Chatting with two giants of the trackway world, and an exclusive look at the merger that birthed Live Trackway
Is there a range of events you work on?
Graham Crisp, GT Trax (GC): We work on all types of outside events—music festivals, country shows, foodie festivals, athletic events, flower, historical and agricultural shows.
Daimon Dunhue, GAP Group (DD): Some of the events we worked on throughout 2016 include the Tall Ships of Blyth, Parklife, Virgin Money London Marathon and V Festival. We work on festivals, sporting events, concerts, fireworks displays and beyond.
What does your company offer the sector?
DD: GAP Event Services is a division of GAP Hire Solutions, the largest independent hire company in the UK. To achieve continued success and maintain our one-stop-shop event solution, we recognise that our proposition has to constantly evolve. We can quickly supply everything from barriers, fencing, trackway and flooring, to power, lighting, lifting equipment, welfare services, plant, tools and accessories.
GC: GT Trax Limited was formed in March 2005, principally as a rental company supplying a new range of plastic trackway and walkways to the events markets. Over time the company has expanded in event seating (Foldtable), temporary structures (MegaSol and Starshades) and marquee flooring (LuxTrax). In 2015, we launched a new range of plastic trackway (Power Tracks 40), the plastic equivalent of metal trackway.
What’s the largest-scale job you’ve delivered?
DD: In 2016, the Soul Survivor at Bath and West Showground, which required over 6,000sqm of Supatrac to be installed inside a big top marquee, plus trackway. We also supplied fencing and barriers. Our contract manager oversaw the project from start to finish, and sourced equipment from two GAP depots to pull in the large volume of kit required.
GC: We supply several kilometres of trackways, walkways and ground protection panels to a major music festival based in South Wales. This is one of the largest events we currently supply, and they are scheduled to have more this year!
How do you make trackway more eco- friendly?
GC: Outside events generate a lot of mud! Recognising the ecological impact of the volumes of water, which were required to clean our panels, in 2009 we began investigating alternative solutions. We worked in collaboration with a local cleaning equipment supplier to develop a bespoke automatic ground plate-cleaning machine, which operates using recycled rainwater. At full speed, the system can clean up to 100 three-metre plates in just one hour.
DD: The long-term success of our business depends on fulfilling our wider responsibilities to the community and the environment. Wherever possible, we use environmentally considerate methods and materials to fill all our contractual obligations. Where a choice exists, GAP specifies only those suppliers that are ISO14001-registered or have an environmental policy. We continually seek to influence suppliers.
What do you wish organisers knew about trackway?
DD: Aluminium is the most widely recognised trackway system and is the default choice for many organisers—they know it, and they trust it. However, depending upon the specific use, some plastic alternatives may be more suitable.
GC: Most event managers understand the challenges we face. However, some don’t realise that we will always do a pre-event site visit. Sometimes access to the site can be difficult and plans can change at the last minute, but we have some experienced people on our team. With a bit of ingenuity and flexibility by both parties, most obstacles can be surmounted.
Live Trackway’s Dale Robinson talks planes, trains and crocodiles
When I joined my father in the industry, he taught me three very important things: 1. Always deliver on your promise, 2. Never forget point 1, and 3. Respect crocodiles (OK, I made that one up).
My father actually started the trackway hire industry. He created the first track panel in 1966, giving me the tools to develop a new market across the UK and abroad. Over the years, I’ve built three successful trackway companies and merged LION Trackhire with Eve to create Live Trackway, but my mantra remains the same: ‘Our customers want quality engineered solutions, on time, every time and at a fair price’. It’s as simple as that.
Quality and customer care
As stalwarts of the industry, we have built a reputation for solving some unorthodox challenges over the years. These include pulling aircraft out of lakes, trains from embankments, installing roadway under water, moving ancient buildings in one piece and creating access to crocodile-infested canals! Who would have thought the trackway industry would be this interesting?
However, at the end of the day, it’s safe access that our customers want and if you don’t get the basics right and fail to provide a quality product and service, then you are compromising people’s safety and that’s unacceptable.
You have to stick to the knitting. Our customers expect a clean, well-maintained product to perform perfectly for pedestrians and vehicles, from the point of installation to final recovery. They also expect their site returned to its former state, so we promise to protect the environments in which we operate. We never drive on unprotected ground and always use our own trackway to install from. We use recycled or sustainable materials, we recycle our water and we also employ Euro6 low emission vehicles.
The science behind the service
In an industry of heightened health and safety, if your trackway supplier fails to offer a site survey, they may be compromising your project and safety. We strongly recommend that all our customers receive a no-obligation survey from one of our engineers. They assess the whole site, taking into account the access routes to the site, overhead lines and the risk of fragile underground services. They then calculate a safe solution based on a geotechnical formula. They measure the CBR (California Bearing Ratio) of the ground’s rigidity, adding in proposed axel weights, the frequency of vehicle passes and any varying topography, and because we stock the widest portfolio of products, we are ‘product neutral’, which means we can specify the ideal access conguration.
Having said that, the new merger between LION and Eve has enabled us to refine our portfolio and remove any non-value-adding services in order to concentrate on providing the important things to our customers. We hold plastic systems for pedestrian walkways, our own award-winning aluminium systems for pedestrians and vehicles and a modern, engineered timber solution for flooded wetlands and super-heavy access. Customers don’t need to worry about product selection; they trust our 50-year experience to give them the right solution.
Bringing the two businesses together has opened up much more opportunity for our customers. We are gearing up for the summer with 18,000 new panels, 14 new crews and a company restructure; but we’ll be sticking to that mantra of mine and delivering on our promise of safe, quality access solutions—crocodiles or no crocodiles!