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Video – Dome downed…

Long-awaited implosion fells Georgia Dome Stadium.

The only facility in the world to host the Olympics, Super Bowl and Final Four has been reduced to rubble.

A little more than 25 years after opening, the Georgia Dome, former home of the Atlanta Falcons and the scene for several historic sporting events, was imploded Monday morning. The adjacent Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened this summer.

The blast occurred just after 7:30 a.m. ET. In the span of about 12-15 seconds, most of the structure collapsed, though parts of it remained upright.

Comment – Should I stay or should I go…?

Debacle at National Federation of Demolition Contractors’ London region robs Federation of dream team.

So one afternoon last week, my phone lit up like Times Square at Christmas. I was told – initially – that London and Southern regional chairman Rob Collard and his vice chairman Matt Phillips had both quit in a fit of pique amidst frustration with the Federation’s current status quo.

I know and respect both guys. I know and respect NFDC president Paul Brown. And so I called all three to try to get to the bottom of what had actually happened; why it had happened; and what it might mean going forward.

It quickly became clear that those initial reports were correct; but that they had not allowed for a post-meeting cooling off in which Collard and Phillips got to give more thought to their decisions.

Downwell Demolition’s Matt Phillips stuck to his guns and has officially resigned over what he describes as “differences with president Paul Brown”. Rob Collard – who had initially quit in a show of solidarity with his vice chairman – has since reconsidered and is staying on.

So one is going and one is staying. And, weirdly, they are both right.

In Matt Phillips, the NFDC had a rising star whose company – Downwell Demolition – is enjoying an increasingly high profile within the industry. That company, and the way it operates, gives an insight into Phillips’ psyche.

Faced with poor repair and maintenance support for his extensive fleet of demolition tools and attachments, Phillips formed a new division within his company to do that work in house. When he found he was paying too much for hydraulic hose replacements, he invested in a fully-equipped hose repair van that would rival anything on offer from the likes of Pirtek.

Phillips is not content. He is constantly looking for ways that things might be improved. That constant striving for improvement could and should have been of enormous benefit to the NFDC. And not just at a regional level.

Although I am not sure how either of them might feel about the comparison, there is something about Matt Phillips that reminds me of former NFDC President David Darsey.

Neither are much for airs and graces; but both are young, dynamic, vocal and passionate. It is those factors that made Darsey probably the best NFDC President I had the good fortune to work with. And it is those factors that could have propelled Phillips to the very top of the Federation.

But Phillips’ unstoppable force met the NFDC’s immovable object. And something had to give.

Phillips was probably right to leave. And, equally, Rob Collard was right to stay.

Change and reform – both of which are needed within a Federation that has seen declines in both membership and influence – can really only come from within.
And so Collard – the very epitome of the modern demolition man – has decided to hang on.

He is every bit as passionate as Matt Phillips; but Collard’s passion comes wrapped in a blanket of diplomacy; the kind of diplomacy that will be required by the shed-load if he is to bring about the modernisation he believes is required in the Federation’s hallowed halls.

But don’t be fooled into mistaking that diplomacy for weakness. You don’t build a £30 million demolition company or become the industry’s leading exponent of waste minimisation by being weak. And anyone that has seen Rob Collard in action in the British Touring Car Championship will know that he is ruthlessly competitive.

So, as I said before. Matt Phillips was probably right to resign. His decision is admirable. Maybe – hopefully – his time will come again. And Rob Collard is probably right to stay on to fight for reform from within.

The only loser in all of this – as far as I can see – is the NFDC.

In Collard and Phillips, they had the makings of a regional dream team that really could have helped forge the Federation of the future. Sadly, we’ll never know just how far they could have gone together.

You can listen to a longer audio version of this comment piece – complete with predictable musical input from The Clash – below:

Trouble in Paradise…

NFDC rocked by sudden regional resignation.

The London & Southern Counties region of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors has been plunged into disarray following the sudden and unexpected resignation of vice chairman Matt Phillips of Downwell Demolition.

Although Phillips refuses to be drawn on the specific reasons for his shock resignation, DemolitionNews understands that he has cited differences with current NFDC president and industry veteran Paul Brown.

The resignation of Phillips is a blow to a region that has produced five of the last six NFDC presidents and which is the largest – by far – and most influential of the Federation’s five regions.

But it is potentially a bigger blow to the Federation as a whole.

Phillips is young, dynamic and has the determination and passion needed to bring about some much-needed reform and modernisation within the NFDC. His company – Downwell Demolition – is seen as one of the industry’s rising stars; a reputation Phillips himself looked set to replicate within the NFDC.

Regional chairman Robert Collard of R. Collard Ltd was quick to praise Phillips for his contribution during his time in the role of vice chairman and says he is “gutted” that Phillips has decided to resign.

The search now begins for a replacement for Matt Phillips to partner Collard.

Video – Home time…!

Accident or cunning plan for an early finish? You decide.

The latest addition to our increasingly large collection of films from the industry’s underbelly – which we call The Holy Crap Files – is a perfect example of what happens when your boss says you can go home just as soon as the building’s down:

Breaking News – Worker severely hurt in MEWP accident…

Investigation underway at Bradley Demolition following incident.

Preston-based Bradley Demolition has begun an investigation to establish the cause of an accident in which one of its workers was reportedly injured while operating a Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP).

In a brief prepared statement, the company says:

“…We can confirm that an incident has occurred at one of our sites. A full investigation is being carried out and we are helping the relevant authorities with their investigations. We are unable to comment further at this time…”

Established in 1990, Bradley Demolition “offers a complete demolition and asbestos removal service across the UK. Specialist services include: major mechanical demolition, structural openings and propping, soft stripping, site clearance, concrete crushing, asbestos removal and demolition consultancy.”

The NFDC member company enjoyed a period in the media spotlight last year when it was featured in the pilot show of the TV series The Demolition Man from Middlechild Productions.

Breaking News – Demolition devolution…

Scotland to get its own demolition association.

DemolitionNews can exclusively report that the Scottish Building Federation is in advanced stages of launching the Demolition Contractors Association Scotland (DCAS).

We understand that several meetings have already taken place, including an interim executive meeting that took place on Friday last week. The membership criterion is currently being drawn up for the new association, and initial membership applications have already been received.

A more detailed announcement is expected later this week.

Scottish Building Federation (SBF) managing director Vaughan Hart is keen to point out that the new association has not been established to undermine the National Federation of Demolition Contractors’ membership north of the border. However, it is clear that the SBF is well-informed. It has had ties with the NFDC for many years; previously supplied the Scottish Region with its Regional Secretary; and a number of NFDC members are also SBF members.

Despite the 2014 referendum’s failure to deliver true independence, Scotland operates as a devolved nation. Much of the country’s legislative control now resides at the Scottish parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh where – DemolitionNews understands – the SBF is already well connected.

That voice in parliament, coupled with a more local focus and a greater insight into local legislation, might just be enough to lure Scottish NFDC members to jump ship.

Video – Running out of steam…

Demolition of Jefferies Steam Plant nears completion.

After towering over Lake Moultrie for more than 60 years, the landmark smokestacks and the Jefferies Generating Station are being torn down.

The coal-fired generating units at Jefferies shut down when 2012 came to a close, but the idled plant has remained as a reminder of coal’s waning use as a fuel source.

Work underway on Sellafield tower…

Crews start on three-year project at heart of nuclear site.

A painstaking demolition job has started at the Sellafield nuclear site to bring down a 122 metre tall chimney by hand.

The 61 metre tall stack sits on top of the 61 metre high First Generation Reprocessing Plant and no longer meets modern construction standards.

Its location on the congested nuclear site means conventional demolition techniques like explosives and cranes cannot be used.

Instead the structure will removed by hand at a maximum rate of 1 metre a week with the whole job set to be finished by 2020.

Specialists from Nuvia Ltd and Delta International have designed a self-climbing platform to act as a podium so that workers can safely access the 650 tonne chimney.

Stuart Latham is head of remediation at Sellafield Ltd said: “Given the structural integrity of the stack, its location in the heart of the site and the fact that this new technique has never been used here before, the planning has been comprehensive. The project demonstrates the challenges of decommissioning the Sellafield site.”

Read more here, or view the video below:

Milking it…

Mick George Ltd gets to grips with former dairy works.

Mick George Ltd has begun demolition works on the former Dairy Crest site in Fenstanton, which lies adjacent to the A14 carriageway. The project will be subject to a housing redevelopment by Morris Homes.

Conditional planning consent was granted back in November 2016 for 88 houses to be built, of which 40 percent will be set aside for affordable housing (33 dwellings). In addition, space has been allocated for industrial, commercial and community amenities.

As part of the permission, it is anticipated that the developer will transfer approximately 280sq m. of land to the Fenstanton Village Hall Trust for the construction of a new facility for the village, which has been without a hall for more than 10 years.

Council planning official, Dallas Owen, said: “The proposed development would provide affordable housing in a sustainable location and it would make the best use of a brownfield site.”

The site which had been in operation in its current form for more than 30 years, is just shy of 100,000 sq. ft and has been laying redundant since the closure of the Dairy Farm back in 2012.

The new residential scheme was made possible after agents worked with the local authority – Huntingdonshire District Council (Hunts DC) – to establish and agree the principle of a change of use for the site from commercial to residential.

“We are extremely familiar with the geographical region in and around Fenstanton, given our many nearby office and site locations. Equally, we employ a number of staff from neighbouring villages, towns and cities, so know how important the development is,” says contracts director Michael George. “Given our association, we feel we’re best placed to complete the works, causing the least disruption to the local community. We have worked in partnership with Morris Homes on a number of occasions, and know that their exacting standards will be upheld on this development.”

Hydraquip

Video – Gear down…

Explosive demolition drives another nail into the coffin of the UK coal indutry.

The last standing winding gear house on the deepest coal mine in the UK and Europe has been felled via a controlled explosion.

The demolition of the winding gear at Kellingley Colliery – which closed in December 2016 – marks the end of an era for the North Yorkshire mine.

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