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Comment – An unfitting legacy…

A dog-eared pile of paper is all that remains of the once great Cuddy Group.

On Wednesday last week, I was awoken from my mid-morning slumber at my desk by the arrival of a hefty package that hit the mat at Demolition News Towers like a safe. That package contained a communication from Grant Thornton, the administrator appointed to divvy up what remains of the Cuddy Group.

Together with dozens of others, I had received a copy of this communication – 68 A4 pages, most printed front and back – because DemolitionNews was still owed money by the Cuddy Group as it slipped quietly beneath the surface a few weeks ago.

This then was the last will and testament of once great and much-respected company; a leader in its native Wales; a proving ground for huge numbers of demolition men and women that either stayed or who went on the ply their trade elsewhere within the industry.

Of course, the bitter irony of these administration letters is that they formally announce that most of those that actually provided goods and services well play second fiddle to two organisations that did not. In typical fashion, any money left over from the demise of Cuddy Group will go first to HMRC and then second to the administrator employed to dig over the fresh corpse of the recently deceased company.

The premature demise of the company put into jeopardy the first-ever British Demolition Awards at which Cuddy Group was scheduled to be a main sponsor. The fact that they were unwilling and unable to pay for that sponsorship as agreed rankled at the time, particularly as it was too late to get a replacement sponsor on board. But with the passage of time, my anger and irritation has dissipated. The British Demolition Awards were a huge success, regardless of Cuddy Group’s unforeseen absence. And besides, compared to the many people that lost their jobs and the various suppliers and sub-contractors that have been left to carry the financial can, DemolitionNews got off relatively lightly.

Yet the arrival of the weighty tome from Grant Thornton has given me pause for thought.

Obviously, my first thoughts are with the employees that have found themselves out of work through no fault of their own and – in some instances – after many years of dedication and hard work.
My thoughts are with the suppliers and sub-contractors that weren’t paid and who now face a hefty and even business-threatening deficit.

My thoughts are also with the Cuddy family. As is always the case in this situation, I have heard countless accounts of the reasons for Cuddy Group’s untimely demise. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned; but a disgruntled and angry former employee would run them a close second. But no-one sets out to run a company into the ground; and regardless of the financial implications of the company’s collapse, I am sure that every member of the Cuddy family will have felt this loss every bit as keenly as those they employed.

Ultimately, however, my thoughts are with the company itself. Cuddy Group and its various divisions accomplished so much over the years. They will have carried out literally hundreds of successful demolition contracts. They will have employed and trained thousands of men and women; men and women that would help nourish the UK demolition gene pool for many years to come. They will have contributed – directly or indirectly – to the financial well-being of immeasurable numbers of local suppliers, sub-contractors and equipment manufacturers and hirers. They helped raise the standards for demolition in their native Wales and beyond.

THAT should be the Cuddy Group legacy.

Yet all that remains is this single document. A once great company reduced to so many insincere words, a collection of clauses and sub-clauses, and sets of meaningless figures. Sixty-eight slightly dog-eared A4 pages, most of them printed front and back.

The workers, the family, the company and the industry deserved better.

Video – Open for business…

Dedicated DemoExpo 2019 website is now open.

In less than 300 days, the great and the good of the UK demolition industry will gather at the Hertfordshire Show Ground for the DemoExpo 2019 exhibition hosted jointly by the National Federation of Demolition Contractors and the Institute of Demolition Engineers. And it’s going to be EPIC!

A number of big name exhibitors have already confirmed their participation. These include Blue Group, BPH Attachments, Epiroc, Hitachi Construction Machinery, Inmalo, Mutley Plant Srvices, and Worsley Plant; and there are plenty more to come.

You can find out more on the exhibition’s new dedicated website. Click here to visit.

To celebrate the unveiling of the new website, we have produced this awesome new (and exclusive) trailer video.

Video – Looters delay mall demolition…

Nairobi mall demolition triggers looting frenzy.

Police were forced to use tear gas to disperse youths who were attempting to storm inside the former Taj Mall to loot scrap metal and valuables.

Black day for Grey Mill…

Bid to demolish historic Aberdeen landmark moves a step closer.

Planners have recommended flattening a historic Aberdeen landmark to make way for a £100 million “urban village”.

Broadford Works, which was once home to the largest collection of category A-listed buildings at risk in Scotland, has been taken over by developer Inhabit, which plans to transform it into 460 homes, shops and offices.

The city council’s planning committee has been urged to approve plans to demolish parts of the Grey Mill, including the oldest iron-framed mill in Scotland – and the fourth oldest known to survive in the world.

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, which objected to the plans, said: “In a city of such distinction as Aberdeen, with its great history of solving difficult engineering problems, it can hardly be beyond its collective wit to figure out how these buildings can be now saved and re-used.”

But in their report planners said the applicant has provided evidence, which has been independently verified, that if the site-wide proposals included the retention and repair of the Old and South mills, the “entire development would be considered unviable”.

They added: “Old and South Grey Mills are considered repairable, but at great expense and re-use options are limited by the type of structure, which further affects viability.

“The significance of the buildings is in their construction, rather than external appearance, therefore facade retention is not a worthwhile approach.”

Read more here.

Video – Bridge Busters bounce back…

Armac doing what Armac does best.

It is a fool’s errand to even attempt to pigeonhole demolition companies. All are multi-disciplined and multi-faceted, and each is capable of tackling a huge array of structures.

But let’s be honest. When you think Armac, you think bridge demolition. And for good reason, as this new video from Highways England demonstrates:

Comment – We need to talk..

Suicide Prevention Day highlights dangers in demolition and construction.

Young men working in the demolition and construction industries represent the highest suicide risk of any industry. Yet while we quickly latch on to issues that might impact upon physical well-being of demolition and construction workers, their mental well-being is still being overlooked, even though this is potentially a bigger killer than working at height, slips and trips, falling objects and machine-related injuries combined.

In this special episode of Demolition News Radio which we produced to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day, we are calling upon the industry to do more to protect the mental health of its workers; to unite to help workers to speak more openly about their mental health concerns; and to remove this scourge from our industry once and for all.

You can hit the play button below and listen here. Alternatively, iPhone and iPad users can catch the show on iTunes by CLICKING HERE.

PP O’Connor grabs Galvac…

Demolition company snatches vacuum excavation firm from jaws of administration.

Manchester-based demolition specialist PP O’Connor has bought the vacuum excavation trucks business of failed rival GPL from administrators.

Headquartered in Salford, the Galvac business operates nationally, employing 28 staff.

The acquisition provides growing £33 million turnover PP O’Connor with an industry-leading fleet of vacuum excavation trucks that can service a national footprint supporting major infrastructure contracts and utilities with the latest innovation in safe dig techniques.

Charmaine O’Connor, chief executive of P. P. O’Connor Group, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to acquire Galvac and secure the jobs of its team so quickly.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the members of the Galvac team into P.P. O’Connor. This acquisition complements the range of services we offer to our clients and it’s testament to the hard work of everyone at P. P. O’Connor that we are able to expand our business further in such a positive manner.”

Read more here.

Comment – Extracting maximum value…

Like what we have to say? Then leave us a tip.

If there is one thing that demolition men and women are good at, it is extracting maximum value from their work.

Whether they specialise in the demolition of tower blocks or toilet blocks, petrol stations or power stations, demolition folk are past-masters at squeezing every last drop of value from each and every contract. They are expert at identifying any works that have been carried out that weren’t contained within the contract agreement and that can subsequently be charged as an extra.
They are skilled at repurposing, recycling and reusing materials that others might view as waste.

All of which is good business sense. And extracting maximum value is something we have tried to embrace and apply here at Demolition News.Virtually everything we do carries some form of advertising or sponsorship to ensure that our time, efforts and energies are paid for; and that our readers, viewers and listeners get to enjoy our content free of charge.

But there are a few key areas of our activities where we are not extracting maximum value. And we’re about to start addressing those now.

On DemolitionNews, our primary goal is to keep readers up to date with developments in the field of demolition, whether that’s in the form of the written word, in audio form or as video.
However, we regularly intersperse the news with our own comment and opinion. And without wanting to blow my own trumpet, those opinions and comments are generally among the most read and are by far the most shared content on the whole of But there’s a problem when it comes to advertising and sponsorship.

You see, as regular readers will tell you, my comments are not always in keeping with the opinions of others. And I do not want my views and my opinions to reflect badly upon an advertiser that has been kind and generous enough to support us. So our comments started as advertising-free and will remain that way.

Yet, as I said previously, these articles, essays and commentaries are without question the most-read and most-shared words on the whole of DemolitionNews. They clearly have a value, however small.

And so, in future, we are going to be monetising these popular articles by what I can best describe as a tipping system.

About a year ago, we started to use a system called Patreon which allows our followers to make a small monthly contribution to the running of our various demolition-related activities in return for certain benefits like behind the scenes access, free magazine subscriptions and so on.

While I am not likely to be able to retire upon the proceeds, the funds raised through Patreon helped finance the purchase of a new microphone and audio recording system when we started Demolition News Radio. And for that, I am hugely grateful.

Well Patreon has a new service that allows anyone to make what they call a “Custom Pledge” from as little as a dollar. (And yes, all payments to Patreon are in dollars).
So henceforth, if you read a comment or opinion piece that really resonates with you; that you believe is worthy of sharing with others; and which you believe has an actual financial value –
You can choose to make a small financial contribution.

All of this resides over at But to make life easier, all future opinion and comment pieces will end with a navy blue animated band that you can click (like the one at the foot of this comment piece). You can then hit the Custom Pledge option at the foot of the page, select a value of your choosing, and by the magic of ecommerce, some money will eventually find its way into our beleaguered coffers.

The tipping system is entirely voluntary. If you feel like leaving us a tip – however small – then we will be enormously grateful. If you can’t afford it, if you don’t believe this part of DemolitionNews’ output merits a tip, if you prefer not to pay for information, or if it goes against everything you stand for as a demolition person and a human, then we fully understand.
We will keep producing these articles regardless.

Thanks for your attention and thanks in advance if you choose to leave us a tip!


Video – The very stuff of nightmares…

Huge snake unearthed on demolition site.

Demolition works here in the UK are often stopped temporarily because of the presence of specific animals or plants. Over the years, I have visited sites that have endured delays caused by everything from birds to vole, and bats to badgers.

But the inconvenience caused my these tiny critters is nothing compared to the sheer panic that would be caused by the discovery on the giant anaconda in the video below.

The YouTube video offers no indication on where this truly monstrous snake was discovered; although it is an anaconda as the video states, South America seems most likely. But regardless, I will takes bats and badgers over this any day of the week.

Video – Demolition raises concerns among parents…

Parents of children attending DC school call for daily air quality tests.

The demolition of a Washington middle school right beside a live elementary school has led to calls for daily air and water contamination tests from parents.

According to local media reports, the site involved has been found to contain contaminants such as asbestos and lea paint.

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