The Break Fast Show #425

In today’s show: We are talking H2O with JCB; we’re looking at Caterpillar service agreements through the ages; Simex spills the beans on more of its attachment line-up; and Komatsu show off a new prototype wheeled excavator.

PLUS Volvo looks back over a spectacular year.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

In denial over diesel’s imminent demise?

Is the demolition and construction industry in denial over the imminent demise of diesel as the industry’s fuel of choice?

A new poll conducted by DemolitionNews suggests that t just might be.

The Break Fast Show #424

In today’s show: Is the industry in denial over diesel? We have a hyper-lapse film that will stun and amaze you; there’s an exclusive interview with Italian manufacturer Simex, a growing force in the field of attachments; and Sandvik demonstrates the power of electricity.

PLUS there’s no business like snow business.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

Forces gather against Birmingham demolition

There are those that would have us believe that an anti-demolition lobby is the figment of a fevered imagination; that politicians, academics and environmentalists are not working to protect the carbon embodied in the UK’s building stock by favouring retrofitting over rebuilding; that demolition with all its dust, noise and vibration still has a place in the nation’s heart.

The evidence, however, increasingly suggests otherwise. And now, the city of Birmingham has become the latest battleground between those that see demolition as the first-step on the path to progress and renewal; and those that are determined to safeguard the future by protecting the past.

According to the much-respected Architects Journal, campaigners have suggested an alternative to plans that would involve the demolition of Birmingham’s Ringway Centre.

Local organisations Birmingham Modernist Society, Brutiful Birmingham and Zero Carbon House have joined together to set out their alternative vision in a document that is supported by conservation group the Twentieth Century Society.

The 26-page counterproposal outlines the possibility of retrofitting – rather than flattening – the 1962 Ringsway Centre.
The original proposals involved demolishing the Ringway Centre in three phases, replacing it with three new buildings, the tallest of which would be 56 storeys.

Although the Ringway Centre is listed locally as a Grade B heritage asset, the plans would ensure the entire building is demolished – little over six decades since its completion.

Campaigners say this approach is based on both a misunderstanding of the centre’s quality and of environmental considerations – particularly in light of Birmingham’s net zero targets ­­– because of the amount of CO2 that would be released by pulling down the building as well as the construction phase.

“Demolition and extensive new construction are revealed [as] particularly damaging, as they would both cause large and immediate “spikes” in carbon emissions,” the counterproposal explains. “Far from reducing carbon, as City and UK policy requires in the next few years, the proposals would result in a significant increase in emissions.”

Read more here.

Comment – A stain upon the industry

It is shameful that, in the modern world of demolition and construction, men and women are still injured, maimed and killed in the line of duty. It is shameful that such incidents take years to investigate and come to justice. It is shameful that we continue to employ methods that have been found to be hazardous or downright dangerous.

But all of these pale into relative insignificance in the face of the sector’s acknowledgement of an industry-wide mental health epidemic and its subsequent failure to act.

If you think that appointing mental health first aiders and posting a carefully crafted message on social media to mark mental health awareness week means you have addressed the mental health issue, try telling that to the parent, widow or orphan of one of the 500+ working men that take their own lives within the industry each year. I am sure they will find your #mentalhealthaware message deeply reassuring and of great comfort.

The Health and Safety Executive will run entire campaigns to address the hazard of slips and trips that might result in a handful of twisted ankles each year. The industry will spend days, weeks and months devising methods that do not require men and women to work at height, just in case they become one of the dozen or so killed in falls each year. One Tier 1 contractor carried out an intensive study to ascertain if flat boot laces were safer than round boot laces (they are, apparently). And yet, the collective response to a problem that is costing the lives of more than 500 young men each year is a level of virtue signalling that would make even the most “woke” among us seem insensitive and out of touch.

I have said what I am about to say so many times now that I am actually running low on metaphors and analogies with which to explain myself. But here goes anyway.

In the middle of your demolition or construction site, there is an open manhole. If someone were to fall into that manhole, they would be seriously injured. They might even die. Faced with this scenario, do you: (a) cover the manhole; or (b) pop onto LinkedIn and proclaim your manhole awareness?

It is now more than five years since the sheer magnitude of the construction mental health crisis was recognised. At the time, the industry was flying high on a wave of full order books and sector-wide optimism. We are now approaching a period in which full order books may well be replaced by a downturn in demand; when optimism will be replaced by uncertainty and pessimism.

The industry had a suicide rate that was three times the national average then. It is almost four times the national average now. Just how high will that figure climb when lay-offs, redundancies and work shortages really begin to bite. And how high do those figures have to climb before the industry switches awareness to action?

Tune in LIVE right here!

The Break Fast Show is now 422 episodes old. But our 423rd episode is going to be a bit special.

Until now, we have broadcast live to the DemolitionNews Facebook page and to my LinkedIn profile. Then, when the show was over, we would upload the recording to YouTube before displaying it here on DemolitionNews.

That stops on Today. Going forward, the show will be broadcast to directly DemolitionNews live (and to both YouTube and Twitter), as it happens. If you would like to comment or take part in the post-show chat, you will still need to do so via one of our social media channels.

But if you find yourself with nothing to do at 10am on a weekday and would like to consume some industry-related content LIVE, you can now do so right on DemolitionNews.com.

We look forward to seeing you there…well, here!

The Break Fast Show #422

In today’s show: Construction suicides continue to rise; JCB showed off its first hydrogen-fuelled telehandler yesterday and we have some exclusive footage; Komatsu shows off its first all-electric wheel loader; and CASE provides more details of its E Series excavators

PLUS we’re heading back to Bauma in the company of Kobelco.

The Break Fast Show #421

In today’s show: Welcome to the acronym salad and the land of 1,000 umbrellas; Epiroc looks to pulverise the competition; Hitachi engages with the ground; and Komatsu showcases its mine and quarry offering.

PLUS Prinoth prepares for winter.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

CMA prolongs the agony…again

If the Competition and Markets Authority investigation into bid-rigging and price covering within the UK demolition industry has taught us anything, it is that the CMA views deadlines as a movable feast.

Ever since the investigation began back in March 2019, the CMA has promised further updates on no less than six separate occasions. And with the demolition sector hoping for another (and possibly final) update this month, it has done so again.

According to the latest update from the CMA, the next update is now expected in January 2023.

The latest update goes on to say:

On 23 June 2022, the CMA issued a statement of objections provisionally finding that 10 suppliers of demolition and removal of asbestos services breached competition law by taking part in bid rigging, in the form of cover bidding.

The statement is addressed to Brown and Mason Group Limited (as economic successor to the company directly involved in the infringement, Brown and Mason Limited; Cantillon Limited and its parent company, Cantillon Holdings Limited; Clifford Devlin Limited; DSM Demolition Limited and its parent companies, DSM SFG Group Holdings Limited Nobel Midco Limited and Nobel Topco Limited; Erith Contractors Limited and its parent company Erith Holdings Limited; John F Hunt Limited and its parent company John F Hunt Group Limited; Keltbray Limited and Keltbray Holdings Limited (as economic successor to Keltbray’s parent company Keltbray Group (Holdings) Limited); McGee Group (Holdings) Limited and its parent company MFCOIL Limited; T. E. Scudder Limited, P.J. Carey Plant Hire (Oval) Limited and Scudder’s parent company, Carey Group Limited; and Squibb Group Limited.

Eight of the firms – Brown and Mason; Cantillon; Clifford Devlin; DSM; John F Hunt; Keltbray; McGee and Scudder – have admitted their participation in the alleged bid rigging and agreed to pay fines under the CMA’s settlement policy.

Provided they comply with the terms of the settlement, any fines of the settling firms will be discounted to reflect the resource savings to the CMA generated by the firms’ admissions and their cooperation with the CMA’s investigation. The final level of any fines will be decided by a new case decision group, in accordance with the CMA’s administrative process.

Scudder and McGee also reported their involvement in the conduct under the CMA’s leniency policy and will also benefit from a leniency discount on any fines, provided they continue to co-operate and comply with the other conditions of the CMA’s leniency policy.

The CMA’s investigation into two further companies – Erith Contractors Limited and Squibb Group Limited – continues and no assumption should be made that they have infringed the law.

It remains to be seen if the next update in January 2023 finally draws a line under the CMA investigation or whether there will be a further prolonging of the agony.

However, it now appears that the fallout from the investigation that has named only National Federation of Demolition Contractors’ member companies will now land squarely (and unfairly) in the lap of president-elect John Lynch.

Caterpillar World Premiere

Caterpillar, the world’s largest manufacturer of construction equipment, is producing a series of films featuring its capabilities within the highly-specialised field of demolition.

In conjunction with Caterpillar, DemolitionNews will be hosting the world premiere of the first of these films during an exclusive Watch Party TONIGHT at 7pm (UK time).

You can watch the film, comment, ask questions and – if you watch via YouTube – you can also enter a competition to potentially win some Caterpillar-branded merchandise too.

So be sure to set aside some time in your diary for this world premiere event.