For more than 40 years Christchurch civil contractor KB Contracting & Quarries Ltd has ensured the quality of its work by taking charge of every aspect of a project, from extracting metal from its own quarries to a finished subdivision ready for the builders to start work.
“We have our own drainage crews, excavators, off-road dump trucks, graders with GPS, rollers – everything we need,” explains managing director Mike Blair. “The only thing we don’t do is sealing.
“There’s an advantage in sourcing your own material knowing exactly what products are required,” he adds. “And our customers like dealing with the one company right through.”
The same philosophy applies to the company’s fleet of road trucks, all 14 of which are Ivecos – a pair of Stralis cab-overs and the remainder Powerstars. They include tractor units pulling tipulators, 6x4 and 8x4 trucks, providing payloads ranging from 10 tonne to 27 tonne, ensuring there’s the right truck for every job.
Mike’s father Kevin Blair used to operate Internationals, mainly S-Lines and T-lines, and he sees the Iveco as their spiritual successors – hard-working trucks that perform where it counts – on the bottom line.
“The biggest difference compared with the old days is the comfort of the Iveco,” Mike says. “They are lot more comfortable to drive and the drivers don’t get so tired, which is good from a safety perspective. Also, visibility from the cab is much better and that’s also good for safety.”
The Ivecos’ 500hp and 560hp Cursor 13 engines, almost all with automated gearboxes behind them, are also popular with the drivers, particularly on the occasional out of town trip.
“It may seem a lot of power for work around urban Christchurch, but we’ve always tended to spec trucks to a level higher than we need,” explains Mike.
“Then they aren’t working as hard and we find there are fewer problems and the fuel economy is brilliant.”