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There aren’t many construction companies that will use the same contractor for 19 straight years. And there aren’t many crane companies that are in business for 19 years, let alone have held onto the same client for that long.
So, when it comes to getting the job done right, Tony at Grindley Constructions wouldn’t use anyone other than the team at Two Way Cranes. And when Tony was asked by his client to include an enormous 30-foot, $45,000 tree as part of a new four-storey building in Sydney’s busy Chatswood area, he knew there was only one team to call.
And by the way – the new building had already been built.
Tony’s tough… ask anyone.
Clients choose Tony to manage their project because they are confident they’ll receive the kind of first-class result they are looking for.
Be it demolishing and rebuilding a school or a major extension to a well regarded aged care facility, Tony gets the job done – on budget and on time.
Another thing about Tony… he doesn’t suffer fools.
“Over the past 19 years I don’t think a single week has gone by where I haven’t kicked a contractor off my site.
If they’re late, slow, underprepared or just not up to it… they’re off my site immediately.
I am 100% accountable to those who hire me and I can’t use anyone other than the best for my projects.”
But there’s one team that Tony has never – not once – had removed from his site and that’s the team from Two Way Cranes.
This unique working relationship started in the early 90s, where one day a young Frank Zammit literally drove a crane onto one of Tony’s sites in St Mary’s looking for work.
Frank had just one crane at the time and had not yet formally founded his company, Two Way Cranes.
While he may have been a bit short on inventory at that time, he wasn’t lacking in the enthusiasm department.
“That’s how it was back then,” explains Tony. “Young guys would drive around to different sites looking for work. Frank showed up one day with his only crane, so we thought we’d give him a go.
I will only ever hire contractors for my sites who know what they’re doing. I don’t have the time or inclination to stand around and show someone how to do their job.
From that first day with Frank it was clear he was a professional and knew what he was doing, and I can say the same for every member of his team I’ve worked with since.”
A lot has changed since that day. Frank has gone on to establish an impressive business in Two Way Cranes with a fleet that has grown from that first humble machine to 35 cranes.
What hasn’t changed for either of them some 19 years later is the shared work ethic and high standards that demand a quality day’s work each and every time.
This was never more evident than the day Tony’s client wanted a 5-tonne, 30-foot tree in the middle of a building that had already been completed. For Tony, there was only one company to call.
No one could deny, it was a beautiful tree. And if it could be placed in the courtyard it’d be a fantastic addition to the project.
The issue was, however, how were they going to transport this enormous and expensive tree down from Newcastle and raise it over the top of a four-storey building to put it in place?
Oh, and there was zero access to the courtyard since the building had recently been completed. Could it even be done?
“I didn’t know how it could be done, but I just knew it HAD to get done!” Tony wasn’t about to fall short for his client and their last minute request. So he called the only team he could trust. “I called Frank and Maury at Two Way Cranes and just said ‘I need you to sort this out for me’… and they did.”
Frank and Maury quickly devised a plan, drawing on their huge combined experience base, to figure out this jigsaw puzzle. They knew that – being an oversized item – they could only transport the tree down from Newcastle overnight. That was simple enough.
But safely moving this beauty into position through the narrow streets of Chatswood on a busy Saturday morning was going to prove to be even more challenging… let alone lifting it delicately over the four-storey building and laying it down as softly as a butterfly touching felt.
“We knew the local council quite well,” explains Maury from Two Way Cranes. “Within a few days, we had a plan in place to get the access we needed but also to cause as little disruption as possible to the local community.”
The tight streets of Chatswood were a challenge – but surmountable – and before too long they had the tree on-site.
Now the real fun would begin.
“Maury and I did weeks of due diligence on the tree as you can never be too careful when understanding where the weight will distribute once it gets in the air,” explains Frank.
“We felt confident. But the real concern was the uncontrollable elements on the day. Being a tight fit near building walls, if the wind kicked up, we’d need to act quickly.”
Hearts were in mouths as the 5-tonne, 30-foot tree, worth $45,000, began to rise in the air and head toward the newly completed building. Daylight appeared between the old girl and the transport vehicle – like a sleeping baby being lifted delicately as to not wake it before laying it gently back down in its cot.
Proving once again that there’s just no substitute for experience, the team was able to guide the tree down as carefully and as snuggly as a key sliding into a keyhole – as though it was made to be there all along.
The final result? A pleased site manager and a happy client who was none the wiser to the complexities that their request evoked.
“And that’s the way I’d like to keep it,” smiles Tony. “That’s why I’ll always ask Frank and his team onto my sites. I just know the level of professionalism they’ll bring each and every time.
I don’t think anyone else – other than me, knew what mountains they moved behind the scenes to get this done in the time they had,” says Tony. “The permits, coordination… it was a massive effort.”
Moving mountains – or in this case enormous trees – is all in a day’s work for the Two Ways Crane team. It’s how Frank went from owning just one crane that day many years ago when he drove onto Tony’s site looking for work, to a fleet of 35 cranes and a staff of over 100 people.
In a time when every person with an Instagram account claims to be an expert, this team lets their actions do the talking – 19 years of actions, to be precise.
“That extra mile and incredible service have always been Frank’s thing from the first day I met him,” reminisces Tony. ”That’s why he’s part of the family now – because it’s always about the quality of the job.
With Two Way Cranes I never have to tell them what to do; they can do it all without being told. That’s not the case with many contractors, only with the ones you can trust.”