Greg Watkin has a 25-year history of using vehicles from the Toyota-Hino family having started working out of the back of a Toyota Landcruiser ute doing onsite welding. Since those early days the business has evolved to meet the changes brought about by different circumstances and market opportunities.
Brisbane is the home of many ‘Queenslander’ style of residential buildings and as they age many of their owners opt to have the original wooden supporting poles replaced with structural steel. Many also take the opportunity to perform extensive renovations by ‘building in’ additional rooms and spaces under the house. The occasional flooding of areas around the Brisbane River has also prompted some, where possible, to physically lift the level of their homes to have a better chance of being clear of any future floodwaters. Greg’s business Brisbane Posts and Beams currently employs around 25 people and supplies steel structural components to builders and renovators who are mostly in the domestic dwelling category, along with providing the steel components required for larger architectural design homes, as well as smaller commercial buildings.
“Everyone wants open plan living now which requires a lot of big beams. Over the years they’ve gone from having a maximum six metre span and now we’re starting to deliver nine metres and longer. Timber is getting scarce, so we supply more and more steel components”
To be able to accommodate those increased lengths the Hino trucks operated by Brisbane Posts and Beams have extended chassis. The newest truck is a 2021 Hino 500 Series FE1426 Standard Cab model fitted with a nine-metre tray to enable it to carry the full length beams. The Palfinger truck-mounted crane is the first remote controlled crane Brisbane Posts and Beams has had.
“This truck is a little bit bigger than what we would normally get and it carries an extra tonne and the crane extends a little bit further,” Greg says. “We did that because a lot of our products are long and skinny without a lot of weight. For a single house it’s lucky if there’s a couple of tonne in it.”
Standard safety features of the Hino 500 Series include a Pre-Collision Warning System which includes Safety Eye, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection in addition to Adaptive Cruise Control, Vehicle Stability Control, and Anti-Lock Brakes, Lane Departure Warning and a reverse view camera. The driver has the protection of an airbag.
The Standard Cab 500 is supported by a 2020 Hino 300 Series 721 model which also has a Palfinger crane fitted. A 2014 Hino Dutro is kept on hand to fulfil any urgent tasks.
One purpose of using their own trucks to perform the deliveries is the benefit of maintaining control right to the end user. Operating from their base at Everton Hills in the northern suburbs of Brisbane, the Brisbane Poles and Beams trucks cover an extensive delivery area which reaches to the Sunshine Coast down to the Gold Coast and out past Ipswich, with the occasional trip as far as Toowoomba