The Break Fast Show #366

In today’s show: Demolition swings to the rescue after a building collapse; H.E. Services digs into history; and there’s girl power at Ward Demolition in New Zealand.

PLUS there is another chance to see our exclusive interview with Ritchie Bros Johan Lustig as we discuss the present and future for electrically-powered equipment.

Digging into history

A Komatsu excavator donated by plant hirer H.E. Services is spearheading an archaeological dig that is searching for the remains of a German WWII V-2 rocket that hit a Kent village some 78 years ago.

You can find out more about this project here.

Electric Equipment – The unanswered questions

Construction and demolition manufacturers would have us believe that electric powered machines are the solution to at least some of the environmental challenges facing the sector.

Questions still remain, however, over battery life, charging times, and the amount of work that can be accomplished on a single charge.

But perhaps the biggest question that still hangs over electric machines is their likely resale value.

With manufacturers either unable or unwilling to help answer that most pressing question, we reached out to auction house Ritchie Bros to find out what they were seeing in terms of electric machine sales.


The Break Fast Show After Dark #2

In the second episode of our new night-time show, discussion points included training and mentorship; the demolition and construction industry’s skills crisis; and the true value of electric machines.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE BROKK COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.

The Break Fast Show #365

In today’s show: Tin foil hats at the ready people. It is conspiracy time again. A Norwegian high reach puts in a shift; and there’s a new kid on the blocks.

PLUS how Hyundai is grabbing a slice of the action.

The Break Fast Show #364

In today’s show: Disappointing and predictable in roughly equal measure; Caterpillar grabs the demolition opportunity; Avant blows towards the Autumn; and there is a hot new demolition project lead, this time in Cheshire.

PLUS a pair of port cranes will disappear before your eyes.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

Massive compensation for injured worker

News portal Construction Enquirer is reporting that a worker who lost his leg during a demolition site accident has won a multimillion-pound compensation claim.

Damien Bundock, 29, was crushed by machinery that weighed three tonnes when he was working on a demolition project in June 2017 for construction firm S Walsh & Sons at a site in Essex.

He was airlifted to hospital but, despite extensive efforts, doctors had no choice but to amputate his lower right leg.

Thompsons Solicitors successfully argued that, as Bundock had been a keen runner, swimmer, and motocross rider prior to the injury, he would need multiple adapted limbs to allow him to get back to doing what he loved most.

Not only did they secure substantial interim payments – allowing him to cover the cost of his initial prosthetic limbs – but they also obtained a multimillion-pound compensation package to pay for four other prosthetic limbs, including an advanced powered microprocessor prosthesis (Empower) and a running blade.

The settlement ensures Bundock can not only pay for other adaptations, but that he will not be left in financial difficulties if he struggles to find work in the future.

Read more here.

VIDEO EXCLUSIVE – The Model Maker

Gaz Evans is a former demolition equipment operator who clearly has a passion for machines and attachments. So much so that he now works full-time producing some of the most detailed and desirable plant and attachments in the world.

In this exclusive interview, we find out how and why Gaz made the leap from big diggers to not so big diggers; and why his intricate models are sought after around the world.

The Break Fast Show #363

In today’s show: Brown and Mason topples Teeside giant; Hyundai pops a wheelie…twice; XCMG celebrates as telehandlers head overseas; and there’s yet another hot new demolition project lead, this time in Cambridge.

PLUS Volvo puts on a show.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

Death of the Bootstrap Entrepreneur

Across the span of more than three decades, I have had the pleasure and the honour of interviewing countless demolition company founders.

Whether they came directly to demolition or jumped across from an allied business, all those founders have shared a common theme. Each of them started with precious little in the way of money and experience but, through a mix of grit, determination, sheer bloody-mindedness and a liberal sprinkling of luck, they each hauled themselves up by their bootstraps and went on to create a successful career and business.

In the modern age, however, grit, determination and bloody-mindedness is no longer enough. And any luck that is available tends to be of the bad variety.

By accident or by design, we have engineered a business structure that has made entrepreneurship so tough and so complex that the age of the bootstrap founder has been forced to the very brink of extinction.

There was a time that a wanna-be demolition man (or woman) could pick up a used excavator with which to start their business. It might have been noisy and smelly; it might have belched black smoke into the atmosphere; and it might have required a set of spanners to be on constant standby. But that old machine would allow a person to learn the ropes; to establish a network of customers; and to earn enough money to eventually fund a new machine that was a little less smelly.

Not any more. Such machines have been effectively outlawed in the name of emissions control. And while I certainly have no desire to inhale black smoke, that shift has erected a barrier to entry to the industry.

It doesn’t end there. Back in the day, that bootstrap entrepreneur might have called upon friends and contacts to help carry some of the workload as the business grew. Like the founder themselves, those friends and contacts often came with little or no experience. Also like the founder, they learned on the job.

Learning on the job has also gone the way of the dodo. Those friends and contacts would now require a competence card or two before they would be allowed anywhere near a working demolition site. They would require another if they wanted to operate a machine; and another if they wanted to operate a bigger machine.

Rather than creating a system whereby a willing young (or not so young) worker can make their way in the field of demolition, we have created a system that is front-loaded with costs and obstacles in which workers (or their employers) must pay before they are allowed to earn.

And then there is perhaps the greatest obstacle of all: accreditation and regulation: The regulation, legislation and accreditation that has been heaped upon the shoulders of the sector. Before a fledgling demolition business can even think about walking, it is laden down with costly bureaucracy that benefits no-one but the bodies that leech upon the industry.

In the days of yore, a founder might drive a digger during working hours and then deal with paperwork and admin during the evening or at the weekend. Expansion would mean the addition of another digger driver, then another and then another. Today, bureaucracy is so endemic that any additional equipment operators would have to wait until after the hiring of a compliance specialist.

All of this has been allowed to happen while the demolition sector has stood idly by. The cynic in me wonders if this was deliberate; if those that are now successful have effectively pulled up the drawbridge behind them, making it nigh on impossible for others to start a demolition business from scratch.

Whatever the cause, I fear that the days of the new demolition entrepreneur may have gone the way of the Drott, the wrecking ball and the RB crane. I fear we shall not see their like again.