN fleet to 40 with an additional two on order.

In addition, due to an increase in operational requirements, Ainscough has extended the use of two existing MANs which were due for return.

Service and maitenance is carried out by local MAN dealer, Steadplan, based in Clitheroe, which the company says, provides ‛very good support’.

Engineering Director, Steve Cooke, has seen a real partnership develop between Ainscough and MAN. He said, “Supporting our operation is a specialised transport fleet of heavy duty tractor units and ballast trailers, operated in partnership with our suppliers.

“Moving cranes around the UK with its dedicated transport requires a high degree of management skill, combining advance planning and routing with logistical execution.”

He continued, “Our relationship with MAN has enabled us to adapt our tractor units with heavy duty fully oscillated fifth-wheel couplings, tailored diff ratios and higher ground clearance chassis providing improved access on difficult site conditions. This, combined with MAN‘s advanced Telematics system, enables us to move our cranes around the UK both cost effectively and with the least inconvenience to other road users.”

With the MAN Fleet Management package, including full MAN telematics, Ainscough is able to fully utilise its MAN trucks. Cooke added, “MAN Fleet Management has provided us with critical information on the operation of the vehicle, providing an essential tool to manage and improve fuel efficiency.”

Ainscough takes Tyger on UK journey

Ainscough Crane Hire has been involved in a cultural project, by lifting and transporting a 15 tonne stone sculpture from the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland to Bruton in Somerset.

A 250 tonne Liebherr LTM 1250-1 was used to load the ‘Tyger Tyger’ granite sculpture, which is by Ronald Rae, onto a specialised heavy transport vehicle, ensuring its safety during a 400-mile journey through the UK. Once the crane arrived in Bruton, a 55 tonne LTM 1055-3 crane was used to position the piece of art onto its new plinth.

Gareth Jones, commercial director at Ainscough Crane Hire, said: “A lot of logistical planning was involved with the lifting of Tyger Tyger, as not only was there an extremely long drive from site to site, but the new location of the sculpture also required 400 metres of tracking across a field in order to get the crane into position. It was an amazing object to lift and a great project, and we’re sure that the artwork will fit in very well in its new home.”

Ronald Rae is a well-known Scottish sculptor, famous for his 20 tonne work ‘The Lion of Scotland’. He has also exhibited in Regents Park, London, and Holyrood Park, Edinburgh.

Ainscough invests £11.4m in crane fleet

Ainscough Crane Hire has welcomed the UK’s first resident 750 tonne Liebherr LTM 1750-9.1 to its Heavy Cranes Division, the latest acquisition in a £11.4m crane investment programme.

The UK’s largest crane hire firm is expanding its fleet by four new cranes this year, having already received a 500 tonne crane in January. Two further cranes are expected before the end of 2013, an additional Liebherr LTM 1750-9.1 and a second 500 tonne crane.

The cranes will be used to meet increased demand for Ainscough’s services from within the energy sector, where the construction and maintenance of oil refineries and wind farms forms a large part of the firm’s workload.

Gareth Jones, commercial director at Ainscough Crane Hire, said: “This investment acknowledges the need to adapt and expand our fleet to meet the changing needs of the marketplace. Ainscough is already the largest heavy crane operator in the country, and the expansion of our fleet means that we can give clients the highest level of service and work on more of the UK’s largest projects. We are very pleased with our new Liebherr and will be deploying it to its first job early next week.”

Richard Everist, managing director of Liebherr Great Britain said: “Ainscough has been a fantastic customer of ours for several years. We are delighted that they have chosen to equip their fleet with another of our top of the range machines. We are sure that it will be an asset to the firm and to their customers in turn.”

Ainscough technician receives mechanical engineering award

Ainscough Crane Hire Kevin NealAn Ainscough Crane Hire technician has been awarded a coveted sector accolade at this year’s Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham.

Crane technician Kevin Neal, who is based at Ainscough’s Hayes depot, won the Institute of Road Transport Engineers’ (IRTE) Award following his successful completion of the organisation’s irtec renewable assessment scheme for heavy vehicle trailers.

The Awards were held at the Birmingham NEC on the 9th April and highlighted the achievements of talented commercial vehicle technicians across the country.

Kevin said: “I’m delighted to have won an irtec Award, especially as I didn’t even know I had been nominated! It’s great to be recognised through hard work, and I’m looking forward to putting all I’ve learnt during the course into practice.”

Steve Cooke, engineering director at Ainscough Crane Hire, commented: “We’re very proud of Kevin’s achievements and he is an asset to the team. This Award demonstrates just how dedicated he is to his to achieving success with Ainscough and we’ll support him to reach his full potential.”

IRTE is a Professional Sector of the Society of Operations Engineers (SOE), and SOE Patron John Ratcliff CBE was on hand to personally congratulate the top-scoring technicians. He said: “The irtec Awards highlight the achievements of exceptional technicians, recognising the competence and dedication of irtec licence holders across the UK. These winning technicians have proven their engineering excellence through their dedication, skill, focus and professionalism.”

Ainscough lifts a piece of WWI history

Ainscough Crane Hire WW1 WWI cannonAinscough Crane Hire recently lifted Britain’s largest surviving piece of WW1 artillery, a rail mounted Howitzer cannon. The lift started the cannon on the first leg of a 387-mile journey from Larkhill, Wiltshire to the Dutch Railway Museum (Het Spoorwegmuseum) in the Netherlands.

The cannon will feature as the centrepiece in the Het Spoorwegmuseum’s ‘Railways in War and Peace’ exhibition this summer. It has recently undergone extensive restoration work after a campaign was launched to return it to a respectable condition.

It took a 500t Liebherr and five hours work to dismantle the 200-ton piece of artillery at Larkhill and load it onto the two special trucks transporting it to the Netherlands.

Ainscough Crane Hire’s Special Projects Manager, Bob MacGrain, said: “It isn’t every day that we lift a piece of British history and it’s been a very interesting job for us. Everyone worked hard to make sure the cannon was dismantled, lifted and transported safely and securely to its starring role in the Netherlands. It’s an impressive monument to British military engineering so we’re proud to have been involved.”

The cannon was officially welcomed to the Netherlands at an opening ceremony for the exhibition on the 30th March.


Ainscough embarks on timber structure lift

Ainscough Crane Hire has been appointed by KLH UK to supply the cranes for the largest cross-laminated timber (CLT) project in the UK. Kier Construction is the main contractor.

Featuring over 1,200 panels weighing between 3.5 and 6 tonnes and measuring up to nine metres across, the giant wooden structure will be home to William Perkin North Ealing Academy once completed in April 2013. Two 55 tonne Liebherr LTM 1055-3.1 cranes started the build with larger cranes scheduled to come on site once the first floors are completed. The cranes will be on the site for the duration of the build to lift the timber frame and panels into position.

Commenting on the project, Gareth Jones, commercial director at Ainscough said: “This is one of the more unique projects we have been involved in of late and we’re really looking forward to seeing the building take shape. It’s a simple concept that works beautifully and provides a great looking and environmentally sound structure. We’ll have two cranes on site for a third of the year so will be working very closely with the KLH UK to complete the new academy.”

With the superstructure designed by KLH, the building is made up of its unique CLT. CLT is made from kiln-dried spruce or fir planks, which are sorted and cut into sheets. The sheets are then stacked at right angles and glued under a high pressure bonding system in perpendicular layers. This process gives the panels exceptional strength, durability and longevity.

Ainscough Shortlisted as Employer of the Year!

Ainscough Crane Hire has been selected as a finalist in the Employee of the Year category for the 2013 Construction News Awards.

With 17 targeted categories, the awards cover every aspect of the construction sector – from training to technology – ensuring that the whole supply chain is recognised for excellence in their area.

Commenting on the shortlisting commercial director, Gareth Jones, said: “Our people are what make our business great and we invest a great deal to ensure that they are happy, safe and secure. From structured training and development to allowing paid leave for charitable activities, we strive to ensure that Ainscough is a great company to be a part of. We’re very pleased that our efforts have been recognised and would be extremely proud to win the award in July.”

A record number of entries were submitted for this year’s Construction News Awards. Finalists will now face Dragon’s Den-style live interviews with members of the 53-strong jury of esteemed key clients, contractors, consultants, institutes and government departments including:

• Simon Kirby – Network Rail
• Tony Jacob – John Lewis Partnership
• John Mead – Crossrail
• Tony Giddings – Argent
• James Pellatt – Great Portland Estates
• David Philp – Cabinet Office

Construction News Editor, Rebecca Evans commented: “The construction industry has a lot to shout about and these awards are a part of that, each of you should feel rightly proud to be among our finalists.”
Winners will be announced on 11 July 2013 at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London, where over 1,000 of industry heavyweights will join together for a night of recognition, celebration and networking.

Ainscough appoints head of field sales

Chris BeetonAinscough Crane Hire has appointed Chris Beeton as head of field sales.

Joining the company from Northgate Vehicle Hire, Chris will be responsible for driving crane hire sales heading up the nationwide team of 18 sales associates. Reporting to commercial director Gareth Jones, Chris will also contribute to the sales budget and strategy, and will ensure that outstanding levels of customer service are maintained.

Gareth Jones said: “Chris has a fantastic track record in sales and is an excellent leader for our dedicated team. His energy and enthusiasm is a great asset to the team and he will no doubt help Ainscough to meet its ambitious sales targets.”

Commenting on his appointment, Chris said: “I’m a driven and motivated sales person and I am excited to join such a forward thinking company. Ainscough already has a loyal customer base and a great reputation, both of which I intend to build on.”

Chris joined Ainscough at the start of January. He is contactable on 01257 478507 or

Tower crane removal in Vauxhall

Recovering a damaged tower crane in VauxhallWe can confirm that Ainscough Crane Hire has been contracted by Brookfield Multiplex to assist with the recovery of a damaged tower crane at St George Wharf in Vauxhall, London.

The damaged crane does not belong to, nor was operated by Ainscough Crane Hire. We are working with all parties concerned to ensure the safe and swift recovery of the tower crane.

Ainscough applauded for involvement in London Olympics

Ainscough Crane Hire has received thanks from The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for its outstanding contribution to the 2012 venues and ceremonies.

The firm supplied cranes and developed lifting plans for the construction of almost all the venues in the Olympic Park and was the sole supplier of all mobile cranes for both the Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies.

In preparation for the ceremonies, Ainscough was tasked with constructing temporary staging and moving the 22 tonne Olympic flame into the stadium which was kept a secret at the time and covered up whilst it was being transported.

Vince Ramsden, national key account manager at Ainscough Crane Hire said: “Contributing to what has been named the greatest games of all time was a great pleasure and the team worked incredibly hard to make sure everything went smoothly. The team’s collaboration and dedication created a spectacular show and we are very proud of our involvement.”