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AECC future in question…

Councillors to discuss demolition of Aberdeen exhibition centre.

Plans to demolish the current Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) to build almost 500 homes are going back before councillors.

Councillors voted to approve an application to demolish the Bridge of Don concert venue in December 2015.

The plans also involve the creation of a mixed-use development on the site including 498 homes, commercial and business space, a recycling centre and park and ride facility.

Members of Aberdeen City Council’s planning committee will reconsider the application due to a change in the developer obligations due.

Henry Boot Developments is now required to make a contribution of £509,738 towards healthcare provision.

Planning officers are again urging councillors to approve the plans conditionally with permission to be withheld until a legal agreement has been signed to secure developer obligations relating to primary education, community facilities, sports and recreation, transportation and now healthcare.

A new £333 million exhibition centre is being built at Bucksburn to replace the Bridge of Don venue.

Read more here.

Video – Ohio power plant popped…

Crowd watches partial demolition of AEP Ohio power plant in Beverly.

Dozens of people watched the demolition of a water cooling tower and a smoke stack on Friday at the former AEP Muskingum River Power Plant in Beverly, Ohio.

The coal-fired power plant was in operation for more than 60 years, until it closed in 2015.

A final demolition at the site is scheduled for June 2, 2018, when the remaining smokestacks and buildings will be torn down.

Comment – Where are our thought leaders…?

In search of the left-field, outside the box, blue sky thinkers that will shape the sector.

Sci-fi writer and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke – is widely credited as having first conceived the notion of what we now know as a “space station”. Although it was a subject he would revisit in his 1952 novel “Islands in the sky”, Clarke first expounded the notion in a paper he wrote in 1945 during the latter days of the Second World War, a full 24 years before mankind took its giant leap and set foot on the moon.

In his book The Road Ahead, Microsoft founder Bill Gates envisioned a world in which people would carry what he described as “wallet PCs”; wallet-sized personal computers that could connect to the Internet, take photos, take the place of personal ID documents such as a driving license, and which would contain “digital money” that would – at least partially – replace cash. That book was published in 1995, more than a decade before the first iPhone was released.

It is possible that fact was created to mirror fiction. But there is no question that both Clarke and Gates are exceptional minds with an innate ability to perceive future challenges and imagine future solutions. They are thought leaders in the very truest sense of the term.

So where are ours? Where are the forward-thinkers of the demolition industry; the smart minds that are solving today the problems of tomorrow? Sadly, I am not sure we have any.

Of course, it helps that Arthur C. Clarke was a writer of fiction and who, therefore, spent a large part of his time imagining and thinking. And Bill Gates – the on/off richest man in the world – could take time out to ruminate about a possible future, safe in the knowledge that the millions would continue to roll into his back account regardless.

But so much of our time in this industry is spent dealing with the challenges and pitfalls of today that we barely have a moment to plan next week or next month, let alone conceive wildly ambitious plans for 10 or 20 years’ hence.

Yet, if we are to have any hope of meeting the looming challenges of tomorrow, we need to start work today.

We all know that the world today no longer has a tolerance for accidents of any kind, and we have already seen man moved further and further from the demolition work face. So should we not be gathering together the best minds of the industry and imagining a world in which demolition sites are a human-free zone (you might like to check out my book Demolition 2051 if this is something you’re into).

We are each surrounded by increasingly tall megastructures that sooner or later will need to be demolished and dismantled. While some of these buildings – like The Shard in London or the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – will be granted a degree of exemption because of their iconic status, many commercial buildings in the world’s big cities now have a life expectancy of just 25 to 30 years. Using those maths, there is probably a young demolition worker out there today who, at some point in his or her working life, will find themselves tasked with taking down The Shard, The Gherkin or any one of the ludicrously-named towers that loom large over London today.

And thanks to the advent of Building Information Modelling (BIM), we can now see precisely how a structure of today was erected, fixed and fastened and what materials were used in its construction. So rather than bitching and whining about the inappropriate use of composite materials that will be difficult to process and recycle, how about we spend the next 20 or so years devising a viable solution so we’re actually ready when the need arises?

Many moons ago, quite possibly in the last century, I interviewed attachments pioneer Toni Verachtert who had helped create and develop many of the tools we now take for granted. During that interview, he envisaged the demolition and recycling landscape of the future; a future of modular buildings that could be assembled, disassembled and reassembled mechanically; a future of attachments designed not to break and destroy but to manipulate and safeguard.

It is precisely that kind of left-field, outside the box, blue sky, spit-balling imagination that we need right now.

If this article has resonated with you, you might also like to check out our latest audio podcast – Forging a new path – in which I explain why there has never been a better time to develop new equipment, techniques and methodologies. You can listen to that show here.

Nice work if you can get it…

Alaskan Way Viaduct contract comes in at $93.7 million.

A contractor has been chosen to demolish the old Alaskan Way Viaduct, a 3 km overpass that runs through the city of Seattle and which is fast approaching its annihilation.

Kiewit Infrastructure West submitted the winning bid at $93.7 million, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced this week.

“It will be challenging to tear down a major highway in the heart of a booming city, but we’re looking forward to getting it done safely and as quickly as possible,” said WSDOT program administrator Brian Nielsen.

Demolition crews must cut and break apart brittle concrete within 25 feet of tech offices, a homeless-service center, historic brick buildings and a new apartment tower.

Screens or curtains are required, as are methods to limit ground vibrations. The state wouldn’t release technical details until a final contract is signed and more engineering is done.

Kiewit’s bid price is above WSDOT’s $83 million engineer’s estimate and within the agency’s planning range of $80 million to $100 million, spokeswoman Laura Newborn said.

The viaduct, which once carried more than 100,000 cars per day, will close permanently this fall, about three weeks before the new Highway 99 tunnel opens, bypassing downtown between Sodo and South Lake Union. During those weeks, surface ramps will be connected to the tunnel.

Major demolition would occur from January and last several months.

Read more here.

Firm fined over scaffolder injury…

Worker struck by concrete panel during link bridge demolition.

A demolition company has been fined after a worker suffered multiple injuries when he was struck by a concrete spandrel panel.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how Vale Park Demolition Services Limited was contracted to demolish a link bridge structure at Littleborough Primary School, Rochdale. On 29 October 2015, an employee of GT Scaffolding North West Limited was struck by a concrete panel weighing approximately 500kg when he was removing scaffolding that was placed in front of the final part of the link bridge that was due to be demolished. He suffered from a broken right shoulder, five broken ribs, three fractures to the spine, a punctured lung and a broken left foot.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the work was not suitably planned and the stability of the panel was not appropriately considered when removing the scaffolding.

Vale Park Demolition Services Limited of Hazelbottom Road, Crumpsall, Manchester pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,397.64.

Video – Our biggest MailTime to date…

Your chance to win a bumper bag of Intermat goodies.

Late last night, the competition to win the contents of our two Steelwrist-branded goodie bags closed; and we’re pleased to announce that the winners are Paul Clarke and Jaidan Hill (and Jaidan, if you’re reading this, we need your postal address and emails keep bouncing back!)

And so, it’s time to kick-start what amounts to our biggest and most valuable MailTime competition yet. As you will see from the video, the latest goodie bag contains items such as virtual reality goggles, wireless headphones, safety goggles, a machine model, more hats than you will ever wear and enough USB thumb drives for you to download the entire contents of DemolitionNews with memory space to share.

Entering could not be easier – Just follow the instructions in the video and send your answer to the world’s easiest question to The winner will be selected at random from the correct entries received. The competition will close on Friday 1 June 2018.

Jail sentence for waste criminal…

Persistent waste criminal jailed for 26 months.

An estimated 26,000 cubic metres of waste was taken to an airfield in the West Midlands to be dumped, buried or burned illegally during the offending period. The waste consisted mainly of construction and demolition materials, including aluminum products which is classified as hazardous.

In a case brought by the Environment Agency, John Bruce was sentenced for six charges in relation to unpermitted waste activity at Ridgeway Park Farm, Throckmorton Airfield, Worcestershire. The court also ordered confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Bruce, who trades as UK Plant Services, operated under a fradulent waste carriers registration number. Heavy goods vehicles and articulated tippers removed waste from construction sites and permitted waste sites around the West Midlands. This was then deposited at the farm and disposed of on an industrial scale by burning and burial.

Over the course of the illegal operation, several high risk fires were reported causing misery for local residents, endangering health and causing air pollution. Responding to complaints from local residents, Environment Agency officers met with Bruce on a number of occasions, conducting site inspections and enforcing environmental regulations. Warnings were issued following evidence that burning had been taking place on the site.

Despite numerous efforts to work with Bruce, all enforcement actions from the EA and the local fire service were ignored.

In sentencing, the Judge commented that this was serious environmental offending and that there was a clear need for a deterrent sentence, although consideration was given for pleading guilty and avoiding a full trial.

Video – Matthews goes back to school…

Time-lapse video captures demolition alongside live school building.

Sussex-based Matthews Group recently completed a sensitive project alongside a live school building in Acton, West London.

The scheme was an enabling contract to separate the two storey entrance buildings and a first floor pedestrian link bridge from the main school building, in advance of the complete redevelopment of the area.

“We were on site for eight weeks and contracted directly by the ESFA to undertake these works,” says development manager Robert Williamson. “The remaining school remained live and we had to deal with all of the usual trials and tribulations, asbestos and CFC foam work.”

Video – Shenango stacks shenangone…

Blast fells relic of Pittsburgh’s industrial past.

Stalwarts of Pittsburgh’s more industrial time, the Shenango smokestacks, passed into the history books with an echoing blast and a crushing fall to the ground on Tuesday.

“The blast went as well as planned, and the weather cooperated, “said Independence Demolition General Superintendent Rich Wilk.

“The demolition was completed without any issues,” Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker said. “Wind direction forced the dust that was created from the implosion away from the Sewickley and Ben Avon boroughs, and the dust settled within a few minutes. Based on the first set of hourly data that we received from the Avalon monitor, the implosion had no impact.”
The smokestacks are in piles now and the cleanup of the site will continue for a couple more years.”

Crew gets nasty surprise…

Work halted after body falls out of building.

A man’s body fell out of a home on North Calhoun Street in west Baltimore’s Sandtown Tuesday morning as crews worked to demolish the building.

Detectives processed the scene as the coroner removed the body.

The medical examiner still needs to identify the man and determine a cause of death, but police told FOX45 there were signs of trauma.

“We do believe some trauma was found on the body, but was that trauma the reason this person was deceased? That’s something we have to wait on to find out,” said Baltimore police spokesperson T.J. Smith.

About an hour after the body was found, demolition crews went right back to work.

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