Brace Civil Engineering was initially a plant hire business although historically their background was in civil engineering. In recent years they have focused on the civil engineering sector and water and waste water engineering, supplying and installing sewerage treatment plants and associated underground water mains.

“Our first involvement with Hyundai was following the demise of a local plant dealer we had dealt with previously, which meant we became more involved with Ernest Doe with whom we had always had a good relationship with for many years previously anyway,” says Chris Brace.

“As our company has grown so has our need to purchase larger bits of kit and with our regular dealers now gone, we now use Doe’s almost exclusively for our machinery requirements.”

However, not having had any dealings with Hyundai previously, Doe’s were keen to show Chris what the manufacturer and the product is all about.

“When we originally started discussing machine options with Chris he was looking at updating a 13 tonner, but we had a number of options he could look at like the new HX130LCR, the HX145LCR or the conventional tail swing HX140L, says Ernest Doe’s Area Sales Manager Rob Freestone. “With this in mind we decided to invite Chris to visit the factory in South-Korea to see the full line up of products, get hands on with them and to see first-hand what Hyundai is all about as a manufacturer and what the future is for the manufacturer.”

“We were at the Hyundai factory and they started rolling out the machines onto the demo area and we were asked to smile for the camera’s and to shout Hyundai! I decided to shout out the traditional old English saying, Tough as Old Boots, which caused a few ears to prick up, especially those of Alain Worp, Managing Director of Hyundai Heavy Industries Europe, who asked me what I had just said, so I explained it’s an old saying meaning something is strong, durable, tough and generally up to the job and that’s how it started. A bit of English craic and by the end of the trip everyone was walking around shouting ‘Tough as Old Boots’ it was absolutely brilliant!”

On the back of all the Brace lorries they have the slogan “A Lovely Ol Job” and now they are planning on having “Tough as Old Boots” on the back of the Hyundai HX140L that they have recently taken delivery of, as a mark of their confidence in the machines ability and durability.

“We’ve invested in this HX140L which is our very first Hyundai, so far we have found it to be an extremely good machine which knocks spots off all the other makes we currently run,” says Brace.

“We’ve been so impressed with it, not only by the build quality and the power of it, but more importantly by the built-in safety aspects like the AAVM (Advanced Around View Monitoring) cameras, overload warning system and Smart Start immobiliser, it’s really fully loaded as standard so whatever job-site it lands on it ticks all the boxes from a health and safety perspective.”

Operating the new Hyundai is Chris’s oldest son Owen Brace, a great forward-thinking operator who uses the technology built into the machine to get the best out of it. Chris hinted at a problem with older operators being put off by the modern technology which is increasingly being adopted in the machines these days, often preferring to stick with the older models, but Owen has certainly embraced the technology especially the Leica 2D laser system that they have had fitted to this new machine. The company is keen to embrace modern technology and anything that cuts down costs and saves money in the long run is looked into. Owen also likes to tailor the machine to his own individual needs by using the myriad of setting options available in the menu display.

“It’s a very good machine and has been very reliable so far, it’s excellent for grading – it’s very smooth on the joysticks and incredibly quiet in operation, which is very important when working in some of the noise sensitive places we work,” says Owen Brace. “There is great all-around vision not just via the large glazed areas but also via the in-cab monitor and the views from the various cameras that are fitted.”

“I was a tad sceptical in the first instance but having seen what I saw in Korea and now using Hyundai – I am now fully embracing the Hyundai machines, which really are proving to be Tough as Old Boots!”