Axinite work clothes: More competition!

THE work clothing market is a highly competitive one, so any new players have to be pretty sure that what you are bringing to the table is not only high quality, but competitively priced. And like all clothing, it projects an image, so purchasers will have favourites for a variety of reasons: look, durability, comfort, etc.

Axinite has hit the ground running with a range of clothing that feels and looks good and performs well.

The basics – trousers

For me, the fit on trousers has to be very good to ensure all-day comfort. Things like avoiding the constant need to pull at the waistband, tuck in my shirt and pull up the knees when I kneel down, are key.

My first impression of the trousers as I opened the pack is that they are well-designed for the intended purpose. Made from heavy duty polyester/cotton fabric, they have reinforced knees, tough fabric lippings on the capacious rear pockets and seven belt loops. They don’t feel lightweight and flimsy, which might be good in summer, but is definitely not what I wanted in the cold and wet we have been experiencing recently.

It was only after I had been wearing them on the jobsite for an hour or two that I started to understand that some of the details on these Axinite trousers are pretty handy. Around the waistband is a grippy strip that helps to keep your shirt tail in when you bend and stretch. I hate the cold draft on my kidneys!

The two front holster pockets are nicely designed to be optional. If you want them, simply undo the press stud and pull them out of the main pockets where they are ready to accept all the usual stuff that I put in them like pencils, knives, a tape measure and work gloves. When tucked in, they function like smaller pockets and don’t get in the way.

There are a few smaller pockets on the legs for rulers and possibly a mobile, but I think you can overdo the pockets (as some brands do) because the combined weight of all the stuff in them can cause discomfort at the waistband. Axinite doesn’t fall into that trap.

One of my design necessities is the capacity to fit kneepads on trousers because, put brutally, my knees hurt after unprotected kneeling on the jobsite. The Axinite kneepads supplied with the sample trousers are made of natural black rubber and strike a good balance – hard enough to not feel every stone under your knee, but soft enough for comfort and relief.

The kneepads are easy to fit and I am told that they can stay in place while the trousers are washed. It is quite rare that kneepads don’t have to be adjusted when you kneel down – usually pulled up a little, to engage with the knees. Mercifully with the Axinite trousers, as I knelt, the pads found their place over my kneecaps. Result!

Some readers may have noticed that we have had quite a lot of rain recently – so I am happy to report that the fabric on these trousers has a slight water resistance that keeps you dry for short exposures to wet kneeling on the floor or rain on the dash to the van. The rubber kneepads don’t act like spongers either.

Overall, I found these trousers practical and comfortable, and I am sure they will be hardwearing. They wash and dry easily making them perfectly suited to the jobsite environment.

Shirts and customisation

Axinite has a couple of shirts in the range – a polo shirt and a T-shirt. I was sent the polo shirt to try. Made of 100% high wicking polyester, it is easy to wash and dry, crease free and comfortable to wear. The side panels in contrasting grey are stretchy and help make it easy to move around and lift your arms.

Even one-man bands like a bit of branding and customisation these days, and Axinite seems to have this down pat. In order to have a logo, badge, name or brand embroidered to an item of clothing, all the user has to do is to supply a design, with colourways if needed, and Axinite will do the rest. It doesn’t matter if the design is a simple picture taken on a mobile phone, Axinite has the technology to stitch the design where you want it. Hence I am now the proud owner of a polo shirt with the new TOOLKIT logo embroidered on the sleeve – look out for it on the videos.

Padded Body Warmer – Perfect for the current weather

I like body warmers to wear on the jobsite. In my view, they are a practical garment that keeps your core warm while allowing your arms freedom of movement. The result is that I have a lot of body warmers with paint, slight tears and glue stains on them. But my Axinite body warmer will go to the pile that will only be worn on ‘clean’ jobs - for the foreseeable, anyway.

With a polyester construction and quality warm padding, it is easy to wash and dry. It is also very light, considering its warmth, so it is comfortable and moves easily while you are working. I like the zipped side pockets that are big enough for gloves, a tape measure and a few other bits besides. Inside there is also a zipped pocket that will easily take a mobile and/or a wallet.

It zips all the way to under the chin and around the back of the neck and is good at keeping draughts out. Generously, Axinite also embroidered the TOOLKIT logo on the chest and it looks good. The embroidery work does not affect the padding and lining of the garment, so users can be assured that performance won’t be compromised.

Use the net

Most people use the internet nowadays so it makes sense to access Axinite via its website where purchasers can order what they need: shoes, shirts, jackets, trousers, fleeces, etc.

For customisation, simply submit your logo or chosen design and let the Axinite people do the work.

In my view, what you get from Axinite is a range of high quality gear that is up to the demands of the jobsite – it is well worth a look.

JCB stops production as global demand for machines reduces

JCB IS today stopping production at all of its UK manufacturing plants as disruption resulting from the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic causes an unprecedented reduction in global demand.

The company is halting production for the rest of this week and the whole of next week at its nine manufacturing plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wrexham. Shop floor employees affected by the move will be paid in full during this period. No decision has yet been taken on what happens from the week commencing Monday, 30 March and beyond. Office staff will continue to work a 39-hour week, with many working from home, in support of the Government’s social distancing policy.

JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said: “These measures are unprecedented in the history of JCB but are absolutely necessary to protect the business. As we continue to deal with the health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more challenging to maintain business continuity in this volatile economic climate.

"JCB is a global exporter and worldwide demand for our products has dropped sharply as customers cancel orders and defer deliveries. This is not just a UK issue, it is worldwide and with countries like France, Spain and Italy going into lock-down, those key markets for construction equipment disappear overnight.

“In light of this fast-changing situation, we need to re-plan our production and, as a result, manufacturing at all UK factories will cease for the rest of this week and all of next week. This will allow us to take stock of the situation, re-plan our order book, prioritise products that are definitely required by customers, and ensure parts and components are reassigned to support the production of these products.”

JCB’s plant in Pudong, near Shanghai, ceased production last month as the impact of the pandemic initially took hold. After several weeks of disruption, the factory is now fully operational again.

KNIPEX's American style linesman’s pliers

LEADING pliers specialist KNIPEX has a range of American Style Linesman’s Pliers, designed to make gripping, pulling and cutting so much easier.

With a solid construction to take the heaviest strain, the KNIPEX Linesman’s Pliers require 50% less effort compared with conventional combination pliers, thanks to its optimised transmission ratio.

The KNIPEX Linesman’s Pliers feature an ergonomically optimised handle shape for firm contact with your hand and has a fatigue-reducing operation. A particularly effective cross-hatched gripping zone in the jaws has also been included to enable strong gripping and pulling.

The range includes versions with a fish tape puller in the joint gap and a universal mandrel crimping point below the joint. KNIPEX also has a version with a tether attachment point for mounting a fall protection – perfect for those tradespeople working at height.

DIY SOS BBC Children in Need special comes to Nottingham

DIY SOS, BBC One’s popular property renovation show, will head to Nottingham later this year to take on a one of a kind build that will benefit a local charity, Community Recording Studio (CRS).

DIY SOS: The Big Build BBC Children in Need Special (working title) will see Nick Knowles, with his trusty team of Mark, Chris, Jules, Billy and designer Gabrielle Blackman convert and expand a rundown youth centre into an exciting and inviting community hub which will include, amongst other things: state-of-the-art recording studios, rehearsal space, educational kitchen facilities and all-weather, outdoor sports facilities, all of which will provide crucial support to some of the city’s most disadvantaged young people.

The Community Recording Studio (CRS) started in 1991 and was founded by a group of local people to teach film, video and music skills to children and young people from across Nottingham who are facing various challenges in their lives. The CRS has occupied a few rooms in the existing Russell Youth Centre for the last 28 years, but the increased demand for their outreach means that they need more space and the centre is in need of a major renovation.

The DIY SOS team, with the help of kind trade volunteers, have big plans to renovate the centre and turn it into a space that will provide much needed outreach and support for some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in Nottingham, whilst also providing a space where they can develop skills in music, video, photography, cooking and exercise in a professional environment and give them the opportunity to reach their potential.

Nick Knowles, presenter of BBC One’s DIY SOS said: “The team and I are delighted to be heading to Nottingham for this Big Build special working with the Community Recording Studio, which helps young people affected by a wide range of issues turn their lives around to build a positive future.

“It’s going to be a huge challenge for us, as it’s a really ambitious build but I know that with the help of the community in Nottingham and beyond we’ll be able to transform this rundown centre into a space that will change young people’s lives. Please get involved if you can.”

Trevor Rose, chief executive and founder of the CRS said: “We’re over the moon to hear that DIY SOS: The Big Build BBC Children in Need Special are coming to Nottingham to renovate our youth centre. Young people from across the community have been coming to the CRS for the last 28 years. We provide a safe haven for many of the young people in our area, some of those are facing issues such as gang violence, knife crime and exclusion from school, and we work with them and support them to help change their attitudes and improve their outlook for the future. With this help from DIY SOS we’ll be able to increase this support further and continue making a positive difference to young lives in the area.”

Simon Antrobus, chief executive of BBC Children in Need added: “We’re delighted that Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team will be in Nottingham later this year for another spectacular Big Build BBC Children in Need Special. The programme changes lives and we know that this one will be no different, leaving a lasting legacy and supporting children and young people to do brilliant things across Nottingham.”

BBC Children in Need has funded Community Recording Studio since 2017. Currently, the CRS uses a three-year grant of £27,140 to deliver creative workshops in music and video skills for young people who are facing various disadvantages and have challenging behaviour. Attending the workshop sessions inspires their creativity and helps to reduce aggressive behaviour, increase their confidence and self-esteem, engages them in positive activities and encourages them to learn new skills.

Across Nottingham, BBC Children in Need currently funds 46 projects to the value of £2.8million supporting disadvantaged children and young people.

DIY SOS charitable builds are hugely ambitious and rely on the generosity of trade volunteers and company donations and so is appealing for tradespeople including; electricians, plumbers, carpenters, plasterers and decorators to offer support with the transformation in September.

Those interested in volunteering  as a professional trade or donating product to this ambitious charitable build should email: [email protected].

Prep work for the build will begin over summer, with the two week build commencing and completing in early September 2020.

The episode will broadcast in November 2020 as part of BBC Children in Need’s 40th celebrations.

iF Design Award for Hultafors Tools

IN addition to the Red Dot Design Award for Workwear, the Hultafors Group has just won the iF Design Award for the Hultafors Snap-Off Knife (SRP18A) and the HDM Dry Marker.

With over 7200 entries from 56 countries, competition was intense. After much deliberation, the 78-member jury - made up of independent experts from around the world – chose Hultafors’ innovative Knife and Marker products as winners in the Tools category for their innovative, ergonomic designs and user-friendly features.

Considered to be one of the world's most prestigious product accolades and renowned as a symbol of innovation and quality for nearly 70 years, the iF DESIGN AWARD has been recognised globally as a hallmark of quality for exceptional product design for nearly 70 years.

Getting information on the Hultafors Tools range is easy. You can call the Hultafors Group UK Helpline on 01484 854788, checkout the website at  or email [email protected] 

CEA weighs Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s first Budget

EARLIER today (Wednesday 11 March), Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his first Budget to Parliament, announcing the government’s spending plans for the following financial year.

Key points from the Budget include:

  • a £5bn emergency response fund to support the NHS in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak; 
  • drastic changes in subsidies for red diesel (Deisel used in off-road vehicles);
  • over £600bn to be spent on roads, rail, broadband and housing by the middle of 2025; and 
  • £27bn for motorways and other key roads, including a new tunnel for the A303 near Stonehenge.


Rob Oliver, chief executive of the Construction Equipment Association (CEA), issued the following reaction:


Rishi Sunak’s first budget statement was rightly underpinnedby action to address coronavirus crisis concerns – something that has an immediate effect on lives and livelihoods. Beyond this there were some good and bad aspects for the construction industry.

Short term measures

The estimated one million small businesses that serve the UK construction industry will receive some welcome short term relief on sick pay obligations and business interruption loans. We don’t yet know, of course, if this will in any way compensate for the possible scale of business disruption over the next few months.

Infrastructure investment

The announcement of £27 billion of investment in the country’s strategic roads network was most welcome – and we will look forward to seeing the detail of this. In his closing remarks, the Chancellor recognised that there was more work to do on the national infrastructure strategy. As recently witnessed over the legal block to the Heathrow expansion, the government refused to support a key infrastructure project.The full promised investment could get delayed or watered down by planning or court constraints unless government really commits. A good opportunity to “get it done”.

Red diesel tax concession to go in 2022

The Chancellor was entirely selective with his statistics in suggesting that off-road red diesel users were responsible for 10% of air pollutants. Ironically, motor vehicles, as the much bigger polluters, will face no tax hike and drivers will continue to pay about 10% less for their fuel compared to the start of the year. The CEA is justifiably proud that its members have reduced harmful engine emissions by over 90%, which coupled with improved fuel consumption is a “green” success. 

Government has promised to consult on the application of this tax change and the CEA looks forward to being part of this process, particularly in support of plant hire companies and contractors who will be alongside us in delivering the promised infrastructure revolution.

Shortlist revealed for hire industry awards

HIRE Association Europe and Event Hire Association (HAE EHA) are excited to announce the shortlist of finalists for the prestigious 2020 Hire Awards of Excellence, from which the chosen few will be crowned winners in the luxurious surroundings of London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Saturday 4 April.

Stand-up comedian and writer Jo Caulfield will host the much-anticipated event celebrating the amazing achievements of hire and supply companies across the UK’s plant, tool, equipment and event hire industry. Crucial recognition is also given to outstanding individuals who have consistently stood out from the crowd and achieved and set some of the highest standards in the industry.

New for 2020 will be an award shining a torch on budding talent, the Young Apprentice of the Year – either Cole O’Donovan of A-Plant or AFI-Uplift’s Luke Dainty will be the inaugural recipient – while the winners of the Apprentice of the Year, Workshop Manager of the Year and Hire Manager of the Year will all be in contention for Hire Achiever of the Year to be announced at the ceremony on the night.

Keeping a close eye on proceedings will be celebrity host Jo. Famous for her one-woman gigs, she has worked on some of the biggest TV and radio shows in British comedy, including Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Just A Minute. Her wonderfully sharp wit is guaranteed to deliver top-notch entertainment at the hire industry showpiece.

The judges had their work cut out choosing the winners against stringent criteria for the 14 hotly contested categories that acknowledge and showcase the very best of the hire industry. Without doubt these awards are the most sought-after accolade within the plant, tool, equipment and event hire sectors.

Graham Arundell, who will be attending his last awards night before standing down as the Chief Executive Officer of HAE and EHA, said: “We’re delighted to have Jo Caulfield as our host, her razor-sharp wit will keep the judges and audience entertained as we prepare for another spectacular event that showcases the very best of the Hire Industry.”


Finalists for this year’s awards are as follows:

Website of the Year – Furniture Hire UK, Inlec UK, MHM Plant

Best Use of New Media – A-Plant, Niftylift, Redpath Tool Hire, Travis Perkins

Best Sustainability & CSR Initiative – A-Plant, Hypertherm Europe BV, Speedy Services

Catalogue of the Year – GAP Group, Hirebase, Travis Perkins

Hire Industry Product of the Year – BISAF for Particulator, GAP Group for AutoHybrid ZERO Welfare Unit, JCB for 19C-1E Mini Excavator, MHM Plant for MGTP 6000 Solar Hybrid Generator, Morris Site Machinery for SMC TL60 Solar, Niftylift for HR17NE, Uni-Prop International for Uni-Prop

Hire Industry Supplier of the Year – Garic Ltd, MCS Rental Software, MHM Plant, Niftylift, Point of Rental Software, Snorkel UK, Trime UK

SafeHire Plant, Tool & Equipment Hire Company of the Year Turnover up to £10m – Didcot Plant Ltd, Dromad Hire, PSM Plant & Tool Hire Centres, Miles Hire, MHM Plant

SafeHire Plant, Tool & Equipment Hire Company of the Year Turnover over £10m – A-Plant, AFI-Uplift, Vp Brandon Hire Station, GAP Group, Smiths Hire, Travis Perkins

SafeHire Event Hire Company of the Year – Live Events, Plato Catering Hire, Site Event

Young Apprentice of the Year – Cole O’Donovan A-Plant, Luke Dainty AFI-Uplift

Apprentice of the Year – Jacob Skeldon A-Plant, William Gleadall AFI-Uplift, Lynsey Matthews Speedy Services, Thomas Sealeaf Vp Brandon Hire Station

Workshop Manager of the Year – Steven Jones MHM Plant, Guy Barnett AFI-Uplift, David Trigg Allens Catering Equipment & Hire  

Hire Manager of the Year – Rachel Savory AFI-Uplift, Rob Thompson GoHire, Barbara Ryman Redpath Tool Hire

Hire Achiever of the Year – To be announced on the night


Tickets are selling fast but limited sponsorship packages and tables are still available.

If you would like to book tickets or find out more about the sponsorship packages please go to or contact the Awards Team on 44 (0)121 380 4605 or email [email protected].

The KNIPEX Electricians Pliers range

LEADING pliers specialist KNIPEX has a range of Electricians Pliers designed for gripping, cutting, stripping and crimping.

The range includes the ideal pliers for cable work, gripping and bending wire. With precision cutting edges, which have been additionally induction-hardened, the pliers’ cutting edge hardness is perfect for cutting medium hard and hard wire.

With precision stripping holes and the ability to crimp wire end sleeves this is the perfect tool for electrical contractors, replacing the need for several pairs of pliers with just one tool.

To complete the range, Model 13 05 160 T is the Tethered Tool version, which can be attached to those electricians who work at height.

Two-thirds of builders ask Chancellor to cut VAT, says FMB

AHEAD of the Chancellor’s first Budget on Wednesday 11 March, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is calling on the Government to cut VAT on home repair and renovation works to boost economic growth nationwide and help level up across the country.

As well as helping to kick start order books, a VAT cut would support local builders’ contribution to the UK’s net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 and preserve Britain’s built heritage.

In its pre-Budget submission to HM Treasury, the FMB, the largest trade association in the UK construction industry, is calling for the labour-element of VAT to be cut from 20% to 5% on repair and renovation works on domestic dwellings. 

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The new Chancellor has a unique opportunity in his first Budget to signal a green, positive outlook for builders who are critical to delivering the homes and infrastructure this country needs.” 

“The fact that nearly two-thirds (59%) of builders say cutting VAT would boost their business sends  a clear message to the Government that if it is wants to deliver sustained economic growth in our building industry this is the single best policy change to achieve that.”

In new data released by the FMB today, 212 out of 357 small to medium-sized building companies sampled told us that the new Government could best support the construction industry by using new freedoms granted by the UK’s exit from the European Union to cut VAT. 

Cutting VAT will also encourage homeowners to invest in the sorts of renovation and retrofit work that the country will need if it is to meet the Government’s target of bringing all homes up to EPC Band C by 2035. Currently just 29% of households meet this test. 

Brian Berry said: “We need a National Retrofit Strategy that sends homeowners and landlords a strong signal to invest in their properties, reduce costs, and cut carbon. Cutting VAT is the key to unlock this and set us on track to achieve Net Zero by 2050 by saving almost 240,000 tonnes of CO2 from 92,000 homes. That means we need to urgently insulate eight million lofts, eight million solid walls and five million cavity walls. Making homeowners more likely to take these steps by cutting VAT would give the Government a good news story ahead of hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) later this year.”

A cut in VAT would also help reverse the trend of left-behind areas and delivering the Government’s commitments to invest in place making. The Government should take up the recommendations of its own Building Better Building Beautiful Commission and align the tax requirements for new and existing buildings.

In its pre-Budget submission, the FMB is also calling on the Government to:

  • Support small to medium-sized house builders by reforming planning fees;
  • Create incentives for low-carbon house builder pioneers; and
  • Review and reform the UK Apprenticeship Levy to ensure construction has the skills it needs.

Total Rental Solutions keeps sites bright

LEADING hirer, Total Rental Solutions, has bolstered its lighting portfolio after investing in excess of £500,000 for Shindaiwa’s Site Bright M1 Series.

A unique portable LED lighting solution, the Site Bright M1 Series is ideal for use in Petro Chemical, Offshore and Hazardous Area Industries. 

Available in 25W and 50W, the M1 can provide up to 9000 lumens of diffused, clear and soft light for any location where there is potential for explosive dust or gas components.

The M1’s unique cable entry system, combined with fitted end cap protection boots, provides unbeatable protection and simple cable replacement for easy maintenance.

Total Rental Solutions – which provides rental equipment to the petrochemical, oil & gas, water, waste, energy, and manufacturing sectors – purchased the lights at the Executive Hire Show in February, and two thirds of the M1 lighting fleet is already out on hire across UK petrol chemical sites, but is also suitable for utility, quarry and mining, offshore and other heavy industry applications.

Total Rental Solutions’ operations director, Peter Gallagher, said: “We have invested in Shindaiwa’s M1 Series because of the superior quality that these lights offer our customers. Safety, robust casing and clear LED efficiency are just some of the essential qualities that these lights deliver over and above the competition.”

At a technical level the lights can operate within extreme temperature variances from -20⁰C to 40⁰C and can provide up to 360⁰ column lighting. The lights can be powered and simply daisy chained for lighting large areas from a single supply cable.

Shindaiwa’s sales director, Tom Page, said: “We have an established relationship with Total Rental Solutions and are delighted with the instant response for the M1 Series. With five years warranty covering the whole light, the M1 Series offers the lowest cost of ownership in class for rental companies and end users.”

Established since 2010, Shindaiwa is celebrating its ten year anniversary and is the sole distributor for Site Bright products across the UK and Ireland. Focused on delivering best performing, quality and durable site solutions, all products are designed to be efficient, eco-friendly and built to last with compliance for all the latest UK and CE guidelines and testing procedures.

Site Bright M1 Series is available now along with a comprehensive range of portable LED pod lights, rechargeable work lights and fixed flood lights. 


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