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Demolition 2051 – Glimpse of a possible future…

A new book from DemolitionNews predicts a human-free demolition industry of the future.

“…imagine a world in which man has been removed entirely from demolition sites; a world in which Zero Harm is not just a reality, but the industry norm…”

Demolition 2051 is a new book from DemolitionNews founder Mark Anthony. The book envisages an idealised demolition world of the future in which man has been eradicated from front line demolition; a future in which accidents have been consigned to the history books; but a world in which some still hanker for a mechanised past.

Although it is a work of fiction, the book is rooted in reality. Many of the machines, concepts and processes described either exist already or are likely to come in the next few years.

Despite its futuristic tone, the book is a very human story. Its main protagonist – Bruce – is a third generation demolition man who still longs for the machines and methods he learned from his father and grandfather.

The book is available exclusively through the Amazon book store. UK residents can order a copy here, while those in the US can orders theirs here. Alternatively, just search Amazon for Demolition 2051.

Comment – Braced for impact…

Carillion collapse could cost demolition dear.

Like many allied to the UK construction sector, I spent this past weekend scanning the horizon, hoping and praying for a miracle that might pull industry giant Carillion back from the precipice. Not because I have any particular affinity with Carillion; not because I am especially concerned about the impact upon the HS2 of which the company was set to be a part.

I was not even too bothered about the likely effect of the company’s demise on the schools and hospitals it is charged with maintaining. The current UK government might appear inept at times, but even they are not foolhardy enough to allow the collapse of a construction company to further hinder its chances of re-election by failing to support these two massive vote winning areas of activity. Quite how they explain away allocating a portion of the HS2 contract to a company that seemingly everyone knew was on a financial knife-edge is quite another matter.

Like most people connected to this sector, I had two concerns: the impact upon the 40,000+ Carillion employees; and, moreover, the impact upon the sub-contractors that will bear the brunt of the financial losses amassed by a company that has seemingly been in terminal decline for several years.

It seems likely that, as Carillion slips beneath the murky financial waters, some of its workload – including HS2 – will be absorbed by other, rival firms. In that instance, it seems equally likely that at least some of the firm’s employees might find employment elsewhere in relatively short order. Furthermore, despite the spectre of Brexit that is hanging over the UK economy at present, construction demand remains largely positive. The chances of ex-Carillion employees finding alternative employment are pretty good, all things considered, although the prospects for their pension funds, however, look less certain.

And the same, sadly, cannot be said for the countless sub and specialist contractors to which Carillion is thought to owe millions. Although it will likely take months for the true extent of Carillion’s debts to become clear, it is thought that a number of demolition firms could take a hit. Rumours abound of demolition contractors being owed hundreds of thousands of pounds or more; and there is the very real possibility that Carillion’s sinking could lead to the drowning of several demolition companies.

By all accounts, Carillion was not a particularly good company to work for, either as an employee or as a sub-contractor. Like a number of other big-name firms, it was caught up in the employee blacklisting scandal. Also like several other big-name main contractors, it forced sub-contractors to accept cash-flow crucifying credit terms of 90 and even 120 days.

Those credit terms alone should have run alarm bells with sub and specialist contractors about the financial stability of Carillion. The fact that several other main contractors continue to impose draconian payment terms should now be a red flag to us all.

No cause for Champagne celebration…

Company fined in asbestos whistle-blower case.

A jury and judge have ordered an Albany-based demolition company and its owner to pay more than $170,000 to a worker who was fired after reporting improper asbestos removal practices by the firm.

The judgment, which followed a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. in Syracuse, supports a U.S. Department of Labor lawsuit that alleged Champagne Demolition LLC and its owner, Joseph A. Champagne, violated the employee’s “whistleblower” rights, the labor department said in a news release.

On June 10, 2010, employee Donald Miles reported to the company’s management that asbestos had been improperly removed at a job site at Gloversville High School, according to court records. The next day, Miles was fired and subjected to verbal threats and legal action by the company, the department of labor said.

Miles subsequently filed a complaint with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which opened a whistleblower investigation and found merit to the allegation, the department said.

“We are pleased with the jury verdict and the judge’s ruling to hold this employer accountable for violating the employee’s rights,” OSHA Regional Administrator Robert Kulick said in a statement. “Every worker has the right to report potential safety and health hazards without fear of harassment, termination or retaliation.”

Read more here.

Video – Two-Headed Monster…

Meet the real Swiss Army Knife of the demolition industry.

There’s more than one way to skin the proverbial cat. Faced with the need for two attachments, a demolition contractor might employ two carrier machines. He might employ one machine equipped with a quick coupler to allow the rapid switch from pulveriser to shear.

Alternatively, he could always do this!

Reward offered for stolen wall saw…

Southern Demolition offers £1,000 reward for return of unique tool.

Byfleet, Surrey-based Southern Demolition Company is offering a £1,000 reward to anyone offering information that leads to the return of Husqvarna Ws220 Wall Saw that was stolen from one of the comp[any’s sites on Shaftsbury Avenue, London.

The unit – one of only three in the south east of England – comes as a two-piece unit which consist of a power pack and saw head. According to Southern Demolition Company, the unit is valued at around £20,000.

The serial numbers are
Machine head WS220 –  20141600006
Power pack PP220   – 2014220002
Anyone with information on this item or that is offered it for sale should contact Southern Demolition Company on Tel: 01932 351738

Asbestos drives up leisure centre costs…

Survey firm could face legal action after it missed asbestos.

Demolition of a leisure centre will cost an extra £1 million and has been delayed by 18 months after asbestos was found.

A survey of Abertillery Leisure Centre missed the brown asbestos. A report said cavity walls had been checked.

Blaenau Gwent council said it was considering legal action against MSS Consulting, the firm behind the survey.

A spokesman for the company said it had cooperated fully with the council to try and resolve the issue since it was first brought to its attention.

The matter is now in the hands of its insurers.

Blaenau Gwent council has suspended demolition work until a new firm has removed the asbestos, at a cost of £998,992.

Despite a specialist survey being carried out to check for asbestos, it was not mentioned in the report and was only discovered once demolition work had begun, the council said.

The council said MSS Consulting Ltd was hired to carry out a pre-demolition refurbishment (PDR) survey to identify the presence of asbestos.

A spokeswoman said “other sources of asbestos not identified within the PDR were discovered within building cavities and other areas”.

Read more here.

Video – Playing into the hands of protestors…

Debris lands in street as protestors watch.

Residents in St Peters, an inner-city suburb of Sydney, had gathered to protest against the $17bn+ WestCONnex tollway project during which homes forcibly acquired by the government were being demolished.

This video captures the moment when contractors took the roof off a home and sent bricks flying out onto power lines and the road; and knocked the water main open on the corner.

Residents had been asking about the poor dust control measures moments before this happened

Video – Don’t leave me hanging…

Demolishing a tower block whilst suspended from a crane.

We are quite used to seeing cranes play a pivotal role in top-down demolition works; lowering machines onto the roof and lowering debris and arisings to the ground below. It’s also not unusual to see a crane employed to hold aloft a screen to ensure that falling debris stays within an exclusion zone.

This, however, is neither of those things!

Video – End of LifeWay…

Nashville landmark falls to “perfect” implosion.

A prominent piece of Nashville history fell loud and hard Saturday, but the implosion of the LifeWay Draper Tower went as planned.

“Everything went 100 percent perfect,” said Steve Pettigrew, the man in charge of the implosion. “In downtown urban areas where you have glass and utilities sometimes, a lot of structure there…we just inspected it and everything looks great.”

Video – Pray it falls the right way…

The latest addition to the Holy Crap Files is the stuff of health and safety nightmares.

If you’re a health and safety professional, equipment operator, demolition worker or if you have a functioning brain, you might want to look away now.

The video (below) from Taiwan is an object lesson in how risk assessments are (or at least should be) an integral part of the demolition process:

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