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RIP Tony Hurley…

UK demolition industry mourns passing of former IDE president.

It is with great regret that we must report that sad passing of former Institute of Demolition Engineers president and industry stalwart, Tony Hurley. According to sources, Hurley passed away at his home in Spain in the early hours of this morning.

Hurley was a former chairman of the North East region of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors. But it was his devotion and dedication to the Institute of Demolition Engineers for which he will be best and most fondly remembered.

A lifelong demolition man who rose through the ranks to eventually become managing director of Ron Hull Demolition, Hurley was scheduled to celebrate 30 years as an IDE member this November. During that time, he held the position of president before becoming an honorary life fellow of the institute.

His contribution to the UK demolition industry is best summed up by his friend, Andrew Dale. “Tony was true gentleman and will be sadly missed not only by his lovely wife Christine, family and friends, but also by the UK demolition industry to which he gave great service over years,” Dale says. “Tony was one in a million.”

Comment – CPD or not CPD…

Is IDE CPD all it’s cracked up to be?

In November 2012, on the eve of his appointment as Institute of Demolition Engineers’ president, Steve Jack afforded DemolitionNews an exclusive video interview during which he laid out his hopes and ambitions for his presidency. During the course of that interview, Jack said that one of the key tenets of his reign would be to reinforce the IDE’s commitment to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). And, to this end, he would make it a personal goal to increase the number of regional meetings at which IDE members could earn their much-needed CPD points.

True to his word, Jack has carried through on his promise. And earlier today, I attended a south east regional meeting hosted by Jack himself. And what a flimsy, barren and insubstantial affair it was.

Done and dusted in a little over an hour, the “meeting” consisted of three back-to-back sales pitches from three equipment manufacturers and suppliers. No meeting; no interaction; no education; and, above all, no professional development. This was not a fault of the manufacturers, however. They did precisely as asked; they came along and they showed their wares. That, to my mind, does not constitute CPD.

As a freelance journalist, I neither want nor need CPD points. Regardless, I didn’t sign the register of attendees to ensure that I didn’t receive CPD points off the back of such an ineffectual and forgettable meeting.

If, by some fluke, I DO receive them, I fully intend to send them back. Moereover, if I had paid to attend this meeting, I would be demanding my money back. Thankfully though, I didn’t. Or did I?

Well, I had to leave the office a good three hours earlier than I would under normal circumstances. In addition, I had to drive half-way around London to get to the meeting before heading back in the opposite direction just over an hour later. So that’s nearly four hours of time and money plus half a tank of petrol that I won’t be getting back any time soon.

And what did I learn from all of this? What nugget of insight did I glean? What gem of innovation and invention can I take forward with me for my own professional development? Well, I can tell you that, in addition to turning out some pretty fine excavators, Liebherr has a vineyard producing a wine that I am unable to buy.

Make no mistake. CPD is a worthwhile and a worthy initiative. And the IDE under past presidents Terry Quarmby and John Woodward were fully justified in ejecting members that failed to maintain their CPD points.

But IDE members deserve way better than this. IDE members are engineers; professional people whose time is precious; professionals who should not pay for the privilege of attending an hour long equipment sales pitch. Dragging them from the site of office for such paltry fare is, at best, self-defeating. At worst, it casts serious doubts over the future of IDE regional meetings and the validity of the CPD points they provide.

The next IDE regional meeting is scheduled to take place in Scotland in June. I only hope that the programme for that event is more in keeping with the professional standing of its delegates.

Familiar name, unfamiliar location…

Mr Rammer comes out of retirement to guide Avant.

20140508-132556.jpgFollowing some 40 years working within the construction plant industry, the last 20 or so in demolition as UK business line manager for Rammer, Alan Matchett has recently taken the position of sales manager for demolition and construction equipment at Avant Tecno (UK).

​Matchett brings an in-depth knowledge of the demolition sector to Avant which will help the company grow the market for its Robot demolition machine as well as a range of heavy duty versions of its popular articulated tool carriers which will be launched at Hillhead.

​Commenting on his appointment, Matchett said: “I maybe past retirement age but I am very enthusiastic about Avant’s superb Robot demolition machine which offers significant advantages over the competition. And the new heavy duty compact loaders should be of great interest for demolition and construction site use where they will be able to solve many material handling and other duties using a large choice of easy-change attachments.”

Video – South African silo bites dust…

Nothing mini about this blast.

When I received a video link from a South African company calling itself Mini Blasters, I’ll admit that I was far from inspired or excited. Mini Blasters brings to mind an explosive demolition company specialising in the destruction of telephone kiosks or garden sheds; or possibly people with a very specific hatred of a compact car.

But there’s nothing mini about the explosive demolition of this 70 metre high silo. Check it out:

Harmon Hotel demolition gets green light…

Protracted battle ends as city gives go ahead to demolish Las Vegas folly.

Foster + Partners’ Harmon Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip is being razed without ever opening. Owner MGM Resorts International received court approval on April 22 to demolish the unfinished 27-floor, oval-shaped tower following a protracted legal battle with its contractor, Tutor Perini Corp., over building defects. The Harmon once figured prominently in the $8.5 billion CityCenter hotel-casino-entertainment complex that opened in December 2009. Today, it stands empty and half-built, its facade serving as a makeshift billboard.

“CityCenter consulted with experts about the fastest and safest way to resolve public safety concerns created by the structural defect issues at the Harmon,” said MGM spokesman Gordon Absher in a statement. “Based on their expert advice, CityCenter is recommending that the structure be demolished.”

The Harmon will be dismantled piecemeal, floor-by-floor, over the next year. Demolition will cost $11.5 million, with work starting this summer. A Foster + Partners spokeswoman declined to comment for this article. And the Harmon has been removed from the firm’s list of projects on its website. (New York-based AAI Architects Inc. was architect-of-record, with the Las Vegas office of Halcrow as structural engineer.)

Read more here.

Wear our badge with pride…

The new DemolitionNews merchandising store is open for business.

20140507-190134.jpgEver since we launched our new Demolition magazine just over a year ago, we have been inundated with praise for the unique and sleek look of the publication, and readers have clamoured for an opportunity to use the distinctive logo.

Well, after considerable trial and error, we have finally launched our first branded product – And, in keeping with the forward-thinking, high-tech industry that we serve, that new product is suitably modern.

The all-new iPhone 5 case is available ONLY in sleek black paired with the Demolition logo in striking purple. It will protect your phone from the worst a demolition site has to offer while making you look pretty damn slick at the same time.

If you think you’re cool enough for a Demolition-branded iPhone 5 case, take a look at our Products Page (left).

Video – And you think you’ve got it tough…

Extreme temperatures and a 50 hour disposal round trip on Canadian contract.

Next time you’re tempted to gripe about that slightly chilly site that you’re working on or that “difficult” 30 minute drive to the site, spare a thought for those working in Canada’s Northern Territory.

During the demolition of the Sir Alexander Mackenzie school, temperatures dropped to -30 degrees Celsius (equivalent to -47 degrees with the wind chill). That alone would be enough to sort the men from the boys, but that was just part of the challenge facing contractor Cleraview Grinding.

In keeping with regulations in the Northern Territories, disposal of any materials contaminated with lead paint was strictly forbidden. Instead, waste materials had to be hauled south, on ice roads and across frozen rivers. The round trip took a staggering 50 hours!

So when winter rolls around and you have to put on an extra sweater, remember: By comparison, you’ve got it good.

Cement factory’s fate sealed…

Cemex to demolish 21 buildings at flood-hit South Ferriby site.

The Mexican owners of the Cemex cement-making factory at South Ferriby are seeking planning approval to start work next month(June) on demolishing a number of buildings which were damaged by the tidal surge last December.

Among the buildings scheduled to be flattened are the canteen, the main laboratory and offices, the weigh-bridge, workshop and stores, the garage and toilet blocks. The company is also seeking approval to demolish the off-site social club.

No cost details have yet been revealed.

Read more here.

Why science and pop culture cannot co-exist…

Scientists prove that Miley Cyrus could not “come in like a wrecking ball”.

Scientists don’t get out much. So it is not entirely surprising that they seized the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of physics by studying – at length – the video of a scantily/barely clad Miley Cyrus swinging from a wrecking ball merely to prove that she could not, in fact, come in like one.

The University of Leicester has concluded that Miley Cyrus, the singer would be unable to ‘come in like a wrecking ball’ without sustaining ‘significant injury’.

David McDonagh, a student at the Centre of Interdisciplinary Science, found that Cyrus would be unable to gather sufficient momentum to have ‘impacted’ on either ‘love, or the walls of someone’s house’, as the song suggests.

McDonagh concludes that Cyrus would need to be travelling at around 316 mph to demolish a wall – meaning she would need to be propelled by an outside force.

“Based on these findings, it is clear that a human being cannot possess the characteristics of a wrecking ball without sustaining significant injury, and other objects should be sought as an analogy,” he concluded.

Can’t help thinking he’d be great company at a dinner party!

Read more here, or, better still, take another look at our exclusive Wrecking Ball spoof below:

Video – Sparrow Point collapse update…

Investigations underway at site of steel plant collapse.

Federal, state and county officials are investigating after a building collapse at the former Sparrows Point steel mill in Baltimore County injured nine workers, four of them critically.

County police and fire departments responded to the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. plant in Dundalk around 10 a.m. Monday. Fire department spokesman Lt. Paul Massarelli says the collapse occurred when the roof of a building being demolished caved in.

It appears the victims were working on heavy machinery like cherry pickers and bulldozers at the time of the collapse, and that same equipment may have kept the weight of the roof from falling on top of them, but no one knows why the structure gave way.

“That will be up to the police department and OSHA and MOSHA (which) will do the investigations to find out why the building collapsed,” said Massarelli, “It looks like the roof collapsed. I don’t know what they were doing inside to the point to have that happen, but luckily there was enough equipment there and other substructures to keep the… it didn’t collapse all the way down and pin anybody.”

While four victims went to the Shock Trauma Center, it is believed that none of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries.

Read more here, or view the video below:

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