The UK plant hire market experienced modest growth to 2013, but then increased significantly in 2014 due to improvements in both housing and non-residential building markets, as well as manufacturing and other non-construction end-use sectors. Since then, the market has continued to grow, although at lower annual growth rates.
AMA’s definition of the market relates to equipment hire only and excludes ancillary services (fuel, labour, transport etc.), which can add substantial value in some hire sectors, such as generators and cranes. Infrastructure remains the key end-use sector, although there have been differences between parts of the infrastructure sector in recent years.
This is a competitive market and the continuing high levels of competition have impacted on hire rates, which have been relatively static in recent years. The level of hire is also dependent on companies opting to hire rather than buy, with many companies choosing to hire plant and tools, generally to avoid risk.
It is estimated that construction accounts for around two-thirds of the plant hire market, with the remaining share accounted for by the non-construction sector. As a result, demand for plant hire is heavily dependent on the level of construction activity and market performance over the 2012-2017 period reflects the volatility of the sector. Current prospects for the plant hire market into the medium-term remain moderately optimistic.