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Gloucestershire Business News

Building and groundworks firm invests millions in new machinery

A multi-million pound investment in new equipment (and that's just part of it) has revealed a family-run building and groundworks specialist in the ascendency.

Bell Contracting is behind one of the first major orders from JCB for its new 140x crawler excavator machines.

In a deal worth nearly £2 million the Forest of Dean-based business has bought 12 of JCB's new 14-tonne X Series models and 12 Doosan DX 62s.

"These are replacement machines, and an order value of approximately £1.5m. I have just ordered another 20 replacement machines for February, 10 140 JCB's , four Hyundai 140's, three Doosan DX85s, and three Doosan DX62s," said Peter Bell, the managing director of the KW Bell Group, which employs an estimated 500 staff - approximately 300 direct employees and 200 sub-contractors.

"Another two Wacker Nueson Dual View cabbed dumpers arrive this week, taking our nine-tonne and 10-tonne cabbed dumpers to 22, out of a fleet of 70 dumpers. This again is another £1.5m order value.

"Over the last 18 months we have invested heavily into the latest technologies in our industry to keep us ahead of the pack, and show our commitment to raising the standards of health and safety, and improvements in methodologies."

According to Mr Bell the investment demonstrates both growth and the value the business places on having the latest equipment for its customers.

Turnover at Bell Contracting - named in the 2019 Sunday Times Profit Track Top 100 of companies - is estimated to be £50m, Bell Homes has sales of £25m and Bell Plants' turnover is in the region of £3m.

For those who thrive on the detail, the recent investment also includes Leica Satellite machine control, £900,000 spend to date, two vacuum excavators for the safer exposure of service pits (£350,000), 22 Cabbed dumpers to improve operator safety (£900,000), Biometric signing in and out systems (£250,000), concrete extrusion machinery from Australia (£100,000), drone plus training packages (£50,000), mechanical lifting equipment (£75,000).

And that is not all.

"There will be another £1m of heavy plant replacements by the middle of the year," said Mr Bell, whose father, Keith, famously started the business after beginning his career in construction as a hod carrier.

"The contracting division has a very healthy and virtually full order book, and the homes division has a three to four-year land bank.

"We have also just submitted a planning application to build our very own training academy on land just purchased opposite our head office.

"We have successfully put 20 apprentices through our very own Taylor Made scheme, and are joining forces with the likes of Taylor Wimpey and Redrow Homes to continue into the future."

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