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Video – Isn’t this stealth slavery?

City council offers locals chance to demolish car park.

We all love a competition. Look back a few pages here on DemolitionNews, and you will see that we’re not averse to the occasional giveaway ourselves.

But surely Nottingham City Council have stepped beyond the “something for nothing” theme of most contests and entered the realm of stealth slavery.

The council is offering local people the chance to wield a sledgehammer to take down the Broadmarsh Car Park.

Is this a masterstroke of publicity or merely a means of getting local people to demolish a car park for free? Only time will tell.

Video – The future’s so bright…

…I gotta wear shades.

The United Kingdom is currently basking in an unprecedented heatwave. Sweaty folks are roaming the streets desperately seeking shade and hydration while TV weathermen try (and fail) to explain how they didn’t see these end-of-days temperatures coming.

Thankfully, our buddies at Miller GroundBreaking were on the ball. Sensing that (a) the sun was in our eyes and (b) we needed an injection of “cool”, they very kindly sent us a pair of branded sunglasses together with a rather smart baseball cap.

And we were so pleased, we broke out the video camera and created the film below (those of a certain age might recall the song).

Britain’s best bacon butties…

A survey has revealed the location of the UK’s finest bacon sandwiches.

Britain’s best bacon butties have been revealed, following a month-long hunt.

As part of the nation-wide competition, tradespeople were asked to nominate the butty establishment they feel makes the country’s best bacon sandwich – whether that’s a café, restaurant, hotel or roadside van.

JoJo’s Breakfast Bar in Gloucester, Burger Dan’s in Norwich, Sparks Will Fry in Widnes, Giltbrook Cob Shop in Nottingham, Straw Kitchen in Warwickshire, The Kitchen Table in West Hamstead, Ockham Bites in Surrey, the Lunch Box in Kent, Hackney City Farm in London and Castle Café in Northwich have been crowned the winners of IronmongeryDirect’s Britain’s Best Bacon Butty competition.

After receiving hundreds of entries for the competition, IronmongeryDirect revealed the top 10 establishments across the country, as voted for by tradespeople.

All 10 winners have been placed on to a dedicated Bacon Butty map, which highlights where in the UK tradespeople can get their hands on the best bacon sandwiches. So, wherever they are on a job, hard working tradespeople can make sure they start their day off in the right way with a hearty breakfast.

The competition was launched following recent research by IronmongeryDirect, which found that the classic bacon sandwich is the breakfast of choice for our nation’s tradespeople. A survey of 2,014 workers found that 72% of tradespeople agree the hearty sandwich is their workplace snack of choice.

Now, if anyone needs me, I will be in Ockham!

Leatherhead blocks face the chop…

Surrey town upgrade could spell the end for two local blocks.

Two office blocks could be demolished to make way for a restaurant and up to 46 flats as part of the multi-million pound Transform Leatherhead project.

Plans would see the four-story Claire House and the three story James House on Emlyn Lane demolished and replaced.

The final decision on the proposal will be made by MVDC’s Executive on June 27 but it is recommended that £478,000 for professional services is allocated to allow a planning application for the proposed scheme to be produced.

Councillor Stephen Cooksey said: “This recommendation will see us spend half a million pounds of our resources on producing a planning application which is clear may or may not be successful.

“If it isn’t successful we will have spent that money, which this council clearly can’t afford, to produce something that isn’t beneficial to Leatherhead or to Mole Valley.

“I really would like concrete assurance that the money we are invested in here is actually worthwhile.”

Defending the amount of money proposed Nick Gray, a member of MVDC’s strategic management team, said it was a “general ball park figure” any developer would expect to pay for these types of services.

He said: “In terms of the half a million pounds for most of us in our real lives half a million pounds sounds like a lot of money.

“In this context I can assure you that it isn’t very broadly speaking on any major capital development you would expect professional fees of about 15 per cent of the total cost of the project, for architects, planners, project managers, quantity surveyors, etc.”

Read more here.

Grenfell triggers call for health and safety “sea change”…

UK Government urged to end health and safety deregulation following Grenfell Tower blaze

The UK Government has been urged to scrap its approach to deregulation of health and safety legislation in the light of the Grenfell Tower blaze.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, over 70 leading organisations and figures from the UK’s safety and health profession have jointly called for a political sea change in attitude towards health and safety regulation and fire risk management following the tragedy.

The collective has also pressed the Government to complete its review of Part B of the Building Regulations 2010 – the regulations which cover fire safety within and around buildings in England – as a matter of urgency, and to include a focus on improved safety in the forthcoming Parliament.

The letter is signed by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), Park Health & Safety, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the British Safety Council.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), International Institute of Risk & Safety Management (IIRSM), National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH), Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Unite the union have also given it their backing, alongside senior health and safety professionals.

“We believe it is totally unacceptable for residents, members of the public and our emergency services to be exposed to this level of preventable risk in modern-day Britain,” the letter states.

“At this crucial time of national reflection and sorrow, we urge all politicians to re-emphasise the need for effective health and safety regulation and competent fire risk management. These are fundamental to saving lives and sustaining our communities.

“We believe it is vital that this disaster marks a turning point for improved fire safety awareness and wider appreciation that good health and safety is an investment, not a cost.”

In calling on the UK Government to complete its review of Part B of The Building Regulations 2010, the signatories add: “Together, we offer our organisations’ support in undertaking the review – we all have valuable links to experts in this area who can advise on best regulatory outcomes. In the meantime, we welcome the Government’s commitment to act and to implement the interim findings of the forthcoming public inquiry.

“You have it in your power to remove immediately a further risk to people at work and outside of the workplace – unwise deregulation – which threatens public and worker safety.

“We, leaders in health and safety in the UK, call on you to scrap the Government’s approach to health and safety deregulation and think again.”

The open letter, in full, is as follows:

Dear Prime Minister,

There have, understandably, been strong public reactions to the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower and its tragic consequences – the largest civilian loss of life from a single event in the UK since the Hillsborough disaster.

The occupational safety and health community is deeply saddened and disturbed by the Grenfell Tower fire and all the lives it claimed. We believe it is totally unacceptable for residents, members of the public and our emergency services to be exposed to this level of preventable risk in modern-day Britain.

Central Government and the Kensington and Chelsea local authority share responsibility for building standards and their enforcement locally, as well as for the funding and management of the maintenance of social housing. These responsibilities must be backed up with good, essential regulations.

However, for many years, Ministers and others with influence over them have called for, including in health and safety, regulations to be axed as a matter of principle. Arbitrary rules were imposed to establish deregulation of health and safety, such as a requirement to abolish two health and safety regulations (and more recently, three) for any new one adopted.

This mind-set has meant that, even when it was recommended and accepted that mandatory fitting of sprinklers would make homes or schools safer, this was rejected in favour of non-regulatory action. In practice, this approach favours inaction.

Good, well-evidenced and proportionate regulations in health and safety, based on full consultation, are developed and adopted because they save lives and protect people’s health and wellbeing. They are not “burdens on business” but provide essential protection for the public from identifiable risks.

At this crucial time of national reflection and sorrow, we urge all politicians to re-emphasise the need for effective health and safety regulation and competent fire risk management. These are fundamental to saving lives and sustaining our communities.

We believe it is vital that this disaster marks a turning point for improved fire safety awareness and wider appreciation that good health and safety is an investment, not a cost.

We call on the Government to accelerate and confirm the timeframe for completing its review of Part B of The Building Regulations 2010 and to include a focus on improved safety in the forthcoming Parliament.

Together, we offer our organisations’ support in undertaking the review – we all have valuable links to experts in this area who can advise on best regulatory outcomes. In the meantime, we welcome the Government’s commitment to act and to implement the interim findings of the forthcoming public inquiry.

You have it in your power to remove immediately a further risk to people at work and outside of the workplace – unwise deregulation – which threatens public and worker safety.

We, leaders in health and safety in the UK, call on you to scrap the Government’s approach to health and safety deregulation and think again. This could be announced immediately, it does not need to await the results of a public inquiry, and is the least that the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire deserve.

Comment – The pernicious problem of “value engineering”…

Grenfell Tower disaster highlights the issue of value engineering in demolition circles.

Over the past few weeks – and whilst wearing my Diggers and Dozers hat – I have posted a couple of “rant” style videos in which I bemoan one form of industry injustice or another (you can see them here if you’re that way inclined).

These have proved incredibly popular, particularly on Facebook where my pro-JCB rant has racked up almost 30,000 views and is still climbing.

Based on those figures, and since I have another bee in my journalistic bonnet, I thought it was about tie that we trialled this kind of film here on DemolitionNews.

And the target of my bile and vitriol is value engineering which – surely – is just a fancy term for the cost and corner cutting that is imposed upon demolition and construction companies before and even after they have bid successfully on a tender.

We hope you like this format and that this won’t be the last subject to fall under myy steely gaze:

Mick George donation station for tower victims…

Demolition contractor leaps to aid of those impacted by Grenfell Towers fire.

IMG_4323Following the unfortunate events in North Kensington yesterday, an appeal led by Heart radio has seen Cambridge businesses unite in support, requesting donations of items to those left stranded following the Grenfell Tower Fire.

Residents in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower were evacuated from their flats in the burning building in the early hours of the morning, and with smoke still bellowing out of the structure, many residents were forced to sleep in makeshift shelters last night.

At least 70 people have been confirmed to have been taken to five hospitals in London for treatment, with many more expected to be announced in the near future.

The tragedy has left hundreds of people without their possessions, food and drink. A number of locations have been set up throughout the county for you to offer your assistance. The early support has been magnificent, with numerous Mick George vehicles already full and ready for distribution to the Grenfell site.

Donations of the following items would be much appreciated:

– Blankets
– Clothes
– Toys
– Toiletrees and Nappies
– Other basic necessities

If you would like to help, you can drop off at the following nearby locations:

Mick George Ltd
8am-2pm (Thursday 15th June)
6 Lancaster Way, Ermine Business Park, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 6XU

Better Removals and Storage
6.15am-12pm (Thursday 15th June)
Flint Park, Barley Road, Royston, SG8 7PU

Murketts
8am-2pm (Thursday 15th June)
137 Histon Road, Cambridge, CB4 3JD

The Cresset
8am-2pm (Thursday 15th June)
Rightwell, Bretton, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PPE3 8DX

A champion in the making…?

Who fancies a night of boxing in the greatest city in the world?

seanDownwell Demolition’s Matt Phillips is fit. The man runs marathons like an African and is – as the expression goes – as lean as a butcher’s dog.

But by comparison to his son Sean, Matt is a slouch and a layabout. Because Sean is about to make his professional boxing debut on the undercard of a world title fight featuring world class middleweight Billy Joe Saunders.

The event will take place at the Copper Box Arena in London on 8 July 2017. This is an ideal opportunity for the industry to get together to support a possible future champion; and to hang out with fellow demolition folk and aficionados of the noble art.

Tickets are available through Sean Phillips own website – Click here for details.

DemolitionNews is hoping to be there (assuming we can move a prior engagement) – We’d love to see you there to cheer on one of our own…in every sense of the word.

Comment – Nothing can prepare demolition workers for this…

Like many of my fellow countrymen, I awoke this morning to the tragic and terrible news of the fire that engulfed and seemingly destroyed the Grenfell Tower residential block in West London. It is too early to speculate, but news sources suggest there have been multiple fatalities.

It is trite but, having grown up in a tower block myself, I can only imagine the horror of being trapped in a high rise block while it is ablaze. My thoughts go out to all those affected.

My thoughts go out also to any demolition workers that might ultimately find themselves working to make this block safe or – more likely – to demolish it entirely. Initial news reports suggest that there are fears the block might collapse. If that is the case, then demolition crews are likely to be required to attend.

The emergency services are trained to handle disasters and loss of life on this scale. Whilst I have nothing but admiration for those working in the fire and ambulance service, I would imagine that they develop a degree of immunity to such tragedies; that over the course of months and years and multiple accidents and incidents, they learn to cope with the horrors such events present.

Demolition workers have no such protection. Most will – thankfully – work their entire careers without ever encountering a scene like that of Grenfell Tower. Most will never have to work where men, women and children have perished. Most will never have to carry out work that constitutes a form of desecration, constantly in fear and dread of uncovering the undiscovered body of an unfortunate victim.

But some will. And those that do will do so without the cloak of immunity built up by the emergency services. They will do so without specific training on the tragedy of what they might encounter. And they will do so – often – with no form of counselling and support in the aftermath of what must surely be the worst aspect of the demolition trade.

In the event of a disaster such as that at Grenfell Tower, no-one is better equipped to deal with the aftermath than the demolition industry. The industry has the expertise to deal with unstable buildings and structures. It has the equipment required to do so delicately and safely. And it has men and women brave enough to work where others fear to tread.

But it is important that we are mindful of the potential impact that working in such an environment might have on those demolition workers. They are prepared to work anywhere and at any time. But nothing can prepare them for a tragedy such as this.

RVA appoints new Ops Manager

Decommissioning consultancy strengthens leadership team ahead of further growth.

NickRVA Group has appointed Nick Clark as Operations Manager. With a wealth of experience working in high hazard environments, he joins this organisation following 15 years’ management in the offshore and onshore oil sector.
 
Proficiently skilled in the running, maintenance, and decommissioning of multifaceted plants, Nick will play a key role in the increasingly complex projects that RVA is consistently securing. He is a chartered member of IOSH, with a vast portfolio of EHS, CDM, asbestos management and quality assurance training, and has helped to form and develop a number of multi-skilled teams in his previous roles.
 
Nick’s appointment coincides with RVA’s 25th year in business. During this time, the company has completed over 700 complex, high-hazard and large-scale decommissioning, dismantling and demolition projects in the petrochemical, chemical, power generation, oil, gas and pharmaceutical sectors.  In addition to providing support for the physical removal of process plants, RVA is also being increasingly called upon to develop detailed strategic medium and long-term redundant asset management plans.
 
But the company does not rest on its laurels, comments founder and Managing Director Richard Vann: “We have an enviable – yet justifiable – reputation in this niche field, and to mark 25 successful years in business is a testament to the hard work of everyone within our 15-strong team.
 
“However, we’re here to build an RVA fit for the future too. So, as we prepare for the next 25 years in business, we need to continuously bring in fresh, dynamic talent that will enable us to push new boundaries as industry challenges evolve. Nick is one of five members of a new leadership structure, which will take us confidently into the next decade and beyond.”

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