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Video – Easter egg demolition…

Man vs Machine Easter Egg Scramble.

It is that time of year when diets are cast aside like so much dirty laundry in order to celebrate the resurrection of the Son of God via the mass consumption of chocolate (no, we can’t see the connection either).

So what better time to pit one brave man against one machine in a race against the clock to see which can collect the most Easter Eggs?

Before anyone complains about our choice of One Direction-branded Easter eggs for this stunt, we would like to point out that this is in no way a statement on the band’s music (which, admittedly, is terrible). It was purely that their Easter eggs were the cheapest we could find!

Our thanks to the team at Diggerland in Kent for making this film possible, and to C&D Consultancy for providing the spiffing shirt worn by the sure-to-be-Oscar-nominated male lead:

Comment – HCL and the ruby connection…

Familiar name, familiar outcome as HCL slides into abyss.

When Lee Demolition and Euro Dismantling Services (EDS) slid unceremoniously into the industry dead pool recently, their untimely demise was greeted with an industry-wide outpouring of support for the workers.

There has been a similar reaction to the news that HCL Equipment Contracts has followed the same, well-trodden path to the financial abyss. But this time, it has been tempered with question marks and anger over at least one of the names linked with the company.

The name David Unwin will be familiar to anyone that followed the farcical Wrekin Construction “Gem of Tanzania” debacle which saw Unwin and a fellow director barred from directorship having balanced the company books with a “ruby gemstone” claimed to be worth £11 million but which eventually sold for just over £8,000.

Although records at Companies House show that Unwin directorship of HCL was terminated in October last year, it also shows that his son – also David – is listed as a director while a Miss Emma Louise Unwin is listed as company secretary.

If that weren’t intriguing enough, then what about the fact that HCL shares a registered address with another demolition company – Euro Demolition and Dismantling Services – with David Unwin Jnr again listed as a director.

Coincidence or potential comeback vehicle. Only time will tell.

Dead worker named…

Man killed in Grosvenor Square collapse named as Dainius Rupsys.

McGee has named the worker killed at 20 Grosvenor Square yesterday as 33-year-old father-of-two Dainius Rupsys.

According to Construction News, Rupsys was a Lithuanian national. He was killed at the residential conversion site in Mayfair yesterday when a mini excavator fell through the second floor to the first floor level at approximately 3.45 pm.

In a statement, McGee chief executive Declan Sherry said a piece of machinery was demolishing a concrete floor slab of around 12 sq m, when the floor slab gave way and fell to the next level down. A second worker was taken to hospital with minor injuries and was discharged on Monday evening.

Sherry said: “The deceased worker was Dainius Rupsys, a 33-year-old Lithuanian national who had worked with McGee since 2012. His next of kin have been informed. Dainius was a popular and valued member of the team and will be missed by us all. He was a father of two. Our thoughts are with his whole family at this very difficult time. McGee is in contact with members of his family and will be offering counselling and other support. We will also be offering counselling and support to other employees who work on the site.”

Brokk goes large…

400 model remote controlled demolition robot gets upgrade.

Brokk 400, Örvikensågen.Brokk, Inc. has upgraded its electric Brokk 400 remote-controlled demolition machine to include a larger undercarriage for heavy-tracking applications like tunnelling and mining and for enhanced stability when operating with heavier attachments like metal shears and scabblers. Brokk also has improved the hydraulic system; it now provides more efficient fluid flow when the machine is operating a drill attachment so there is more consistent power. With its new upgrades the Brokk 400 also delivers exceptional performance on a variety of construction, demolition and speciality applications.

The new 400 model machine features a bigger drive axis, rollers and sidetracks. It also has a larger undercarriage with new tracks that are 10 percent longer than its predecessor. This improves wear life for machines used in applications that require a lot of tracking and provides up to 60 percent greater stability when operating with heavier attachments. In addition, the machine’s outriggers provide a wide base that evenly distributes weight and provides even more stability. Its high chassis setup and heavy-duty rubber tracks make it easy to maneuver over rubble piles and obstacles.

The new Brokk 400 can handle attachments up to 1,420 pounds, and its hydraulic quick-hitch system eliminates the need for hard pinning, so operators can change attachments more quickly and easily and with less hassle.

When paired with Atlas Copco’s SB 552 hammer, the Brokk 400 has a hitting power of 773 foot-pounds at the tip of the tool, which makes it ideal for rock excavation in small tunnels, scaling or secondary breaking.

The new Brokk 400 weighs 11,240 pounds and is 63 inches wide and nearly 81 inches tall. While it’s slightly larger than its predecessor it’s still compact enough for work in small spaces. It also is powered by a 30 kW electric motor for emissions-free operation in confined areas.

The machine features a robust, three-part boom that can operate at angles of up to 30 degrees and reach 22 feet horizontally and 24 feet vertically. The remote-controlled boom allows operators standing a safe distance away to reach into areas that traditional machines or users with handheld equipment cannot. The boom also features a box-weld design that provides additional protection for cylinders and hoses.

In addition to the 400, Brokk offers seven models in a variety of sizes and with a range of capacities. The smallest, the Brokk 60, weighs just 1,100 pounds, and the largest, the Brokk 800, weighs 24,350 pounds. The company also engineers and builds custom machines with special equipment such as cameras, extended arms, side-angling devices and cable drums.

UCATT reacts to Grosvenor Square fatality

Union decries “wholly avoidable accident”.

Commenting on the fatal accident that occurred yesterday in Grosvenor Square, London in which a construction worker died and another worker was injured, Jerry Swain Regional Secretary for UCATT’s London and South East Region said: “This was a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the victim’s family at this dreadful time.”

Swain added: “From the facts we now so far it would appear to have been a wholly avoidable accident. It is essential that there is an urgent investigation to find out how this accident occurred and lessons are learnt to ensure that a similar accident can be avoided in the future.”

The fatal accident occurred exactly a fortnight before Workers Memorial Day on Monday 28th April when member of UCATT – the UK’s largest construction industry trade union – from throughout London will be gathering at the Building Workers statue at Tower Hill, to remember fellow workers who have been killed and injured in the industry.

Video – A trip down memory lane…

Health and safety folk, look away now.

This video – supposedly featuring demolition circa 1971 – just surfaced on YouTube for no apparent reason. However, it is one of a number of old time demolition videos on offer from the British Pathe new channel.

Sadly, the audio is missing but that doesn’t detract from the “pleasures” of seeing recyclable materials being thrown INTO a house that’s on fire, or the wry smile caused by seeing a pair or workers armed with picks effectively breaking out the roof upon which they are stood.

Welcome back to Nostalgia Corner.

Comment – You can’t please everyone…

A final word on the decision to remove the Red Road implosion from the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

Watching 17,000-odd people rush to sign a petition against the inclusion of the Red Road implosion as part of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, I was reminded of an interview by former Oasis front man Noel Gallagher a few years ago. During the interview – and in typically colourful Gallagher-esque language – he decried the creation of music purely to satisfy the needs of consumers and focus groups. “The public didn’t know it wanted Jimi Hendrix but he changed the world,” he says. “Consumers didn’t know they wanted Sergeant Pepper or the Sex Pistols. Consumers are idiots.”

If the Games organisers’ U-turn was – as it claims – based upon the likelihood of protests spreading police and security resources too thin to ensure public safety, then they have my 100 percent backing. Despite my own personal desire to see the blast go ahead, I fully understand the need to protect the public.

If, however, this decision has been made purely to acquiesce to the demands of an ill-informed public that was using the planned blast as the focal point for its anger about everything from the erosion of social housing to the rising cost of the Games themselves, then the public only has itself to blame.

In the immediate aftermath of the decision to include the five-storey blast in the ceremony, the Internet lit-up with misinformation, speculation and rabble-rousing. “Glasgow would be choked in a cloud of asbestos”. Erm, no. The asbestos was removed months ago, just as it had been on the previous two blocks that were safely imploded. “The cost of the blast had driven up the cost of the Games.” Sorry, no again. The removal of the Red Road flats was part of a framework agreement that was signed and sealed several years ago.

I have no doubt that the Games organisers will find something fitting to fill the 15-second gap left in their planned opening ceremony. And, given Glasgow’s notoriously unpredictable weather, perhaps we will look back at the U-turn and thank our lucky stars that they did.

Personally, though, I maintain that this is a missed opportunity. It was a bold, far-sighted, creative and innovative idea that has been – partially, at least – scuppered by a misinformed and misguided public and a local media too willing to leap aboard the naysayer bandwagon.

To those people I will echo Noel Gallagher and say just this. When creativity and innovation is allowed to flourish, you get Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols, Prince and Nirvana. When you design by committee and focus group, you get Coldplay.

I rest my case.

HCL latest to succumb…

Alfreton-based contractor appoints administrator.

Derbyshire-based HCL Equipment Contracts Ltd has become the latest demolition contractor to join the dead pool.

Although details are still being finalised, DemolitionNews can exclusively reveal that the company appointed administrators on Friday of last week. A statement from the as-yet-unnamed administrators is expected shortly.

Interestingly, at the time of writing, links to the company’s website are being automatically redirected to the Google homepage.

More to follow.

Breaking News – Man killed on London site…

Investigation underway as partial collapse kills man on McGee site.

One man has been killed and another has been injured after a partial building collapse in Grosvenor Square this afternoon.

A man believed to be in his early thirties who was working on the site at 20 Grosvenor Square and was pronounced dead at the scene while at least one other person was injured. Salima Cherrad, who works as a receptionist in the area, said she had seen construction workers coming out of a building that had had scaffolding up. We saw a helicopter here in Grosvenor Square and we assumed it was something that happened with the guys and the scaffolding. There were lots of them who came out of the building at the same time and they were all gathering at one spot in the square.”

Re-development work on 20 Grosvenor Square started last summer and the development team said they are liaising with the workers’ families.

A spokesman said: “Earlier this afternoon an incident occurred on the construction site at 20 Grosevnor Square which required an ambulance to be called for two workers who were taken to hospital.

“McGee, the contractor responsible for the site, is liaising with the workers’ families.

Read more here, here and here.

Public opinion is an ass…

Red Road implosion dropped from Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

The BBC is reporting that Commonwealth Games organisers have dropped the demolition of the Red Road flats from the Glasgow 2014 opening ceremony.

Five of the blocks were to be brought down at the start of the Games in July.

The plan proved controversial, with an online petition against the demolition gathering more than 17,000 signatures.

Glasgow 2014 said opinions being expressed about “safety and security” meant the destruction of the flats would not now feature in the opening.

Police Scotland said that because of these concerns the security director for the Games asked the chairman of the Glasgow 2014 board to reconsider the plan.

The 30-storey structures were built in the mid 1960s and the original eight tower blocks housed more than 4,000 people. The demolitions will now be rescheduled.

Opponents had questioned the message the demolition would send and described the plans as insensitive to former residents as well as asylum seekers currently living in the sixth block.

In a statement, Games chief executive David Grevemberg said: “We made it clear from the outset the absolute priority was safety and that this event would only happen during the opening ceremony if it was safe to do so.

“Over the past few days it has become clear that opinions have been expressed which change the safety and security context.

Read more here.

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