Contrary to online controversy, Safedem’s bold blast is progress in action.
The decision of the Commonwealth Games organisers and Glasgow Housing Association to make a simultaneous five tower block implosion a part of the Glasgow Games’ opening ceremony is unquestionably a bold decision. Carrying out any kind of explosive demolition brings with it a certain degree of pressure; but doing it in front of a global TV audience expected to be around the one billion mark is truly unprecedented.
Of course, this being Britain, this announcement has been seized upon in some quarters as some kind of negative. One individual on Twitter said that “the legacy of the Commonwealth Games will be all the athletes going home with asbestosis from the demolition of Red Road flats.”
However, such comments are merely the knee-jerk reaction of the ignorant and the ill-informed.
For one thing, the demolition contractor behind the unprecedented blast is Safedem and the company has been on site for well over a year now removing asbestos and just about anything else that might be considered harmful in any way.
Furthermore, this is not just some random event cooked up for the TV cameras; it is merely a continuation of an ongoing programme of demolition that has already seen two blocks brought down safely. According to Safedem’s William Sinclair: “The fact is it is business as usual for Safedem. Our job is to bring these buildings down safely and successfully. To achieve this we will be implementing our tried and tested planning and coordination procedures that have been applied with great success on two previous Red Road blow downs.”
Perhaps the most objectionable comment opposing the blast, however, was this post on Twitter: “Demolition of public housing as imperial sports spectacle – truly the worst idea in the modern history of Scotland.”
Now for one thing, the demolition was going to take place anyway, regardless of the Commonwealth Games. And, frankly, having been to Red Road several times, I find it remarkable that anyone could suggest the preservation of these formerly asbestos-ridden, cramped and crime-ridden blocks. Surely whatever replaces these blocks will be a step forward for the local community?
Of course, I take a very narrow view. My primary interest is in demolition and so I see this announcement as an ideal opportunity to showcase just what modern demolition is all about: precision planning; exemplary safety; professionalism in action; and a job well done.
And in William Sinclair, the TV cameras will have an erudite, experienced and media savvy demolition man of the modern age.
Success will always bring its detractors, particularly here in the UK. But when those blocks fall on 23 July 2014, it is likely to be a spectacle every bit as memorable as the London 2012 Olympic Cauldron.