Moving with the Beat

Dynamic Excavations was founded on the Gold Coast in 2003 with a view to resolving a long-standing issue that was endemic in the building and civil construction industries. For many years the company’s director, Andy Smith, saw contractors struggle – and often fail with disastrous consequences – to accurately locate delicate and expensive underground services while delivering their works.

Andy knew there was an easier, safer and far more accurate way, so he launched Dynamic Excavations and pioneered the groundbreaking hydro-excavation solution in the Gold Coast region.

From that day forward the business has been characterised by continual change and progress, typified by diversification of its repertoire to include specialised technical services such as CCTV inspections and recording, truck and asset monitoring, underground services location and mapping, in addition to non-destructive digging.

The company has since significantly expanded its footprint on the east coast of Australia, having established additional facilities in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and the Sunshine Coast.

By way of explanation, hydro-excavation is a two-part process using highly pressurised water jetting to penetrate and break up the earth and a high-volume vacuum pump to suck up the dirt and water slurry that is then collected in the truck-mounted tank and subsequently disposed of at a specialised waste management site.

This method is widely acknowledged as the safest for excavating around delicate underground services including mains power, sewer, telecommunication and fibre optic cables.

Isuzu trucks have been a mainstay of the operation’s fleet over the last 17 years and the latest pair of FVD 165-300 4×2 units have been purpose-built with an extra-long wheelbase to accommodate the hydro-vac equipment and tank at the rear and a compact excavator and fold down ramps at the front.

As a result, the unit is fully equipped to perform both the hydro-excavation and other tasks requiring an excavator such as backfilling and lifting valves or other heavy items required for the jobs.

“The airbag rear suspension and the longer wheelbase were two essential requirements for us,” said Dynamic Excavations’ Chief Financial Officer, Brad Allen, in reference to the two new Isuzus. “While the majority of our fleet of vacuum trucks are the standard format, these two each carry a 1.9-tonne excavator. To accommodate this, we used a shorter 3,000-litre tank and installed a cradle setup to carry the excavator and its attachments. There are also two large rectangular fresh water tanks, mounted each side of the main tank, to supply water for the jetting guns.” 

The new units are kept busy, according to Brad, doing emergency callouts and scheduled maintenance work right across the vast region managed by Gold Coast City Council.      

“They are the busiest trucks in our fleet due to their versatility,” he says. “They work non-stop on council callouts and planned maintenance jobs all over the place.”

The trucks were supplied by Gold Coast Isuzu while the tanks and pumping equipment were supplied and fitted by STG Global at Yatala on Brisbane’s southside. Brad says the company has supplied this type of equipment for the bulk of the vacuum truck fleet.

“Ideally, we’d like to build another two of these trucks for our southern states branches to service the council work,” he says.

“Because they do such a great job they are always in demand.”

Brad has glowing praise for the Isuzu trucks, saying they have been totally reliable and capable in handling the busy and often heavy workload.

“Most of the fleet is Isuzu and we find running the same brand across the board is the best solution for our needs,” he says.

“We have roadside assistance plans for changing flat tyres and that works well. Gold Coast Isuzu does all the scheduled maintenance and are good to deal with. We also buy the trucks for our other branches from them and have the bodies fitted by STG Global.”

Having the right operator for this type of specialised equipment is paramount. According to Brad, Lee Gray is one of the company’s longest serving and most experienced operators who takes immense pride in both his work and the appearance of the truck. Lee has been employed by Dynamic Excavations for the last seven years and has worked his way up through the ranks.

“I’m now doing primarily Gold Coast City Council work with the excavator and hydro-vac truck,” Lee says. “It’s a tidy bit of kit and it works really well.”
He explains the Isuzu FVD 165-300 has plenty of power and is the right size for most of the jobs he does, although the long wheelbase means negotiating tight turns and narrow streets, which does require extra care.

“The previous truck I drove was a bit shorter but that meant all the equipment wasn’t laid out as well as this one,” he says. “The extra storage boxes are great – everything is where I need it to be.

“The only issues I’ve had with the truck were the radio and the chrome on the grille which bubbled in one small area. But Isuzu were straight onto it and had it fixed in no time. Apart from that, it’s been trouble free.”

Having previously only driven manuals, Lee admits to initially being less than enthusiastic about the prospect of driving an automatic. However, he was pleasantly surprised at the responsiveness of the six-speed Allison automatic coupled with the 300hp engine.

“It has a power mode so when you push the button it really gets up and goes,” he says. “It’s proved itself in every way.”

The 4×2 is more suited to negotiating the tight streets where a 6×2 or 6×4 would struggle. A lot of the bounce common to the application has been offset by the rear air suspension.

“It really is a comfortable truck to drive,” he says. “The interior is easy to keep clean and the cab is a very pleasant environment when driving between jobs.”

Isuzu has a strong reputation for manufacturing robust and reliable medium-duty trucks in a range of sizes to suit most applications and for Dynamic Excavations, the Isuzu FVD 165-300 is just the ticket for its hydro-excavation operations.

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