Durham scores with its hat trick of Multihogs

This year sees Durham County Council upping their fleet of Multihogs for a second time following their first purchase four year ago. Having now taken delivery of their third machine, they are set to save money, maximise usage and provide a more efficient service. 

Highways Services Manager Mark Readman says, ‘We have built a very good relationship with Multevo and had no reservations in dealing with them again to procure our third Multihog. The Multihog works for us because it makes financial sense; it’s a machine that we can utilise 52 weeks of the year. The quick interchangeability of attachments allows for a rapid response when required, offering real flexibility. This machine without doubt has provided a cost effective solution to Durham’s aim to provide an efficient and effective service.’ 

Durham County Council has been keen to maximise Multihogs’ all year capabilities, the patch planer attachment is actively engaged in resurfacing work for the majority of the year and alongside it they have a sweeper, a forklift, a high volume submersible water pump with the capabilities for flood defence and two snow blowing attachments. 

Multihog’s patch planer attachment may clock up most work hours for Durham County Council, but it was the snow blowers, that often see less than two weeks work a year, that first persuaded Mark and his team that Multihog was the way to go. 

As part of their capital replacement programme the highway team initially purchased their first machine to replace a dedicated snow blower to operate in the High Pennines domain of the County. Given the Hog’s compact size, powerful hydraulics and 4-wheel drive capabilities, there were no doubts on performance with the attachment capable of shifting up to 500 tonnes of snow per hour. 

The Council had two key considerations prior to making their decision on snow blower replacement: 

· The high procurement costs associated with dedicated snow blowers

· The under-utilisation of a single purpose asset whose usage is weather dependent

Although winters in the North are ordinarily challenging, season 17/18 and the “Beast from the East” certainly kept the authority on its toes. Durham were adamant they wouldn’t invest in further under-utilised pieces of plant, particularly in-line with declining budgets. Likewise, procurement of a multi-functional piece of plant would be sure to lower fleet maintenance, training and running costs. 

The capital investment for the purchase was funded via the Council’s winter maintenance budget, allowing the highways team to benefit from reduced costs on both surfacing and patching contracts as the Multihog is able to be utilised with small operating and maintenance costs. 

Following the decision to opt for Multihog, Durham have reported savings of £80,000 per year in their capital replacement budget and have also been able to offset hire costs of a half metre planer which incurred approximate costs of £50,000 per annum, achieving total savings for £130,000 in their first year of purchase. Savings are anticipated to grow year on year with the Council now eliminating the need to hire in additional plant. 

Durham won plaudits from government ministers for their highway service delivery after they were awarded top marks in the UK for service efficiency, achieving a maximum ‘band three’ rating in an assessment organised by the Department for Transport. 

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