FAW tipper fleet keeps Ross Demolition’s 116-year success story on track
‘Survival of the fittest through business acumen, keeping your promises and a resilient attitude manifested by every employee– that’s the recipe for success.’
This is the message from a company that has been going strong for 116 years.
Ross Demolition, headquartered in Cape Town, has prospered and survived many tough economic times spanning four generations of a family of engineers. All of them dedicated businessmen who not only believed in inspirational leadership, but in strong fiscal discipline, commitment and honesty.
Since it was established in 1898 by Henry T. Ross, the Ross Demolition group has followed a consistent motto – ‘On time, every time’. They also don’t shy away from any opportunity, as they maintain that no job is too big or too small.
At present, Robert Ross, and his son, John Ross, manage the family owned business which engages in contract demolition work across the whole of South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, on a contract basis.
While this is only one of six ‘arms’ of their business operations, it like the other five divisions, depends heavily on a competent and efficient fleet of trucks to ensure all projects remain profitable, and continue to uphold their irrefutable reputation for delivering on their promises.
This is exactly where their fleet of FAW vehicles, mainly extra-heavy tipper trucks, are integral to their success. The FAW reputation for durability and efficiency matches that of Ross Demolition.
“Our first FAW trucks to join the RD fleet were purchased to service specifically contracts in Africa where uncomplicated, easy-to-drive/easy-to-maintain trucks were the main criteria for getting our excavation contracts done with minimum downtime,” explains the senior Robert Ross.
“At present we operate 28 FAW units, mostly the proven and robust 28.280FD tippers. I am very happy with the operational efficiencies we’re getting. In most cases we are realising superb fuel consumption at 2,3 to 2,8 litres per kilometre.
“Working in difficult and dusty uneven terrain, steep gradients on and off-site, and heavy payloads, we opted for a shorter wheelbase configuration and a 400 litre fuel tank adjustment. The Euro II Weichai WD 615.50 engines give us a respectable 206Kw with an effective torque of 1 160N.m to pull payloads, some beyond the prescribed 12-ton parameter.
“The FAW trucks have succeeded admirably in all our initial trials. The first units coped beyond our expectations; and thus we’ve deployed them on all our projects locally and cross border, from confined inner city projects to far distant mass excavations sites.”
Ross Demolition also provides the construction industry with mine rehabilitation, plant hire, tricky asbestos removal and earthmoving services. However, one of the most rewarding undertakings, which has emerged over the last years, is the material recycling business done by Ross Demolition. “Every site we clear, we recycle 98% of all the materials – bricks, wood, windows, steel, glass, roof trusses – you name it, we recover it and resell this to the ‘secondary’ construction tier who are desperate for affordable, good second-hand material. We have five depots from where this recycled material is sold. It’s great to know we are contributing to preserving resources and the environment, and helping other entrepreneurs make a decent living in the construction industry,” says Mr Ross.
Robert Ross recalls some of the most amazing projects undertaken by Ross Demolition. “We’ve imploded the Athlone Cooling Towers, as well as the largest building ever in Cape Town, which always has great spectator value. But for us one of the most challenging projects was working against the clock when we had to demolish the Valkenburg Bridge within a total timeframe of only eight hours. Beginning midnight, by 8am we had completely dismantled the bridge, removed all the debris and cleared the site so that traffic on the N2 could resume in the morning.
“Another remarkable project was the Portside 101 Project; the deepest excavation project ever undertaken in Cape Town. The Portside Project covered a full city block on the Foreshore and required 90 000 cubic metres of rock to be blasted out and removed from the site. The site was commissioned for a 32-storey building, 142-metres high, which today stands proudly as the tallest building in the Cape Town CBD.”
The youngest of the Ross clan, John Ross, is a demolition expert trained in the US. He makes use of the advice of contracted civil engineers in determining the logistics and costing of all building implosions and site clearing projects.
“Our fleet of FAW trucks is efficient, robust and reliable. Our drivers are well trained. We employ sound fleet management systems, like trackers, etc., to monitor and ensure we get the necessary performance to maintain our margins,” explains John Ross.
“With the recessionary times and the pressures prevailing in the construction industry, competition is fierce and margins are tight. We need our fleet to run at the highest uptime rate possible with the minimum of problems in vehicle maintenance and service requirements. Our FAW fleet stays on the road, is undemanding in its simplicity of operation and great for our ‘bottom-line’ with their low maintenance cost and minimum downtime. This is crucial to our profit margins,” concludes Robert Ross.