Life for Equiptec began in 1994 in a small office on Kaikorai Valley Road – and the warehouse was just over the hill – in Dunedin. We began as an aluminium mobile scaffolding sales and hire business. Our delivery means was nothing fancy – the old Hilux Ute did all the pickups and drop-offs to Christchurch – but she was a reliable means of transport and work ticked along nicely. We even moved to a bigger premise in 1995 which had a washroom, lunchroom and more space. Bliss!
Whether it was the Southern air, scenery or people around us, we got seriously thinking about developing our own range of scaffolding in 1997 and with a few ideas up our sleeves and a ‘thumbs up’ from the NZ Construction industry, we put our heads together and created the Equiptec MultiScaff – it hit the spot!
What we didn’t anticipate was just how quickly business was about to take off – but it did – so we doubled the size of the warehouse and built on our own factory. Product development was well and truly underway and never really stopped from that point on!
The success of MultiScaff, the passion and vision of our people, and the support of the NZ Construction industry, encouraged us to keep on creating. In 2001, we developed our very first stair tower – a versatile multi-use stair platform – to remedy the fixed height and limited access issues many in the scaffold game were facing. The first container left our shores for Melbourne that same year!
However, the factory space issue reared its head again, so this time – armed with our scaffolding, stair platforms, staff and supplies – we upped sticks to a woolshed on Wharf Street. This stint was short-lived but it did bring about some unique changes. We decided to sell-off our hire division of Equiptec – this still operates out of Dunedin today – and instead focus on solely manufacturing our own scaffolding – and more!
With this renewed vision came a renewed location – and we really moved outside our trajectory this time – packing our bags and heading to Napier. Today we’re still firmly ensconced in the sunny Hawkes Bay.
Life has proven both rewarding and exceptionally busy this past decade – we haven’t come up for air, but kept our heads down and quietly continued developing and bettering our products. Proud moments for us include custom-building work stands for the Royal Australian Air Force in 2008.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, and with the Australian mining giants knocking on our door with their problems, we developed and launched our first ever VRS Giraffe proto-type – our vertical height adjusting stair access platform. The first container load of VRS platforms toured Western Australia in February 2011 – they were a hit – and rapidly gained popularity Australian-wide.
With bigger orders to fill came the need for bigger boots, and with the recovery of both New Zealand and Australian construction industries following the global financial crisis, we purchased an even bigger factory. We’d never endeavoured to ‘go global’ but in 2014 it happened! We sold some VRS units into Africa, more in 2015 to a mining company in Laos and still more to a Kazakhstan mining company in 2017. Now there is strong enquiry from New Caledonia to Canada – game on!
Our products may have reached new heights – and shores – but we’re still very much a Kiwi company with a vision to keep on developing. We’re fortunate to have the right people to do it with and the right place to create within.