Jobs – Demolition Project Manager

One of the South East’s longest established providers of demolition is looking to recruit a Project Manager to join their team.

Minimum requirements:

  • 5 years experience of managing demolition projects
  • CCDO black card
  • Be based in London/Home Counties

Preference will be given to candidates that have knowledge of environmental and quality management, as well as those with a strong background in asbestos removal. The Candidate will ideally have SMSTS.

Responsibilities
This role requires strong management skills to oversee complex projects involving the demolition of commercial, residential, industrial buildings and infrastructure throughout the South East. Applicants must have a thorough knowledge of demolition site procedures and be fully conversant with current legislation.

The successful candidate will be confident, well-organised, proactive, have excellent communication and IT skills and the ability to liaise with colleagues, clients, contractors and members of the public at all levels.

The role will include the following specific tasks:

  • Risk assessments and preparation of RAMS
  • Managing project resources
  • Project cost and budget management
  • Management and liaison with asbestos removal teams
  • Management of site personnel
  • Client liaison, attendance at meetings
  • Ensuring the preparation and completion of all site documentation
  • Producing weekly project reports
  • Ensuring employees’ and sub-contractors’ work conforms to the Company’s quality, safety and environmental standards (ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001, ISO 14001)

 

About the company
Established in the 1960s the Company specialises in demolition, asbestos removal and building works. With a current turnover of circa £10 million, the Company delivers projects throughout London and the South East which range in value from £50k to £4million and has a well-earned reputation of professionalism and quality.

Please email your Application/CV to enquiries@handmademarketing.co.uk

 

Caught in the NVQ Poverty Trap

The human cost of high-cost training, qualification and competence verification.

Last night, just after normal office hours, I took one of the most difficult phone calls of my professional career. Given that I have previously received calls from the bereaved families of men killed in the line of demolition duty and from those that have just seen their life’s work crumble into insolvency, that is really saying something.

I won’t use the real name of the caller, even though he was happy for me to do so. In light of what he said to me, I personally fear that naming him would further jeopardise a position that already sees him on the brink of both financial and mental breaking point.

The man in question – let’s call him John – is 48 years old and has been working in the demolition industry for 29 years. He has worked for reputable and well-respected companies such as McGee and 777 Demolition, rising through the ranks to become a qualified Demolition Supervisor. He is married with five children and has a mortgage.

He sat the Demolition Supervisor course some three years ago, finishing second in his class. But he now has until March to stump up £1,750 to take his NVQ Level 3; a largely meaningless exercise that merely produces a piece of paper that says a man can do the very thing he’s been doing his entire working life.

And that is where the vicious circle that has led John to the brink begins.

For a number of years, there has been an increasing use of agency labour as demolition companies seek to relieve themselves of the various burdens of employment and just pick up staff when they need them, and put them down when they don’t. John is just one of those many workers rendered expendable by this trend. His work currently is, at best, sporadic. And NVQs require the individual to be monitored carrying out specific tasks. So, even if he could afford to pay just under £2,000 to prove what all his peers and former employers could verify, he doesn’t currently have sufficient continual work to allow an adjudicator to actually monitor him.

There’s a lot to unpack here; so let’s take things one at a time.

The very fact that I felt it necessary to retain John’s anonymity for fear of reprisals and recriminations should itself set alarm bells ringing. No working man, nor someone helping him, should be afraid to voice his concerns.

The UK demolition industry speaks regularly about a skills shortage, and yet here is a man that might be forced to leave not just the industry but the country itself because the training and qualification system has been skewed against him. Not only will the industry lose a qualified and valuable demolition worker, it is in danger of losing all the knowledge and experience he has accumulated and that he can impart to those around him; all because the demolition training regime has become a way to generate vast revenues rather than a way to ensure that men and women are safe on site.

The UK demolition industry has recently leapt aboard the mental health awareness bandwagon. But through its own actions and inactions, it has driven a working man (and I certainly do not believe John’s case is unique) into a depressive state that is now being exacerbated by rapidly worsening financial worries and escalating debts.

The majority of UK demolition companies pay a levy to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). If John was employed by one of those companies, that company would pay for the NVQ, recouping a large proportion of the cost of his NVQ in the form of a grant. However, as a private individual, John does not have that privilege. Instead, he will have to find the £1,750 out of his own pocket, and he will not get any of it back. The bitter irony is that many demolition and construction companies do not even bother to reclaim the grant funding owed to them.
And then, of course, there is the rise and rise of the employment agencies that effectively earn their living through the labour of others; taking a cut of their daily wages while workers’ rights are slowly but inexorably eroded on their watch.

When I spoke to him on the phone, John sounded downtrodden, sad and fearful. He was also angry. Angry that the industry to which he has devoted his life has seemingly cast him aside through no fault of his own; and angry at the National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) and National Demolition Training Group (NDTG) for their role in his current predicament.

He is right to be angry. I would be angry too if I couldn’t afford to feed my children; if I was falling behind on my mortgage payments despite being ready, able and eager to work; and if three decades of accumulated knowledge and experience had been dismissed by the sweep of a bureaucrat’s pen.

But John is only partly right in the aim of his anger. In this instance, the NFDC’s greatest failing is the fact that it has allowed this tick-box training regime and the resulting “NVQ Poverty” to be foist upon the UK demolition industry by external forces with little or no understanding of the demolition process. To its eternal shame, the greatest failing of the NDTG is that it has chosen to profit from these circumstances and then to sit on those vast proceeds (estimated to be in excess of £1.0 million) while people like John and his family potentially go hungry. The founders of the National Demolition Training Group would likely turn in their graves at the way in which their vision of a way to protect and upskill demolition workers is now being used to actively discriminate against them.

However, the real blame for this situation lies with organisations like Build UK that insists upon pieces of paper to prove that which is patently obvious; and the Construction Industry Training Board, a barely fit-for-purpose organisation whose own existence is regularly called into question and which many believe to be directly responsible for the current and ongoing skills shortage.

Blame, regardless of the direction in which it is aimed, does not help John. It doesn’t get him back to work. It doesn’t get him a piece of paper that proves what we already know about his capabilities. It doesn’t put food on his family’s table, it doesn’t help pay his mortgage, and it doesn’t halt his spiralling debts. But currently, blame is pretty much the only weapon at his disposal as he fights alone. Sadly, the term “no man left behind” apparently does not apply in demolition circles.

I will leave you with three thoughts.

Firstly, I do not need a piece of paper to tell me or anyone else that I am a journalist. I do, therefore I am. There is no organisation that can take that away from me or that requires me to pay to prove that I can do the very thing that has kept a roof over my family’s head for the past 30+ years. Why should John’s situation any different?

Secondly, yes, I could start a crowdfunding programme to help raise the £1,750 that John requires; and I would be more than happy to do so if there is sufficient support out there. But, the fact is, neither I nor we should have to. Surely the very purpose of industry training is to help people up, not to force them out? Maybe the NDTG might like to consider offering interest-free loans to those caught in the NVQ Poverty trap; paid back via direct debit at an affordable £10 per week and with the card being suspended in the event of non-payment.

Finally, I am writing this on the day that the London & Southern Counties Region of the NFDC is gathering at a swanky London hotel for its annual luncheon; an event at which most (if not all) tables are sponsored. The sponsorship of a single table would be more than enough to pay for John’s NVQ Level 3.

And if that doesn’t make you question the industry’s priorities, then nothing will.

Tres bien…

French bridge demolition is a mini epic.

Even though Brexit might eventually remove my requirement to do so, it is to my eternal shame that I cannot speak the language of our nearest neighbours; the French. Sure, I can can say please () and thank you (merci). If my memory serves me correctnly, a wasp in une guepe. And, as a fan of Eddie Izzard, I know that “the monkey is up the tree” translates to
“le singe est dans l’arbre”. As you can imagine, I have never found reason to combine all these phrases.

However, although the captions in the video below are all in French, the film itself speaks the language of bridge demolition. So sit back, restez la as our French cousins carry out a spot of démolition d’un pont:

Bridge demo on track…

Time-lapse captures weekend railway bridge demolition.

A programme that called for the demolition of 12 bridges to facilitate the electrification of the rail network between Bedford and Corby has come to a close with the completion of the final bridge demolition.

The Bromham Road Bridge was demolished on 2 November. And the action is captured in this Network Rail time-lapse video:

Breaking…and entering

Demolition man accused of £500k watch burglary at home of football boss.

A well known Liverpool businessman has been accused of stealing £500,000 of watches from the home of a football chairman.

Thomas Mee was arrested in relation to a break-in at Marsden Manor on Macclesfield Road in Prestbury. Marsden Manor is reported to be the private home of Bury FC chairman Steven Dale.

Mee has been charged with burglary and possession of criminal property.

The burglary relates to the alleged theft of watches worth in the region of £500,000. The criminal property is cash in the region of £200,000. The offences are alleged to have happened at Marsden Manor in Prestbury.

Mee, together with a second man – Vincent Ball – appeared at Crewe Magistrates yesterday and have been remanded in custody.

Read more here.

CDI’s Pontiac firebird…

Boiler house and stack fall to CDI power.

Controlled Demolition, Inc (CDI), acting as explosives subcontractor to Sessler Wrecking, Inc has carried out the explosive felling of a 37 metre tall boiler house and a 61 metre tall chimney at the old Fiero power plant in Pontiac, Michigan.

Speaking out on scaffolding

AR Demolition boss calls for change of mindset over use of scaffolding.

Richard Dolman, managing director of AR Demolition, has demonstrated the kind of leadership he will require when he takes up the reins as president of the Institute of Demolition Engineers (IDE) by calling upon the industry to change its mindset in the wake of a spate of scaffolding collapses.

This year has seen several scaffolding failures on projects – three in August alone in Reading, Liverpool and Nuneaton, with three injuries reported at the Reading incident.
Dolman, currently vice-president of the Institute of Demolition Engineers, said it was time for the sector to consider new methods of dust suppression and protection from flying debris on demolition jobs.

“I’ve never understood why people think is a good idea to fasten scaffolding to a building, then demolish the structure behind the scaffold using a machine. Scaffolding is useful if it’s used to take a building apart in reverse of how it was constructed, but I’ve never thought that it goes well with big machinery. It’s not even great for stopping dust because the minute you dissemble it, the dust goes everywhere. If there’s structural collapse, you’re in real trouble as the recent incidents show,” he says. “Correct exclusion zones are crucial. Clients often push for small zones, not letting us close footpaths and roads. But in explosive demolition the exclusion zone has to be a radius three times as wide of the height of the structure. So why is that not the same with non-explosive work? Without scaffolding you don’t need people working at height, which as we all know is the biggest cause of serious injury throughout the construction industry. And scaffolding also gives the public a false sense of security, making people walk right next to a building being demolished rather than giving it a suitably wide berth,” Dolman concludes. “Let me emphasise that I’m not saying there is no place for scaffolding in demolition. There are occasions – mainly during floor-by-floor, very controlled, small-scale demolition – when it is the most appropriate method of dust suppression and protection against debris.

To listen to an exclusive audio podcast on this subject, please CLICK HERE.

Magazine gets video…

The world’s largest demolition magazine just got a whole lot better!

Even though our Demolition magazine is far and away the largest and most widely-read demolition publication in the world, we are constantly seeking new ways to enhance the reader experience.
And oh boy have we ever enhanced things this time.

We have been working in the background to allow us to embed video within the electronic edition of the magazine and we are now finally ready to unleash this upon our unsuspecting readership.

Below is a list of feature articles from recent editions that we have upgraded with the addition of embedded video. Readers can easily spot when a page contains video as the page or an area of it flashes blue.

Obviously, not all the magazine content will be supported with video. But we are certainly hoping that contractors, manufacturers and advertisers start to take advantage of this new feature.

To see it in action, just try any of the links below:

Issue 31

 

Issue 32

 

Issue 33

Erith reaches for remote…

UK contractor pioneers use of remotely-controlled equipment.

Not content with being one of the UK’s largest demolition contractor (and a recent multi-award winner at the World Demolition Awards), Erith Contractors is also pioneering the use of remote control to make top-down projects safer.

The company is currently involved in a complex project in LOndon where it has called upon both remotely-controlled Bobcat skid steer and an Hitachi mini excavator converted to remote control operation using the Remoquip retrofit system (which you can see in in operation in the exclusive video below).

You can read all about this project in the new edition of the Demolition magazine, just by clicking here.

Complex blowdown…

Brown and Mason fells approximatley half of power station with press of button.

BRown and Mason carrying out the successful demolition of one power station or another is hardly news. It seems that rarely a week goes by when the company doesn’t send some poor, unfortunate power plant to its grave. But, even by Brown and Mason standards, last week’s implosion at Longannet Power Station was a bit special.

According to the company, this was one of the most technical blow downs ever undertaken on a power station. “At the press of a button, half of what was once the largest, most poluting power plant in Europe was gone,” says Nick Brown.