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Squibb breaches Fortress Wapping…

Demolition underway at News International building at heart of phone hacking scandal.

In the 1980s, the News International building on the banks of the River Thames symbolised the breaking of the stranglehold that print unions had over the UK newspaper industry. Nicknamed Fortress Wapping, the building marked a move away from the printed news media’s traditional Fleet Street home and was the first to house journalists, print and distribution resources under one huge roof.

More latterly, however, the building has been at the centre of the Rebekah Brooks phone hacking scandal.

None of which is likely to bother Squibb Group which has won the contract to demolish the building. Work got underway on the site today and we have these exclusive photos from the site.

We’ll be brining you more updates shortly.

Asbestos hikes Scottish block costs…

Exceptionally high levels of asbestos on Dumbarton contract drive up costs.

Special measures must be used to take down the 248 multi-storey flats at Bellsmyre, Dumbarton, which were found to have “unexpectedly high” levels of asbestos.

The method of demolition, which has been approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), has added an extra £1.3 million to the demolition bill.

A spokesman for West Dunbartonshire Council said this method is the safest for both workers and people living nearby, adding that the demolition will be completed in time to allow construction of the new Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School on the site, which is due to start in March.

Councillor David McBride, convener of housing, said: “We need to demolish these unwanted tower blocks using the safest possible methods for the local community and contractors.

“Our surveys revealed that the levels of asbestos were far beyond the normal content expected in buildings of this age and type and so we have had to revise our approach accordingly.”

Vice convener of housing, Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, said: “These blocks were not fit to provide our tenants with the modern standards they deserve and were rightly recommended for demolition.

“While the demolition cost is higher than expected, it will allow for the regeneration of a key council site and offer an exciting future to local community of Bellsmyre.”

Read more here.

Video – Jack Tar Hotel coming down…

Tallest high reach West of the Mississippi tackles hotel demolition.

As we have stated numerous times in the past, the US has been somewhat slow to embrace the use of high reach excavators that are so ubiquitous this side of the pond.

But that’s not to say that the States is devoid of high reach machines; as this video proves.

Ferma Corp. is using this high reach – based upon a Cat 5110 excavator – to tackle the controlled demolition of the Jack Tar Hotel

And The Building Comes Down from Miquel Penn on Vimeo.

Video – Rolling rock…

Divine intervention as boulder stops inches short of church.

The prayers of a local pastor in Saugus were answered in spectacular fashion this weekend as a massive boulder loosened by an implosion stopped just inches from his church.

“If it rolled another 12 inches, it would have gone right through the building,” Pastor Rick LeClair said. “This boulder was probably 20 tons.”

An excavation company was clearing land next door for a construction project, and its removal of some rock earlier this week nearly moved a lot more.

“We were standing across the street saying, ‘Uh-oh. There it goes,’” LeClair said. “I was thinking the church was going to get wrecked, but I had this peace about me where it really wasn’t going to get wrecked. And it didn’t.”

Read more here or view the video below:

Video – Lean, green wrecking machine…

FTS Demolition calls upon Montabert hammer power.

I am old enough to remember a time when the Montabert livery was a familiar sight on demolition sites across the UK and beyond.

So it’s always nice to see that familiar green livery back in action.

Skanska planning Houston blast…

Former Houston Club building to fall in the fall.

New York-based Skanska USA Commercial Development said it is preparing the former Houston Club building for demolition, which is slated for this fall.

Houston-based D.H. Griffin of Texas Inc. will conduct the implosion, but the exact date has not been set.

Demolition of the existing 18-story building and garage — at the site bounded by Capitol, Rusk, Milam and Travis — is part of the first phase of Skanska’s Capitol Tower project.

Architecture firm Gensler is designing the 35-story, 750,000-square-foot project. The first phase also includes construction of a permanent parking garage to support the new office tower.

Read more here.

Love thy neighbour…

Woman has “unsavoury neighbours” trailer demolished.

A Florida woman has tricked a demolition contractor into demolishing the home of her “unsavoury neighbours, Sky News reports.

Ana Maria Moreta Folch – herself a glowing portrait of warmth and humanity – told a heavy equipment operator that she owned the trailer in St Augustine and wanted it and its septic tank destroyed.

She had a key and showed the contractor that no one was inside the trailer before he started working, the Florida Times-Union reported.

When the legitimate owner arrived, he found the demolition underway and alerted police.

She was charged with criminal mischief, a third-degree felony, and was released on a $10,000 (£6,000) bail.

Read more here.

Poles apart

Brokk robots spearhead Poland’s largest current infrastructure project.

brokk polandTwo Brokk machines are playing an important role in Poland’s largest current infrastructure project. A new transport junction and the rebuilding of the surrounding neighbourhood will by 2015 result in a complete transformation of the Lodz’ city centre.

“We have two Brokk machines stationed at the old railway station Lodz Fabryczna that now is being rebuilt. They are working very efficiently and are so much stronger than you expect,” says Konrad Klimkowski, president of Konkret, a Polish company that relies heavily on Brokk.

Klimkowski reports that Brokk remote demolition is a core method in the company’s offering. The firm was established in 2006 and already in 2007 the first Brokk investment was made. Today the fleet consists of one Brokk 100, one Brokk 160 and two Brokk 260, breakers, drum cutters and concrete crushers. At the scene in Lodz the two largest machines are used, the Brokk 260 is tearing down concrete foundations, concrete diaphragm walls and the Brokk 160, equipped with a bucket, is utilized for removing the scrabble.

“In this case the timesaving, efficient Brokk method is much appreciated. Overall we also value the safety aspect. It is quite a challenge to convince the Polish customers that it is so much safer to use a demolition robot. But the attitude is slow but surely changing. At Konkret we realized that hand-held equipment is very inefficient and costly long ago.”

Today the Warsaw based Konkret employs some 50 people working with different demolition techniques, often with Brokk technology as a base.

“We are now looking into the investment of new attachments to further improve the efficiency in some areas and also to be able to offer new and cost effective demolition methods”, says Konrad Klimkowski.

Back to the gigantic Lodz project: over 90 ha of city ground will be totally reconstructed. The total investment of about € 500 million includes new station for the railway and the underground, special zones for art and culture and the Streets of Four Cultures*. Both public and private investors are involved. Lodz, situated in Central Poland, is a vital transport hub connected to cities like Warsaw and Berlin.

Past president inspiring the future…

John Woodward takes demolition’s message to the school masses.

It’s well over a year since former IDE president John Woodward handed over the chains of office to his successor Steve Jack. But Woodward’s passion for the industry remains undiminished; his commitment to securing its future unyielding.

Despite a busy work schedule up and down the country and beyond, Woodward recently volunteered to take part in the Government-backed “Inspiring Futures Scheme“; talking to school children about their career and future employment opportunities and encouraging them to consider demolition as a rewarding and exciting career path.

The Scheme encourages industry leaders to visit schools on a volunteer basis sharing their knowledge and expertise of their specialised field.

Woodward has completed three school visits so far as well as the UK Press Launch of the Primary Futures scheme which replicates Inspiring the Future in Primary Schools, and has another planned for 15 May.

Find out more here.

Video – Up high down under…

Drone captures demolition of Sydney’s famous convention centre.

The world-famous Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (SCEC) is coming down.

The demolition is not popular with some, including architect John Andrews who designed the building. “Does it make sense to pull down $120 million worth of [building] that’s perfectly all right,?” he said recently. “As Australia, we just haven’t grown up, we haven’t developed any good manners and we don’t protect and look after our good things.”

Despite his protests, the demolition is in full swing, as this drone’s eye view proves:

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