Key Note estimates that the total UK market for plant, tool and access hire
was worth £7.63bn in 2006. This figure was derived from an analysis of the
£4.3bn turnover of 1,152 companies engaged in ‘renting of construction and
civil-engineering machinery and equipment’ and the £9bn turnover of 1,593
companies engaged in ‘renting of construction and demolition equipment
with operator’. The latter figure undoubtedly contains a high proportion of
revenues from activities other than the renting of equipment to third parties,
such as construction and demolition services, and it is a moot point as to
where the boundary should be drawn. Key Note decided on a figure of £3bn.
The £4.3bn figure again includes activities beyond the scope of this report,
but rental is also undertaken by firms outside the mainstream industry, and
Key Note believes that these two adjustments are similar and cancel out.
Key Note has added £0.33bn to the total to cover scaffolding rental by
specialist firms. This figure represents the proportion of scaffolding rental
that was not already included in the total for plant and tool hire.
The final adjusted value is considerably higher than that published by many
other sources, which may be explained by the wider scope of Key Note’s
analysis. AMA Research, which analyses the sector both closely and regularly,
valued the tool-hire sector at £0.9m in 2006. The analysts MBD gave a much
smaller figure than Key Note for the combined plant- and tool-hire market,
at £4.6bn in 2006, with the tool sector being valued in line with AMA
Research’s figure. A further set of figures was given in an investment report
by Wolseley, which quoted a total hire market of £3bn and a tool-hire market
of £831m, with 4% steady market growth. Executive Hire News valued the
tool-hire market at £1.25bn in January 2007. However, the recent Plant Hire
Investment report put the size of the tool-hire sector alone at £1.5bn —
a figure very much in line with...