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Breaking News – Martin Morrell departs NDTG…

Training group parts company with operations manager.

DemolitionNews understands that Martin Morrell, the operations manager of the National Demolition Training Group (NDTG), has left the training group.

In a cryptic message posted on his LinkedIn profile page, Morrell said that he was “looking for a new challenge”. In a brief conversation, Morrell confined that he had parted company with the NDTG, citing the fact that the Hemel Hempstead base is a long way from his home in Norfolk.

Regardless of the circumstances, Morrell’s departure will be a loss. Although he was in his post for approximately one year, Morrell brought with him an enormous amount of experience, knowledge of the demolition industry’s specific training requirements, and – just as importantly – an in-depth knowledge of industry training regimes having previously worked alongside the NDTG as a training group support co-ordinator at ConstructionSkills.

The timing of his departure is equally unfortunate. The National Demolition Training Group is actively seeking to manage and administer its own industry-specific training card scheme, a process that would have benefitted from Morrell’s extensive experience.

Troubled Tottenham towers to topple…

Broadwater Farm blocks earmarked for demolition amidst collapse fears.

More than 200 homes on the Broadwater Farm estate in north London are at risk of catastrophic collapse and all the families are to be urgently moved out following tests carried out in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Two residential blocks, which were completed in the early 1970s are among 11 buildings on the Tottenham estate that failed structural tests, are the most seriously affected and are likely to be demolished.

The tests uncovered serious structural failings, which make the homes vulnerable to collapse in the event a gas pipe or gas canister explodes or a vehicle strikes the base of the buildings. Tangmere House, a six-storey block, and Northholt, an 18-storey block, are those worst affected.

The estate was the scene of riots in 1985 in which PC Keith Blackelock was killed. Its blocks were built using the same large-panel system used on Ronan Point, where a gas explosion in 1968 caused progressive collapse, killing four people.

The type of tests the buildings failed were initiated following that disaster but the problems at Broadwater Farm were only uncovered in the last 12 months.

“Neither Tangmere nor Northolt can remain occupied long-term as they are in their current structural state,” the London Borough of Haringey said in a report into the problems. “The presence of piped gas in Tangmere continues to pose a health and safety risk to residents. Tangmere failed structural tests, which means there is a risk of progressive collapse from an explosion caused by piped gas or from an explosion from a lower impact event such as a vehicle strike or bottled gas explosion.”

Read more here.

Video – No bounce-back for Rubber Bowl…

Demolition underway on Akron’s famous stadium.

For almost 80 years, the Rubber Bowl stadium has played host to American football. From its opening in 1940 until 2008, it served as the home field of the Akron Zips football team of the University of Akron prior to the opening of InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field. Throughout its history, it has also hosted concerts, professional football, high school football, and other events. It was named after the predominance of the tire industry in Akron. The stadium had a seating capacity of 35,202.

But it’s coming down.

Louisville-based Eslich Wrecking Co is managing partial demolition of the Rubber Bowl. About 60 percent of the stadium will be torn down by the end of October.

Crews are beginning with the press box and the side abutting Derby Downs, because engineers determined them to be the most dangerous sections. The side nearest George Washington Boulevard will be left intact as it can’t be removed without disrupting the roadway, engineers have said.

Keltbray tackles asbestos on soils…

Industry giant launches new training initiative.

Keltbray Group has announced the launch of a unique Asbestos in Soils training course, the first of its kind in the UK.

It sets out to combine theory and practice in Keltbray’s new training centre at Silvertown in east London, where the company has built a specially designed practical training area that has been modelled on a typical brownfield site. This means delegates can test their newly acquired theoretical skills in practice and carry out mock excavation exercises to assess and monitor for asbestos contaminants in soil. The course has been designed by Keltbray Remediation; a specialist division of Keltbray Group, which provides remediation solutions for brownfield sites, in partnership with the leading engineering, design, and environmental consultancy, Ramboll.

“The Asbestos in Soils module can be attended as a stand-alone one-day module. It can also be attended in addition to our one-day UKATA-approved Non-Licensed Work with Asbestos (Category B) training course.”

The Asbestos in Soils training course is targeted at contractors that operate in the areas of earth works, demolition, civils and housebuilding, as well as consultants that undertake intrusive works through site investigation, and Environmental Health Officers from regulators, such as the Environment Agency and local authorities.

The course has been extensively piloted, combining a half day desk-based theory session that covers legislation, decontamination, testing, permitting and best practice handling followed by a half day of practical workshops using role play and ‘real life’ scenarios covering decision making and disposal options which has been well received.

“Dealing with asbestos in soils is an increasing challenge as we start to remediate brownfield sites that pre-date year 2000, when asbestos was widely used in the construction of industrial or residential buildings and refurbishments. The most hazardous forms of asbestos were used in fireproofing, insulation, pipe lagging and corrugated roofing sheets and other exterior cladding materials, and they were often just buried as part of demolition works before asbestos prohibition laws came into force,” explained Keltbray Remediation Managing Director, Joe Jackson.

Every week approximately 20 tradespeople in the UK die from diseases caused by exposure to asbestos fibres. With experts predicting the UK’s annual death rate from asbestos of around 5,000 (Health & Safety Executive Asbestos Danger) is set to soar in the next five years.

“Asbestos is deadly if not handled correctly. As experts in the handling of asbestos-containing materials, we are therefore pleased to launch this training facility to help highlight the dangers of asbestos in soils and provide training to those who are likely to come into contact with these materials, so they know how to handle it,” Joe continued.

If you are interested in attending one of Keltbray’s Asbestos in Soil courses, you can sign up via this link: Keltbray Training Services

Jobs – JBV Demolition recruiting across the board…

Do you know anyone in the demolition industry who is looking for a new challenge? JBV Demolition is looking to fill the following positions:

  • Gold Card Supervisors
  • Topmen
  • Machine Drivers

And others with demolition skills

Please contact our office for further details and to submit your CV.

Call Tel: 0151 424 3229 or email:

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Audio – Loneliness of the demolition man…

Demolition News Radio looks at the issue of isolation when working away from home.

Under normal circumstances, I tend not to publish our audio content here. We figure that if you want to listen to a podcast, then chances are that you will do so through a dedicated app on your smartphone.

However, earlier today, we uploaded a new episode of Demolition News Radio entitled “The loneliness of the long-distance demolition man” and it has been met with such a HUGE amount of support and agreement that I thought that – in this instance – it merited wider distribution.

I’ll warn you now; it’s not a cheery episode. As the title suggests, it looks at the issue of loneliness and isolation among demolition men and women working away from their friends and families for protracted periods of time. Judging by the feedback the show has received already on LinkedIn and Facebook, it appears that this is an issue worthy of wider discussion.

HSE fine fires HAVs warning…

Balfour Beatty hit with half a million pound penalty.

Balfour Beatty has been fined £500,000 after workers in its utilities business were put at risk of developing hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) over a nine-year period.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that between 2002 and 2011 Balfour Beatty failed to minimise the use of handheld power tools, such as hydraulic breakers and floor saws, or assess and monitor their workers’ exposure to HAVS.

The HSE said the company also failed to report to the authorities a number of cases of employees being diagnosed with HAVS.

HAVS, also known as white finger, is a permanent condition that affects the nerves and blood vessels in the hands, which can make it hard to grip small objects.

The ruling came at a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court, which heard that workers at the company’s sites were regularly exposed to hand-arm vibration while operating tools.

Click here
Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

The company was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £195,000.

HSE inspector Christine Mellor said: ”The company failed to heed warnings. Early health surveillance detected ill health but still this was not acted upon to prevent ongoing exposure.

“This is a particularly serious case because of the extent and duration of failures. The breaches were repeated over several years and this resulted in persistent poor compliance.”

A spokesman for Balfour Beatty said: “The shortcomings in processes identified in this case took place many years ago and were addressed prior to the start of the investigation by the HSE.

”The judge acknowledged both this and that there was no evidence of anyone coming to harm as a result.

“Balfour Beatty takes its responsibilities both for Health and Safety extremely seriously.”

The Control of Vibration a Work Regulation was introduced in 2005.

As part of Balfour Beatty’s Zero Harm health and safety plan, the company said it is working to prevent any new cases of HAVS.

Video – Cooling towers tumble at the double…

Onlookers cheer as twin towers tumble.

A pair of identical, 462-foot towers were imploded at St. Johns River Power Park in Jacksonville, Florida yesterday.

Preparation took about 10 weeks for the implosion. It was over in just more than 10 seconds. More than 1,500 pounds of dynamite and 12,000 linear feet of detonation were used according to media reports.

Video – We’ve come a long way…

Film from 1971 shows the progress the industry has made.

If you left site yesterday a little disappointed by the aroma of the new anti-bacterial handewash in your site toilet; a tad upset that the site canteen didn’t have your preferred brand of decaf coffee; or just a teeny bit angry that your hard hat made you noggin a little sweaty, you might want to take a look at this film for a reality check.

This was filmed in 1971 in Kensington, London; that less than 50 years ago. And yet barely any of the practices on display would be permitted today.

Bumper book bonanza…

Massive book order demonstrates industry’s commitment to the future.

It’s more than four years since our children’s book – My Dad Does Demolition – went on sale. And the industry’s appetite for the book shows no signs of abating. In fact, we are in the process of fulfilling our largest batch of orders ever, with more than 500 books ordered in a single week.

The books have been ordered by a number of UK demolition contractors to support their work in their local community and to be used at school open days. And it is hoped that the book might help inspire the next generation of demolition men and women.

“I am delighted that My Dad Does Demolition continues to sell and I am delighted that it is selling in such huge numbers,” says co-author Mark Anthony. “The book had been reprinted four times before we switched to a print-on-demand service through Amazon, allowing the global book retailing giant to handle the book on our behalf. I was expecting to sell one or two copies per month by now.”

The timing of the massive order coincides with another book development. “I attended the ‘one year to go’ media event for PlantworX 2019 and I have agreed to donate copies of our other children’s book – My Dad Drives a Digger – for the show’s student day,” Anthony continues. “Despite atrocious weather, PlantworX 2017 attracted more than 300 children and PlantworX 2019 is hoping to increase that number still further, inspiring another generation of digger drivers and enthusiasts. And we’re delighted to be a part of that effort.”

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