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Feature Article


When MDL needed to tool up quickly, it chose the best trucks for the job – all from within the Daimler family

Unforeseen variables are plentiful in the world of property development and, when you’re dealing with phone number-sized sums of money, things can go sideways fast.

That’s why Murphy’s Development Ltd, which broke ground on 25-hectare and 130-hectare residential sites Ormiston Rise and Mangawhai Central in late 2019, supported the creation of its own civil contracting outfit, MDL Civil.

MDL Civil chief operating officer Amy Osborne says its model allows greater flexibility and cost management when unplanned situations arise.

“Rather than being beholden to contractors, like many developers, we are the masters of our own destiny,” she says. “When the work needs to be done, we can get on with it and add subbies as required. If we need to slow work down, there no additional costs and we can reallocate resource accordingly.”

As a new entrant into the market MDL Civil needed to tool up quickly and Amy was pleasantly surprised by the response she received from Keith Andrews.

“As a woman, I don’t always get taken seriously by the construction sector. We needed some support through the process and James Hudson-Owen [Head of Sales - Mercedes-Benz at Keith Andrews] was really helpful as we worked on getting the specifications nailed down,” says Amy. “All we really knew at the beginning is we wanted reliability and good quality.

“The point of starting the company was to have more control, and to have more control you need to know that things are going to work, which has determined what machines and brands we pick.”

Those brands are a Daimler mix of three Mercedes-Benz Arocs truck and trailer units, an Actros transporter, and 11 FUSO Canter and Fighter units supporting over 45 earthmoving machines.

Specifically designed for rugged off-road site works with high approach and ramp over angles and full cross locks, the Arocs units – one 2651 and two 2653 models – are fitted with steel T&G bodies. They all tow four-axle steel-bin trailers on 46 tonne stickers; 10.5T on the truck and 17.5T on the trailer

“The Arocs units, which we added between March 2019 and July 2020, have done exactly what we expected of them, we’re really pleased,” says Amy.

“An added benefit to getting the new trucks is that drivers are keen to join us. One came to us because he’d seen the Mercs on site and said he’d work for us if he could drive one!”

Through its experience in land development, MDL Civil is able to take developments from green fields right through to build-ready platforms, which Amy says is quite unique in the industry.

“Not many companies do both bulk earthworks and civil works,” she says. “We do retaining walls, kerbing; pretty much everything bar asphalt we do inhouse. We then use sub-contractors to cover demand peaks.

“We have just signed up our first contract independent of Murphy’s Developments, which will kick off later this year and we’re in discussions with a number of others.

“Part of our vision is to be a full service solution-focused business. With our experience across the development process, we can work with developers and engineers to mitigate, alleviate, or plan for unforeseen circumstances rather than charging an arm and a leg for variations, which inevitably happen.”

With the support of Keith Andrews and its fleet of Mercedes-Benz and FUSO product, MDL has laid solid groundwork to realise its vision – including a near-doubling of its 120-strong workforce in the next 12-24 months. Expect to see more MDL trucks at work in the near future!

Check out the Arocs range here