Comment – Abandoned amity…

Has the recession undermined the camaraderie that once made the demolition industry unique.

comradeWhen the 2008 recession struck, it hit the demolition industry like a financial tsunami, washing away some; causing irrevocable harm to others. In a vivid demonstration of Darwinian Theory writ large, only the strong (or, in some instances, the astute or fleet of foot) survived.

However, with that recession now a distant (yet painful and ever-present) memory, I fear that the industry may have lost more than some of its peers and players.

Over the years, I have written about everything from hotels to boats, office equipment to construction equipment. But what attracted me to demolition, and what has made it my spiritual journalistic home ever since, was a camaraderie I have rarely seen outside the armed forces; a willingness to set aside ruthless competition for the greater good.

Seven years after the recession arrived unwanted and unannounced, and some of that spirit seems to have been swept away on a rip tide of dog-eat-dog, turnover-at-any-cost, every-man-for-himself aggressive commercialism.

Sure, demolition has always been competitive. But I distinctly remember a conversation with the then NFDC president David Darsey when the true depth of the recent recession became apparent. “We should not be making life difficult for our fellow demolition contractors,” said the Erith Group managing director. “We should be putting our arms around them.”

It was that Dunkirk Spirit and “we’re-all-in-this-boat-together” attitude that got the industry through the longest and deepest recession in living memory. I realise that many were left scarred by that recession and now grab work like a drowning man clutches at tree branches. And I realise that, ultimately, we all do what we do in pursuit of money.

But wouldn’t it be a tragedy if, having helped each other through the darkest of times, the sector sets now aside solidarity and comradeship in the solitary worship of Mammon.