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Video – Erith powers ahead…

Major blast carried out at Killingholme A Power station.

Erith Group has carried out the controlled demolition, using explosive techniques, of three heat recovery steam generators, their chimneys and drum houses at Killingholme A Power station.

The heat recovery steam generators and their iconic 70.00-metre tall white chimneys have overlooked the Humber estuary towards the City of Hull since 1994. They were constructed from a steel framed superstructure base, supporting top hung boilers, chimneys and a substantial drum house.

Erith designed, engineered and enabled a pre-weakening sequence working hand in hand with Swanton Consulting to verify the sequence. This enabling a safe and managed deliberate collapse mode by use of explosives, provided by a specialist supplier to the group.

The entire structure was monitored during the sensitive pre-weakening by a specially installed monitoring system that linked with prisms adhered to the superstructure. This system enabled Erith’s demolition team to be informed to movements and trends during pre-weakening, ensuring safer and sensitive control of the 5,000-ton steel superstructure. This innovative system is believed to be the first of its kind to be used when preparing structures for demolition by explosives.

A support team of sentries, supervisors and operatives enabled clearance of the structure and the site by 08:00am as planned for a spectacular explosive event, which was executed to plan and resulted in the safe collapse of the structure as engineered.

Surrounding the site are two petrol refineries, an operational power station, an off-shore wind farm power management facility and two car import parking facilities which hold several thousand cars which have all had specific requirements relating to the blow down. Careful planning and management leading up to the day with the stakeholders enabled this event to be executed without issue to the delight of the onlooking crowds.

Commenting on the event, safely from the observation platform, a delighted Benjamin Dove Seymour, client at Killingholme A, commented: “The safe delivery of this successful event demonstrates the Erith group’s continued focus on providing engineered solutions to complex demolition scenarios within heavy industrial power generating facilities and reflects the well planned and professional approach to such works by the entire Erith business”.

Going under the knife…

We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was.

By the time you get to read this, I will likely be in hospital with my head swathed in bandage.

458 days ago, I was hit in the face with a brick on a demolition site. The impact of that brick broke my cheekbone; broke my eye socket, broke the roof of my mouth; knocked my jaws and teeth out of line; and left me with both impaired and double vision in my left eye. Oh, and part of my head still feels numb.

If you look at the MRI scan photo, you can see my left eye socket (which appears on the right in the photo) now has no floor. There’s also a chunk of bone out of line to the top right of the eye socket, which is where the brick actually hit.

And you might notice that there’s a black kidney-shaped area on the left that is not replicated on the right. That, apparently, is my sinus and it appears black because it is filled with air, as it should be. The sinus on the right appears grey because, presumably, the void is filled with displaced bits of face.

In the time that has elapsed since the accident, I have attended 27 hospital appointments. I have visited or spent time in four different hospitals. I have seen seven different consultants.
I have had three MRI scans, four x-rays and undergone more eye tests than I can actually recall. I have lost weeks of work. My bill for parking at the hospital alone is over £200.

But today, my eye socket is – hopefully going to be repaired at long last.

The past year has been the hardest of my life. Don’t get me wrong – It was just a whack on the head and – frankly – I was no oil painting before the brick hit.

But when you’re self-employed, losing weeks from work hits harder than any brick to the face. And my accident came almost immediately after I’d lost a few months off work with a burst appendix and the fallout from that.

As a result, I now find myself in personal debt to a pretty hefty degree. I can and I will dig myself and my family out of the hole but it won’t be easy and it won’t be fast either. But we’ll get there.

Thankfully, the team at Chambers Media has worked tirelessly over the past year or more to ensure that the business – DemolitionNews, Demolition magazine, Demolition TV and Demolition News Radio – have gone from strength-to-strength.

Although my wife might argue with this statement, I am not a workaholic. However, I am usually happiest when I can work and unhappiest when I can’t. Stir in the stress of being in personal debt, and my mood has not been great over the past 12 months or more. And, try as I might, I know that this has sometimes been reflected in the tone of my writing on

But hopefully, all of that comes to an end today.

If you’re in any way squeamish, I would suggest that you don’t read the next sentence.

To carry out the operation without leaving me with a facial scar, the operation to underpin my left eye and to “hoover out” my sinus will take place inside the lower eyelid. I know, right!

Although the surgeon has cautioned me that my double-vision will not necessarily be cured by the operation, he is hopeful.

If all goes according to plan, I will be able to drive at night comfortably again. I will be able to look at a computer screen for more than a few hours without getting a major headache. • And I can start to pay off some of the personal debt I have accumulated over the past year or so.

And if it doesn’t go according to plan, I have a contingency plan.

I can’t tell you too much at this stage. But let’s just say that I have registered the domain name

Video – Close but no cigar…

Silo falls after implosion. Well, almost.

A local TV news camera has captured the moment a disused mine silo was felled by a controlled blast. Almost.

Instead, the silo failed to abide by the laws of gravity and has been left upright but at a rather more jaunty angle:

RVA acquired…

Acquisition coincides with 25 year anniversary.

Specialist decommissioning, decontamination, dismantling and demolition consultancy RVA Group has today announced that the company has been acquired by Prague based Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH) via its wholly owned subsidiary EP UK Investments Ltd for an undisclosed sum.
Richard Vann founded RVA in 1992 and the company has gone on to complete more than 700 projects worldwide. Clients include major international blue-chip brands including SABIC, ConocoPhillips and INEOS.
EP UK Investments has now acquired RVA’s full share capital including its wholly owned subsidiaries RVA Consulting Engineers Ltd and RVA Engineering Solutions Ltd. However, whilst this may represent a key strategic move for the company, operationally little will change.
Richard, who will maintain his role as managing director, elaborated: “At the end of 2016, we commenced a ‘fit for future’ programme which saw the recruitment of additional key personnel and the creation of further structure within our team. A significant investment was also ploughed into new cloud technology throughout the business, to increase the flexibility, security and continuity of our work.
“It was all about preparing RVA for the next 25 years and it is great that, in line with this succession planning strategy, an ideal window of opportunity has already opened up for us.”
“In practice, it’s business as usual – all legal entities, contractual obligations, RVA personnel and the services we deliver remain unchanged,” Richard continued. “However, the new ownership provides an excellent platform for RVA to confidently strengthen its team and expand further in the UK, Europe and beyond.
“I personally have many more goals to fulfil for the company, and I see EP UK Investment’s acquisition of RVA bringing these well within reach in the near future.”
With a comprehensive portfolio of power and energy assets worldwide, EPH’s decommissioning requirements will further add to RVA Group’s forward order book of work.
Adding further comment, EPH’s decommissioning manager Robert Bundil said: “We have worked with RVA people on a couple of projects and know they are excellent professionals who bring high value to their clients. EPH is a responsible owner of its energy assets not only during their operation, but is also committed to fulfil all legal and moral obligations after their closure.
“Having RVA on board gives us absolute confidence that we will be capable to carry out our decommissioning duties in a safe and professional manner.
RVA will continue providing its sector-wide support for other clients within the global chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, power, energy, oil, gas and heavy manufacturing industries too. The company will also maintain its current headquarters in London.

Are you hiring…?

Demolition supervisor/site manager seeking work.

Those of you that were around when the recession hit back in 2008 might recall that was originally founded to help unemployed workers back into gainful employment.

Workers could (and still can) advertise their skills and experience on the website free of charge, allowing would-be employers to contact (and, hopefully, employ) them.

In this instance, we’d like to take things a bit further.

If you click this link, you will find the CV of a 13-year demolition man who is seeking work as a supervisor or site manager.

I cannot vouch for him personally as I am simply not qualified to do so. However, he is CCDO Gold Card accredited which speaks to his qualifications. He has previously worked for the likes of J Bryan (Victoria), Mick George Ltd and Keltbray which says a lot for the breadth of his experience. And he is currently enrolled on the on the Demolition Management MSC course at Wolverhampton University which speaks volumes for his dedication and ambition.

So if you’re in need of a demolition supervisor or site manager, hit this link and give the guy a call.

Sevenoaks gas holders slated for demolition…

Iconic landmarks could come down if plans get green light.

Sevenoaks’ iconic gasholders are set to be torn down after more than a century amidst safety concerns.

A planning application was submitted last week (November 14) and would entail dismantling the two frame-guided gasholders along with other structures on the site such as storerooms and instrument rooms.

Now Sevenoaks District Council has designated the site for a residential allocation, and according to the planning statement, “the site is earmarked for redevelopment to provide approximately 39 residential units”.

The east gasholder was built in 1895, over 120 years ago, and the west gasholder was constructed in 1922.

If the application is passed, it is hoped that the dismantling process will mainly take place from the inside out, to reduce the amount of potential noise nuisance caused.

Read more here.

Video – Spandau ballet…

Liebherr high reach goes postal in Berlin.

The life of the former Spandau post office in the heart of Berlin has reached the end of its useful life. And it is a big Liebherr excavator that is delivering the destruction.

Video – Bus photobombs Georgia Dome implosion…

Perfect view of stadium implosion ruined.

Believe me, I’ve been there. You get to the site of an implosion hours ahead of schedule to claim the best possible vantage point. You guard your spot with almost religious fervour, just to capture that one epic shot.

And then this happens:

Video – Dome downed…

Long-awaited implosion fells Georgia Dome Stadium.

The only facility in the world to host the Olympics, Super Bowl and Final Four has been reduced to rubble.

A little more than 25 years after opening, the Georgia Dome, former home of the Atlanta Falcons and the scene for several historic sporting events, was imploded Monday morning. The adjacent Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened this summer.

The blast occurred just after 7:30 a.m. ET. In the span of about 12-15 seconds, most of the structure collapsed, though parts of it remained upright.

Comment – Should I stay or should I go…?

Debacle at National Federation of Demolition Contractors’ London region robs Federation of dream team.

So one afternoon last week, my phone lit up like Times Square at Christmas. I was told – initially – that London and Southern regional chairman Rob Collard and his vice chairman Matt Phillips had both quit in a fit of pique amidst frustration with the Federation’s current status quo.

I know and respect both guys. I know and respect NFDC president Paul Brown. And so I called all three to try to get to the bottom of what had actually happened; why it had happened; and what it might mean going forward.

It quickly became clear that those initial reports were correct; but that they had not allowed for a post-meeting cooling off in which Collard and Phillips got to give more thought to their decisions.

Downwell Demolition’s Matt Phillips stuck to his guns and has officially resigned over what he describes as “differences with president Paul Brown”. Rob Collard – who had initially quit in a show of solidarity with his vice chairman – has since reconsidered and is staying on.

So one is going and one is staying. And, weirdly, they are both right.

In Matt Phillips, the NFDC had a rising star whose company – Downwell Demolition – is enjoying an increasingly high profile within the industry. That company, and the way it operates, gives an insight into Phillips’ psyche.

Faced with poor repair and maintenance support for his extensive fleet of demolition tools and attachments, Phillips formed a new division within his company to do that work in house. When he found he was paying too much for hydraulic hose replacements, he invested in a fully-equipped hose repair van that would rival anything on offer from the likes of Pirtek.

Phillips is not content. He is constantly looking for ways that things might be improved. That constant striving for improvement could and should have been of enormous benefit to the NFDC. And not just at a regional level.

Although I am not sure how either of them might feel about the comparison, there is something about Matt Phillips that reminds me of former NFDC President David Darsey.

Neither are much for airs and graces; but both are young, dynamic, vocal and passionate. It is those factors that made Darsey probably the best NFDC President I had the good fortune to work with. And it is those factors that could have propelled Phillips to the very top of the Federation.

But Phillips’ unstoppable force met the NFDC’s immovable object. And something had to give.

Phillips was probably right to leave. And, equally, Rob Collard was right to stay.

Change and reform – both of which are needed within a Federation that has seen declines in both membership and influence – can really only come from within.
And so Collard – the very epitome of the modern demolition man – has decided to hang on.

He is every bit as passionate as Matt Phillips; but Collard’s passion comes wrapped in a blanket of diplomacy; the kind of diplomacy that will be required by the shed-load if he is to bring about the modernisation he believes is required in the Federation’s hallowed halls.

But don’t be fooled into mistaking that diplomacy for weakness. You don’t build a £30 million demolition company or become the industry’s leading exponent of waste minimisation by being weak. And anyone that has seen Rob Collard in action in the British Touring Car Championship will know that he is ruthlessly competitive.

So, as I said before. Matt Phillips was probably right to resign. His decision is admirable. Maybe – hopefully – his time will come again. And Rob Collard is probably right to stay on to fight for reform from within.

The only loser in all of this – as far as I can see – is the NFDC.

In Collard and Phillips, they had the makings of a regional dream team that really could have helped forge the Federation of the future. Sadly, we’ll never know just how far they could have gone together.

You can listen to a longer audio version of this comment piece – complete with predictable musical input from The Clash – below:

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