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Comment – United in Sadness

I promised myself that I would not comment upon the Didcot disaster again this year.

With investigators still sifting through almost 900 tonnes of material evidence, the police have issued a well-meaning but ultimately meaningless statement that offers no new insight; no sense that the investigation is nearing its conclusion; and no closure for the families of the four men so tragically killed. The interminable six-month wait those families endured while the bodies of their loved ones were recovered has subsequently been compounded by an even longer wait for answers as to why those four men – Michael Collings, John Shaw, Kenneth Cresswell, and Christopher Huxtable – died so needlessly.

Eventually, we might all learn precisely what happened on that fateful day. There is a possibility that this insight might allow the global demolition industry to embrace safer methodologies, to seek out new ways to carry out demolition that remove men and women from the work face one and for all. It is also possible that the lessons learned from that single tragic incident might be applied during the demolition of the world’s remaining coal-fired power stations and that they will be dismantled without incident as a result. All of that will have to wait, however, while the wheels of justice grind slowly to a conclusion. Any attempt to speculate or make assumptions now could prejudice the inevitable court case that will likely follow the investigation; and that would merely prolong the suffering of the four families whose patience and integrity has already been tested enough.

What we can take away from that fateful day now, however, is the industry’s response in the immediate aftermath; a response that is repeated up and down the country and across the demolition world as each anniversary of the Didcot disaster dawns.

No incident in the global demolition business has united the industry more. The tragedy crossed personal, company, trade association and national and international borders to bring the industry together as one in sadness and in respect. And while I would gladly swap all that to return those four men to their families and friends safe and well, THIS must be their legacy.

So whether you choose to mark the third anniversary of the Didcot disaster with a four-minute silence, a minute of quiet contemplation, or by simply taking extra care of the man or woman working beside you, let us all remember the families for whom the sadness continues and the anguish persists. For just a moment, let’s set aside our business rivalries, petty squabbles and our meaningless gripes.

The demolition industry is a global family; a global family that shares a common language, regardless of their country of origin; a global family that shares the burden of grief and responsibility when its own is taken. And as a family, we must come together in sadness and respect for Michael Collings, John Shaw, Kenneth Cresswell, and Christopher Huxtable; and for the families so cruelly robbed of their presence.

Video – 777 crosses finish line…

Video captures project to fell famous greyhound racing stadium.

For those of us that spent an evening or two at the former Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium in South London, it is a demolition project that is tinged with sadness.

But 777 Demolition’s work at this famous old venue is epic nonetheless; and it is all captured here in this great new project video:

Protesters cite carcinogen cover-up…

New South Wales government ‘suppressed’ report showing carcinogen risk in stadium demolition.

A legal challenge to the New South Wales government’s controversial plan to demolish Sydney’s Allianz Stadium before next month’s state election has heard the government “suppressed” the release of a report showing the site was contaminated with potentially carcinogenic material.

In his opening address Tim Robertson, barrister for Local Democracy Matters – group opposing the demolition, argued the government had failed to exhibit the development application for the required period, didn’t follow design excellence criteria and failed to follow its own rules on contaminated soils.

During the trial on Wednesday, Robertson said the government had “suppressed” information about contamination on the site – pointing to a consultants report prepared for the government which found “carcinogenic” materials on the site, as well as a number of other contaminants.

A draft version of the report was prepared in June – during the exhibition period for the stadium demolition. Robertson told the court the report should have prompted “further investigation” by the government.

“That fact was known by Infrastructure NSW, but suppressed,” he said. “They knew it during the exhibition period.”

Read more here.

Slow progress on Didcot investigation…

Experts still sifting through almost 1,000 tonnes of material evidence.

As the industry prepares to mark the third anniversary of the Didcot disaster in which four demolition workers were tragically killed, DemolitionNews understands that forensic experts from Thames Valley Police and investigators from the Health & Safety Executive are still sifting through around 870 tonnes of material recovered as evidence.

That material, thought to be primarily from the collapsed boiler house, currently resides at the HSE’s science division in Buxton in Derbyshire.

DemolitionNews further understands that the police is working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that all lines of enquiry are fully investigated. The police maintains that it is still exploring possible charges of corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, and serious health and safety breaches.

This time last year, police confirmed that their officers had carried out 1,921 witness interviews and there was not yet an expected completion date for the investigation.

Michael Collings, 53, from Cleveland; John Shaw, 61, Kenneth Cresswell, 57, both from Rotherham, and Christopher Huxtable, 34, from Swansea, all died after part of the former boiler house at Didcot Power Station A collapsed as it was being prepared for demolition.

At the time of the collapse, Coleman & Company was undertaking preparatory work for the demolition of the former coal-fired boiler house. RWE NPower closed that part of the plant in March 2013 after 43 years of service.

Portsmouth pair face axe…

Post-Grenfell investigation earmarks two blocks for demolition.

Two landmark Portsmouth tower blocks are set to be demolished after work to strengthen them was estimated to cost £86 million, according to reports in The Construction Enquirer.

Problems with structural concrete were uncovered when cladding was removed from the two 18-storey towers in Somerstown following the Grenfell tragedy.

Detailed structural reports commissioned to decide what to replace the cladding with at Leamington House and Horatia House buildings revealed more deep-seated problems.

Structural engineers Wilde Carter Clack found the original 1965 concrete slab construction was extremely poor.

The surface of floor panels in some areas appeared to have been sprayed with water or rained on and the aggregate was exposed. In other places there was evidence of foot prints.

Read more here.

Video – Democon undwerway in Stoke…

Derelict shopping centre coming down at long last.

Demolition work has finally begun on the former Hanley Shopping Centre complex in Stoke-on-Trent. The City Council plan to use the site as a temporary car park in the short-term, with the land’s long-term fate yet to be decided.

Video – German power plant felled…

Boiler house dropped, cooling tower and stack follow.

Contractors carried out an impressive explosive demolition of the Knepper power plant in Castrop-Rauxel near Dortmund, Germany yesterday.

First, the boiler house was blown. Then, about 45 minutes later, the 128 metre tall cooling tower and the 210 metre high chimney of the former coal-fired power plant followed almost simultaneously.

Video – Bradford council offices blasted…

Contractor bounces back from unforeseen delay with text-book blast.

The planned but well-guarded timing of the implosion to fell the Jacobs Well former head office of Bradford Council had to shift slightly as contractors had to wait for police to release the scene of a serious car crash outside the building.

But when they eventually got the green light, everything went according to plan.

Triple crown for Darsey

Erith Contractors MD takes up role of NDTG Chairman.

The delegates at today’s annual general meeting of the National Demolition Training Group (NDTG) voted to elect Erith Contractors managing director David Darsey as chairman with McWilliam Demolition’s Craig McWilliam elected as vice-chairman.

It is the latest of many accolades for Darsey who has previously held the position of National Federation of Demolition Contractors’ president and is the outgoing president of the Institute of Demolition Engineers. He is also an honorary life vice president of the NFDC.

While it is unquestionably a proud moment for Darsey, it is a positive move also for the NDTG at a time when the NDTG faces a number of key challenges, not least the switch of competence card authorities. Darsey is not just a proven and vocal advocate of training across all demolition disciplines but he is a tough negotiator and will be capable of pursuing the wider industry’s agenda.

Video – Why we’re exhibiting at DemoExpo 2019…

Some familiar names discuss why they’ll be at the year’s big event.

On the day it was confirmed that both JCB and Marubeni-Komatsu are scheduled to exhibit at the DemoExpo 2019 exhibition later this year, our exclusive new video explains why some of the sector’s most familiar names are planning to be there too.

This video features contributions from Worsley Plant, Epiroc, LDH Attachments, CPMS (LiuGong UK), BPH Attachments, Kocurek, CabCare along with industry newcomers N&S Plant.

For a list of exhibitors, please click here. Or for more details on what promises to be an epic exhibition, please visit the main DemoExpo website.

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