Author Topic: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive  (Read 2689 times)

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Offline Tom Bainbridge

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the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« on: May 10, 2008, 02:39 PM »
just to give you an idea of the vans tradesmen like me drive in the uk


both are ford transits, the grey one is a standard size transit about 9 years old, the white one is four years old and is a long wheel base hi top, you can see the change in models

the white one is front wheel drive with a turbo disesl, good for about 110 the grey one around 90 mph




« Last Edit: May 10, 2008, 02:40 PM by dirtydeeds »
Bromley, Kent. UK

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Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2008, 02:41 PM »
the red thing is a local single decker bus

it also gives you an idea of the size of urban roads here in the uk, small arnt they


how small the green thing parked next to the bus is a micra, the red one the others side with a white roof is an original mini (smaller than the micra)

« Last Edit: May 10, 2008, 02:46 PM by dirtydeeds »
Bromley, Kent. UK

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Offline Ned

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2008, 03:28 PM »
Since you seem to be in the mood to explain things seen on the street, let me ask you this one:

I have seen pictures of UK city streets where a white line is painted parallel to the curb (yeah, I know, spelling) and then suddenly becomes a dramatic white squiggle.

What is that?

Ned

Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2008, 03:51 PM »
the solid white line at the SIDE of the road is a way of narrowing the road width, to slow the traffic down, its quite typical comming up to pedestrian crossings

what you call a dramatic white sqiggle sounds like a pedestrian crossing (minimum 50 yards each way)  stopping or parking reduces visibility for the crossing (so you get done)

the point being in the uk is that on the road a pedestrian has the ABSOLUTE RIGHT OF WAY, regardless of culpability, negligence, stupidity or age) except on motorways

jay walking (even when there isnt a pedestrian crossing) is not only allowed BUT the car driver WILL BE PROSUCUTED




just to reinforce the point....................... driving offences are a CRIMINAL OFFENCE in england


now............................................... just try getting a visa to holiday in america with a "criminal" offence

on the face of it i cannot go to america (even on holiday) because i have criminal offences [the ONLY criminal offences i have)



simple things like failure to pay parking offences gives you a "criminal record" here





the only good thing is the americans (bless them) TEND................... but not always

ignore english driving offences as a "criminal record" when considering holiday visas 
Bromley, Kent. UK

aka dirtydeeds

Offline Ned

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2008, 04:14 PM »
the point being in the uk is that on the road a pedestrian has the ABSOLUTE RIGHT OF WAY, regardless of culpability, negligence, stupidity or age) except on motorways

It's very close to that in California.  California pedestrians in parking lots will walk a straight line to their destination, no matter how shallow an angle that makes or how long they block traffic.  Crossing the traffic lane at 90 degrees and getting out of the way of the drivers is unusual behavior.  Californians are also amazingly willing to walk behind a vehicle while it is backing up, apparently giving no thought to whether or not the driver could possibly see them.

There is more variation between state traffic codes than a foreigner would expect.  California is dragging its heels installing signs that show freeway exit numbers.  This is unhelpful when the Dutch-made navigation software I use (TomTom) tells me that my exit is "67".

Quote
the only good thing is the americans (bless them) TEND................... but not always
ignore english driving offences as a "criminal record" when considering holiday visas 

I'm glad they can make the distinction.

Ned

Offline patrick anderson

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2008, 09:09 PM »
Sounds like things have toughened up back there since I left. DD, have you ever explained the British car exam to the people here? That should be good for a topic.

When I moved over here (I had lived here before about 11 years earlier) I went to go take my MD drivers test. When I called up the licensing people in Michigan (where I had lived) they told me that they delete record after 10 years.....smeg. So I had no record of a US drivers license. Because I had no US license I got put into the Drug and Alcohol awareness programme and had to pass that test before I could go to the MVA to sit the proper driving test.

I must have been the only native English speaker in the class....I sat there bored out of my nut watching some movie about the do's and dont's. The instructor passed out the exam after the movie....I had finished mine before he finished passing out the exams. I walked up to his desk and he marked it....100%.....cheers mate...and off I went.

Go down to the MVA for the test....sat down to answer a bunch of questions (no Highway Code type questions) and got 97%. I was about to argue the toss with the bloke as the question I got failed on was so ambiguous it must have been put there to prevent 100% passes. Jump into my FIL's motor and proceed to drive around the car park...easy peasy lemon squeezy. and the get passed and go in for my FBI mugshot.

The only thing that I like about the US tests is that they test your vision properly (not can you read that liceense plate from 20 metres. Things may have changed back home?

I remember taking my test back in England. The bloke I was learning from knew exactly where the local test people took candidates around. When I had my test there I went down the exact same streets as he used to take me.....result.
patrick anderson
www.neoshed.com
may the festool be with you.....always

Offline Tom Gensmer

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  • Residential Remodeler in Minnesota
Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2008, 11:43 PM »
Hi there Dirty Deeds! It's funny you should post this, I was actually going to post a thread regarding people's experiences with working out of a van, I would love your input! Here in Minnesota, we seem to have a relatively even mix between vans and pick-ups for contractors. Most  carpenters seem to utilize either just a pick-up, or a pick-up + a trailer. Our plumbers and electricians almost exclusively use 3/4 or 1-ton vans. Most electricians still seem to favor the Chevy and Ford vans, whereas many plumbers have transitioned over to the Sprinter vans. Our general contractors (the bosses) seem to be a mix of full-sized vans and 3/4 ton trucks towing a trailer. We also have some fellas driving around in "Cube-Vans", where it's a van cab with an aftermarket "cube" on the back area.

Myself, right now I'm tooling around in a '06 Toyota Tundra with a small trailer. I'm ok with my current set-up, but look forward to bigger and better things. What I'm trying to figure out for myself is, do I get a 7x14 V-nose twin-axle, 10,000lb trailer with a 7' interior height, and eventually upgrade pick-up truck to tow it, or do I go with a 1-ton Sprinter with the 170" wheelbase, extended body and at least the high roof, if not the Mega roof? The trailer would allow me to cycle between tow vehicles more easily, especially if I need auto repairs I can still tow with a loaner, I could theoretically park the trailer all week at some job-sites, and I can still get my 4wd that comes in so handy here in the Frozen North. Alternatively, the Sprinter would allow me to get into tighter spaces than the truck-trailer combo would allow, and I'd probably get better fuel economy. I don't know, maybe this specific discussion is best left to another thread.....

So anyways, do many tradesmen drive pick-ups in Europe? As far as the vans go, are there any preferred models or brands? Do different trades prefer different vehicles? Thanks for the interesting thread DD, I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts!!
« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 12:10 AM by Tom Gensmer »
CT-26, CT-MIDI, CT-36 AC, C-18, RO-150, RO-90, OF1010, OF-1400 (x2), MFK-700, MFK-700EQ/B, EHL-65, DTS-400, LS-130, MFT/3 (x2), MFT/Kapex (x3), CMS-OF, Sprinter full of Systainers

Offline lagunaboo

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2008, 03:29 AM »
Im in the UK, if my memory serves me correctly me and DD are about 30 miles apart. I drive a Renault Kangoo. Its perfect for my tools and the odd 8' x 4' sheet on the roof, but I plan everything and have timber delivered to my work sites (which to be honest are no more than 5 miles away) or in the case of workshop built cabinets I use my friends Transit Box van.

If I need anything larger delivered I hire. I have been known to hire an artic (your semi and trailor), but I do have the licence to drive these.

I find that the smaller van is perfect to park in the drive of my house and that works for me.

As far as pick-ups go, with the exception of building contractors, who dont really carry tools backwards and forwards to site, most tradesmen use vans of my size, through to Transits and up to the slightly larger Sprinter (hi roof) types.

I would say that very few trades in this country use trailers at all. The only exception would be ground workers carrying mini diggers etc.

Anyway, heres a kangoo for you, and yes they are small!!!!

Marky

Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2008, 08:44 AM »
first thing a bit of history.............. "a transit" is now a universal name for all panel vans of a certain size in england (the grey one in the picture)

you would tell your mum you had a new transit and she would understand

a fleet buyer told to order transits, would identify the particular make and model that suited the business best, but would almost always look at a "ford transit" for a comparison for spec and price

your sister who would normally wear high heels and a skirt, wont bat an eyelid at driving one (although being a girl, she will dress in jeans and flats)

they are classless vehicles (labourer or lord) its sometimes said that if you havent driven a transit you arnt english

you can drive a transit on a standard car licence (they drive like cars these days, power assisted stearing and brakes, they didnt use to be)

ford have been selling them in england for 40 years, the first "real" mass market van that wasnt based on a car

fords market position is such that in the 1990's they ran an advert on TV that called it the backbone of england
« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 09:10 AM by dirtydeeds »
Bromley, Kent. UK

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Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2008, 09:31 AM »
lagunaboo is correct

there is a movement towards smaller vans for trades who dont need to transport lots of materials

the ford transit connect is a good example, its designed specificlly as a van rather than a car derivitive (i think its a reaction to market requirements)

my mate's a AC,  heating, gas AND electrical engineer, he drives a mercedes vito (another smaller van) most of the kit he installs is so big it needs an artic to deliver

his van is used exclusivly for carrying his tools, gas and very expensive testing and diagnostic equipement



ive went for a transit because of the tools and the ability to carry sheets of ply mdf and doors etc, timber goes on rack (roof rack)


yes plumbers use sprinters (and VW transporters).............. high cost vehicles for a high paying trade. 80,000 pound a year (approx 160,000 dollar) plumbers are not unknown (thats a one man operation)

corgi registered gas gengineers also go for high end vans, partially because they are normally work for big firms............ corgi registration requires ongoing training and exams which one man firms cannot afford 


the biggest longest tallest panel vans (almost exclusivly sprinters) are used by dedicated kitchen fitters who need to get 4.1 metre worktops and units in the van along with all their tools
« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 09:50 AM by dirtydeeds »
Bromley, Kent. UK

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Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2008, 09:56 AM »
my mate martin is an unusal tradesman, he has certification to work on live 11 Kva cables and on gas appliances that need 8 inch supplies, stainless and aluminium welding (as well as the AC and refrigeration plant)

the gas qualifications are such that it would be impossible for him to work for himself, his courses are never less than a week and are frequent, personally i think he is badly underpaid

 
« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 10:03 AM by dirtydeeds »
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Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2008, 10:14 AM »
trailers are not used very often by tradesmen, expensive, too easy to nick poor security and most important difficult to park

it isnt a case that we cant physically park and drive trailers

our road space is so conjested and our parking so limited that they are virtually useless

the exception as noted above is groundworkers who need to move 1 tonne excavators and bobcats without needing a low loader


one other reason for my standard transit is that it will JUST fit in a standard car parking bay, the white one in the picture being long wheel base has more difficulty finding a parking bay big enough 
Bromley, Kent. UK

aka dirtydeeds

Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2008, 10:26 AM »
forgot to say seeing as this is a festool forum  ::)

the standard systainer footprint has made racking for tools much easier
Bromley, Kent. UK

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Offline Tom Gensmer

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2008, 10:29 AM »
Hi Lagunaboo and DirtyDeeds, thanks so much for the info!

Here in Minnesota (I can't speak for the rest of NA), a lot of carpenters who are specialized, such as new-home builders, can get away with a pick-up with one of those cross-bed tool boxes, because typically all they need to bring is a level, circ saw, tool belt, and a few other assorted tools, their boss supplies the big air compressor, etc.... I work for a moderate-sized, mid- to high-end remodeling company, and the vast majority of my coworkers (we employ around 20 carpenters) drive pick-ups. The majority of those drive 1/2 ton trucks, there are maybe six who drive 3/4 ton, and two who drive the enormous 1-ton Chevy, with the 4-door crew cab, 8' box and dually tires. A few years ago approximately 1/4 of our carpenters towed trailers of various sizes, from smaller single-axle units all the way up to 8x16 twin axle V-nose behemoths. That practice ended when the guys who were towing using 1/2 ton trucks had to replace their transmissions, one guy who towed a 8x16 was promoted to project supervisor, and the other who towed a 8x16 lived approximately 50 away from our home office couldn't justify the convenience over the fuel cost to tow it 100 miles round trip every day. BTW, in the past few years he has since changed his tune and is trying to negotiate to repurchase his trailer....

All of my coworkers have toppers on their trucks. In addition to all of our 1/2 ton+ trucks, one older carpenter somehow gets away with driving a Chevy S-10 (loaded to the gills), another drives an old Dodge mini-van (again, loaded to the gills), and finally another carpenter drives a 1-ton Dodge Ram Van.

For our company we tend to carry most, if not all of our tools with us daily. While most of the time we can anticipate where we will be working and what we will be doing for the next week or so, each crew of carpenters (we have three in my crew) typically has 3-4 projects going on simultaneously, and theoretically we are expected that at any time we should be able to pack up and leave, say, a framing job at noon and drive to another job to do some quick trim work, fix a roof, drywall, etc...
« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 10:52 AM by Tom Gensmer »
CT-26, CT-MIDI, CT-36 AC, C-18, RO-150, RO-90, OF1010, OF-1400 (x2), MFK-700, MFK-700EQ/B, EHL-65, DTS-400, LS-130, MFT/3 (x2), MFT/Kapex (x3), CMS-OF, Sprinter full of Systainers

Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2008, 11:16 AM »
your comments make sense

i suppose i should add that my comments arnt representative of all uk firms

my comments are made from the context that i am a one man setup

housing a trailer would be difficult for me, my front drive (terrace house) would barely take a good size trailer and my garage is a workshop. loading the trailer would be even more of a pain because the garage is at the back of the house down a narrow lane, (an unmade road with grass in the middle)

forgot to say painters and decorators tend to use smaller vans (smaller load capacity requirements and lower wages)

my bil (one man painter and decorator) uses a ford "escort" van ( a car dirivitave), "escort" is a model of ford car that was consigned to the history books years ago

andy a mate of mine who is a painter and decorator uses a kangoo size van, his "firm" is a 4 man band, the rest of them use similar size vehicles   
Bromley, Kent. UK

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Offline joiner1970

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2008, 11:25 AM »
I drive a T4 VW Transporter Panel van I wouldnt touch a Ford Transit with a barge pole had one years ago. I think the Germans know how to build a quality van, hopefully I will be getting a new T5 this year if I get round to it.

Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: the sort of thing uk tradesmen drive
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2008, 11:34 AM »
1970, if id love a T5

quality (as always) is the name of the game
Bromley, Kent. UK

aka dirtydeeds