The Break Fast Show #35

In today’s show: We look back at yesterday’s massive product launch that saw 45 new or improved products join the JCB stable. Total Reclaims Demolition earns praise from commercial property specialists for its new industrial development in its native Nottingham. We look ahead to another massive machine launch, this time in conjunction with CASE.

And we wish a happy birthday to Gary Short, head-honcho at Shorts Group, and to a number of other celebrities.

You can find out more in today’s extended show notes here.

A Total success

The directors of a Nottingham-based demolition company have earned praise from commercial property specialists for the on-going creation of a new industrial development close to the company’s Hucknall headquarters.

Melvyn Cross, Mark Cross, Gary Cross Richard Noon, directors at Total Reclaims Demolition, are creating a selection of high-calibre industrial units on what will be known as Whyburn Business Park

Sunny Landa, director at commercial property specialists NG Chartered Surveyors, has been astonished by the response, despite the ongoing pandemic.

“Melvyn, Mark, Gary and Richard should be congratulated for creating such versatile high-spec industrial units in this area,” Landa says. “The fact that they are being let shows that business confidence is still high, despite the challenges of the last 12 months.

“We have secured tenants for three of the nine units in phase one and have firm interest in a fourth, despite only bringing them to market a week ago.”

The new Whyburn Business Park project is set to be delivered in two phases.

Phase One will provide nine units, each with a footprint of around 2,000 sq ft – and Phase Two will see the addition of another nine similarly-sized units.

All 18 units will then be aimed squarely at SMEs and offer plenty of vertical height. Measuring around seven metres at the eaves, the idea is that the extra space will allow far greater versatility in terms of machinery and storage, as well as the opportunity for tenants to create additional mezzanine floor space.

The Break Fast Show #34

In today’s show: BPH adds OilQuick system to its increasingly impressive attachments stable; and we’re looking ahead to JCB’s latest virtual product launch that is taking place later today.

And don’t forget, we will be back at 6pm tonight to bring you all the latest news on that JCB launch.

You can find the show notes for today’s broadcast here:

Rugeley cooling towers’ date with destiny

The iconic cooling towers at Rugeley Power Station are set to fall in June this year ahead of a major redevelopment at the site.

According to news portal Construction Enquirer, principal contractor ENGIE has been granted outline planning permission for the major redevelopment of the site in Staffordshire.

That redevelopment will see the site transformed into a mixed-use development of 2,300 low carbon homes and a school.

The development will advance in phases with initial work commencing to the north of the development, where the coal yards resided.

Remediation work will start in May and is projected to complete in the winter of 2022. Infrastructure will begin in the autumn with housing parcels following remediation.

Brown and Mason carried out the last two blasts at the site – the first in April 2020 and the second back in January.

You can read more here.

The Break Fast Show #33

In today’s episode: The iconic cooling towers at Rugeley Power Station in Staffordshire have a date with destiny; North West demolition contractors should be beating a path to Stakehill Industrial Estate (via the Builders’ Conference) as a warehouse requires demolition; and we look ahead to a week in which there are several new product launches scheduled.

All this and more in The Break Fast Show, Episode 33.

You can find a full set of extended show notes here:

Messe Munchen memories

Two years ago this week, just as I was leaving the Messe Munchen exhibition centre in Munich, Germany, my son Fred took the photo below.
As it was designed purely for social media purposes, it was staged, posed and very intentionally branded. With the passage of time, it has also become poignant.

Moments before this photo was taken, I had pondered if the 2019 show might have been my last Bauma. I have been writing about construction and demolition equipment since the late 1980s and I have lost count of the number of Bauma shows I have attended. It is definitely seven, but it could be nine.

One thing have learned in all those visits to Munich is that Bauma is a young man’s game. A decent exercise regime for a man of my advancing years requires me to walk 10,000 steps per day. On the opening day of Bauma 2019, my Apple Watch reported that I had racked up 40,000 steps by 2.30 in the afternoon.

So when I said that Bauma 2019 might have been my last, I was questioning my own ability to undertake such a mammoth show when Old Father Time had heaped another three years onto shoulders already stooped with age. I had no idea that, just two years later, I would be questioning whether Bauma itself would be returning in 2022.

So much has changed in the 730-odd days since Bauma 2019 closed its doors. A visit to Bauma means international travel, something hat has been all but impossible for the past year. In 2019, I was crammed – together with many others – into taxis, beer halls, coaches, restaurants and trains. I shook hands a lot. I was hugged on several occasions. People coughed and sneezed in close proximity to one another without causing concern or consternation. I did not encounter a single bottle of hand sanitizer, gave no thought to what vaccines my fellow show attendees may or may not have received, and the only face-masks I recall seeing were part of a carnival-style parade through the showground.

I encountered one or two electric-powered machines at the show too, and semi dismissed them as a novelty. Two years later and just about every equipment manufacturer worth its salt now has either an electric machine in its range or a clearly defined alternative fuel strategy with which to compete in the post-diesel world.

The greatest change, however, is the fact that this was (and hopefully will continue to be) a physical event; the unspoken pleasure of which we have all been starved for the past year or more. As you read this, I am starting a week in which I will attend three major machine launches, each of them without leaving my office. Bizarrely, this now feels entirely normal while my visit to a site last week to see Europe’s first LiuGong 995F DM demolition excavator felt strangely alien. I was greeted on site by three people I have met previously. One of them I consider a friend. And yet we all stood apart while trying to figure out how to greet each other without the handshake we have all grown up with.

Oddly enough, that morning on site felt like a treat; like a post-diet return to the local Indian restaurant that you have frequented each week for years.

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, of course. And while the enormity and severity of the COVID-19 crisis is there for all to see, those of a “glass half full” persuasion will point to the fact that the pandemic and the resulting lockdown has also had a positive impact in certain areas.

It has made us all aware of just how important and necessary human interaction is. It has given us an opportunity to re-evaluate our work/life balance and to adopt new ways of working remotely. I have spent more valuable time with my family; I have lost weight; I have walked the dogs more regularly. I don’t know about you, but my carbon footprint has reduced to virtually zero as I have embraced remote working and LiveStreaming.

For all this, I know I am polishing a turd; attempting to place a positive spin upon an almost entirely negative situation. And while it now feels highly unlikely that I will ever return entirely to my previous method of working, the lifting of lockdown restrictions – however cautious – feels like a blessed relief.

So while there remains a Coronavirus-shaped question mark over Bauma 2022, I have already booked my accommodation for the duration of the show. Assuming the show goes ahead, I will be there I will be tired, aching and I will be footsore. I will look miserable. But trust me, I’ll be deeply grateful.

The Break Fast Show #32

In today’s show: Research into Carillion collapse identifies “corporate deviance” at the heart of the UK construction sector; exclusive footage of a massive German power station implosion; and a demolition project that some might willingly do for free.

All that and another chance to look within the CMA Files:

You can find the extended show notes for this episode here:

Deviance at the heart of UK construction…

There is a culture of financial deviance at the heart of the UK construction sector.

That is just one of the key take-aways from research carried out by the London South Bank University into the collapse of industry giant Carillion.

The demise of Carillion at the beginning of 2018 was the UK’s biggest corporate failure in decades, affecting hundreds of thousands of people across the country. More than 3,000 jobs were lost at the company, and the collapse affected 75,000 people working in its supply chain.

The new research into that collapse shows that individuals and teams in the wider construction sector often “accommodate, explain away or normalise discrepancies and problems.”

These factors can result in a company not following codes of practice while failing to anticipate and manage a wide range of potential structural internal crises.

The researchers have exposed what they claim to be “the most common deviant practices” and identified three distinct types of ‘normalisation of deviance’ that existed within Carillion before the corporation’s collapse that could also be prevalent in the wider construction sector. These are:

  • Late payment of suppliers
  • Aggressive Accounting
  • Auditors failing to identify problems

The researchers categorised these three types of ‘normalisation of deviance’ as internal or external, depending on whether they related to the company under observation or its main stakeholders. They observed that, while in hindsight, these practices could be viewed as unacceptable, their emergence was a gradual process that took place over several years. This pattern of corporate behaviour indicates that ‘normalisation of deviance’ is likely to be embedded in corporate culture and very difficult to detect in the initial stages of its development.

The researchers found that the business characteristics in the construction industry, with its highly competitive and pressurised culture, low profit margins, complex and uncertain undertakings, have all contributed to the emergence of questionable business practices.

The research project is led by Dr Sara Hajikazemi, Senior Lecturer in Project Management at LSBU’s Business School, in collaboration with co-authors from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Nord University in Norway, and the University of Oulu and Tampere University in Finland.

Dr Sara Hajikazemi, said, “Our research shows that ‘normalised deviance’ has always been present in the construction sector.

“What is concerning is that, as happened with Carillion, construction companies currently lack an early warning system that could alert them to emerging signs of deviant corporate behaviour and malpractice. This means that the construction industry is still likely to be at risk of falling prey to ‘normalised deviance’ and its damaging consequences in future.’’

The Break Fast Show #31

In today’s show: An exclusive first-look at a first of its kind demolition excavator that has just made landfall in the UK; and a demolition contractor is needed for a project in Stockport. PLUS, if you have any concerns about machine security and protection against equipment vandalism, you won’t want to miss this one.

You can find a full set of show notes here:

Opening the CMA files…

DemolitionNews compiles dossier charting continuing collusion investigation.

The highly-secretive but potentially far-reaching investigation into alleged collusion within the UK demolition industry is a topic that has had the sector transfixed for more than two years now.

Who is involved? Are they guilty? What will the punishment be? How will the fallout impact and shape the wider industry? When will it all end?

All of those questions remained unanswered yet they remain a constant theme.

DemolitionNews has been following this story since early in 2019 when rumours began to circulate that investigations into alleged collusion in construction had spilled over into the sphere of demolition. Within weeks, we heard talk of demolition offices being raided by investigators from the Companies and Markets Authority (CMA); and of laptop computers and mobile phones being confiscated for further investigation.

Unconfirmed reports suggested that the CMA would present its findings and – presumably – commence prosecution proceedings back in September 2019. There was then talk of the net being widened from what was believed to be an initial six companies to as many as 12 or more. Then came COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown that brought any ongoing investigation to a temporary halt.

But through all of this, DemolitionNews has maintained a dossier of news clippings and reports that has charted every twist in this seemingly never-ending saga.

“From its very inception, DemolitionNews has been committed to providing the global demolition industry with a central news and information resource. Indeed, the very reason DemolitionNews was created was to remove the geographic and association silos in which industry information was traditionally held,” explains DemolitionNews founder Mark Anthony. “But that resource extends beyond simple news reporting. Behind the scenes, we have created a database of information that helps inform our reporting of industry news and issues. Given the length of time the CMA investigation is taking to be resolved and in light of the sheer volume of questions around the subject, we have decided to open that dossier for readers to see.”

You can view the dossier here.

As with all DemolitionNews research, this dossier is held within the Evernote platform; although you do not need an Evernote account to access it.

“The CMA investigation into alleged collusion has had a major impact upon other sectors within the construction field. It has resulted in massive fines and company directors being banned,” Anthony continues. “If collusion s proven within the UK demolition industry as it was in Denmark, the fallout has the potential to change the very fabric of the sector. So it is vital that industry professionals have easy access to all the information, and not just that published on”