This year’s shows in Edmonton and Guelph, Ont., provided lots of opportunity to see the latest equipment, have great conversations with industry leaders and learn, learn, learn.
By Patrick Flannery
Things are stabilizing a bit in Alberta if the Canadian Rental Association’s Prairie show in Edmonton was any indication. The event attracted around 120 attendees to visit 56 exhibitors. As is usual for this show, the Saturday night banquet brought in an even bigger crowd to enjoy the DoubleTree Edmonton West’s fine fare and a rolicking return performance by the Duelling Pianos.
A well-attended Friday night social at Beercade got the show off to a relaxed start. Attendees in town the night before enjoyed a night of adult beverages and classic arcade games at the downtown Edmonton location.
Notable on the show floor was a new XAS 88 towable compressor from Atlas Copco featuring a lightweight design with the internal components conveniently spaced for easy maintenance and designed to be accessed with minimal tools. New to the show was FenceFast showing off its Stock-Ade gas fence stapler with a demonstration log right on the booth. The trend toward increasing automation on construction sites was observed by Cavalier’s Esko Bionics arm, an articulated arm that attaches to trailers or the railings on lift platforms and takes the weight of heavy breakers, drills and other hand-operated construction equipment. Cavalier’s T.J. Johnson demonstrated how the arm makes manoeuvring even a heavy breaker much easier, though T.J. is not the guy you think is going to need the help.
American Rental Association president Mark Gilbertson of Fargo RentAll and CRA president Hank McInnis of The Cat Store were on hand touring the show floor and welcoming attendees at the banquet. Gilbertson noted that coming from chilly North Dakota, he felt right at home in Edmonton.
The Ontario Canadian Rental Association distinguished itself March 22 with a convenient and content-packed day of learning and networking for equipment and event rental operators. Over 50 attendees took advantage of the exclusive educational opportunity in Guelph, Ont.
Safety was very much the theme of the day, starting with a presentation by Lucie Giroux, manager of health, safety and environment for Contractors Rental Supply. Giroux laid out 10 elements of an effective safety policy, essentially giving a road map that store owners can use to create a good culture in their businesses.
Next up was Patrick Falzon from the Electrical Safety Authority to talk about powerline safety. His descriptions and photos of what can happen when equipment and tents contact power lines were…well…hair-raising. Anyone operating equipment needs to take the time before they start to look for power lines and make a plan to stay well away. Falzon had some useful tips on what to do if contact does occur: stay in the cab of your vehicle (unless it’s on fire) and don’t get out until a representative from the power utility says it’s safe. And stay away from the vehicle’s tires – they can explode for up to 24 hours after an incident!
Falzon also participated in the regulatory round table that included Mike Nelson and Varien Paron from the York Regional Police, Andy Brown from the Ministry of Transportation, Christopher Boccinfuso from the Ministry of Labour and Don Heyworth from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority. Constables Nelson and Paron had numerous tips on how to safeguard equipment and set up store security to assist police to recover stolen items. Placing your store decal or an identifying number somewhere inside the vehicle where a thief won’t know to look is a good way to help police identify it as stolen and belonging to you. Video cameras should be aimed at entranceways at head height, not looking down from the ceiling, and recordings kept for 30 days. Trying to buy equipment back when it appears on EBay or Kijiji is not a good strategy – better to call police and alert them to the post. And they made the point again that a customer keeping rented equipment past the agreed return date is not theft and therefore not a matter for the police; it’s breach of contract and needs to be pursued in civil courts.
Boccinfuso went over the newish working-at-heights rules, outlining when lift operators have to have training and when they do not. The rule of thumb is that as long as the operator’s feet are less than 10 feet off the ground, the MOL won’t charge. Tent erection sites do count as “construction sites,” but a homeowner can use lifts without restriction as long as he’s working on his own property without outside help.
Heyworth answered questions about providing propane-fueled items and when customers and rental store staff need a Record of Training to hook them up. An ROT is not required to hook up a barbeque, but ROTs and service documentation are always required for any construction heater using gas fuel.
Truck inspection paperwork and log maintenance continues to be a vexing issue for many stores, and Brown spent some time addressing unusual situations and clarifying when vehicles need commercial registration and when not. He alerted attendees to a coming change the July that will see sweepers and other road construction equipment built on a truck chassis require CVOR licensing. He also noted that having proper stickers, licensing, inspections and logs was the responsibility of the vehicle operator and that people who rent trailers from stores that do not maintain these documents are taking a risk of being charged.
The information-packed morning gave way to a buffet lunch then an afternoon of tabletop exhibits. Attendees then convened for a steak dinner banquet where the Ontario regional award winners were announced. Gord Ellis of Cavalier won Rental Professional of the Year. Contractors Rental Supply won the President’s Image Award. Skyjack took home Supplier of the Year. A couple national awards were also re-presented, having been given out earlier at The Rental Show in Orlando: Kim Rixon of Muskoka Party Rentals won national Rental Person of the Year and Diane Gouge of GAL Power took home Ontario Rental Person of the Year.
Once the official business was done, the banquet was entertained by the Sentimentalists – a mind-reading magical duo you would not want at your poker table.
The next Ontario Conference and Product Expo will take place in 2019.