Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Outcry over tower that fell the wrong way…

Fury as dust cloud engulfs residents.

The final phase of the demolition of the Sunoco 10 Plant on Saturday did not go as expected and township commissioners are furious.

At Monday night’s board of commissioners meeting, commissioners Vince McCormick and Dave D’Angelo expressed disgust with the process, stating that residents were unnecessarily put at risk.

When a tower fell, it hit the ground with such force that a huge plume of dust rose into the sky and travelled from the plant into Trainer.

D’Angelo said commissioners were told that the tower was going to fall in the direction of Hewes Avenue, toward Delaware. But, at the last minute, D’Angelo said, a decision was made by “somebody in charge” to change the direction of how the tower would fall.

“We had everything ready for that tower to fall in the direction we were told,” said D’Angelo. “And a fire policeman was on the Trainer side just to deal with a traffic issue if it occurred. That man and everybody else living in the line of that plume was put at risk and we are not happy about this.”

The DEP came under heavy fire from commissioners, who accused the agency of not following through with promises. D’Angelo said representatives of DEP vowed to be at every demolition, and that did not occur.

D’Angelo also said when the plume occurred on Saturday, he called DEP repeatedly and requested someone come to the scene, and his request was refused.

Read more here.

Woodward helps safeguard the future…

Former IDE president seeks to engage next generation of demolition men and women.

Primary FuturesTraining in the UK construction and demolition industries is generally reactive; training those that we already have and hoping against hope there will be enough skilled workers to go around. Little wonder then that the industry is regularly beset with a skills shortage that impedes growth and prevents it from maximising its potential while simultaneously failing to grow the pool of talent from which to draw the leaders of the future.

Former IDE president and training evangelist John Woodward, however, sees things differently. Having already toured a number of secondary schools to spread the demolition message to school leavers, Woodward has just taken that message even further down to grass roots level, working with primary school children as part of the Government- backed Primary Futures programme.

Primary Futures seeks to help children understand the link between what they learn at school and their futures by bringing in employers and local businesspeople to talk about the world of work.

Hundreds of schools nationwide took part in the national launch last week. Within John Woodward’s native Wolverhampton, Oak Meadow Primary School in Wednesfield held an event where Woodward joined Wolverhampton North East MP Emma Reynolds, Beano illustrator Laura Howell, journalist Peter Madeley and author Paul Dowswell who each spoke to pupils.

“John Woodward has been involved with the project from its conception. He had originally volunteered to work in secondary schools within the Inspiring Futures project. I first contacted him back in February 2014 when we were piloting the project in Tipton and Wolverhampton. He was hugely supportive and went out of his way, moving dates in his diary to support it and in addition, encouraging business associates of his to support it too,” explains Primary Futures co-ordinator Tish Keech. “When we organised the regional launch in May in Birmingham, John was ready, willing and as usual superbly organised and inspiring. He has adapted his talk for primary chidren and is open and honest with the children giving them a clear understanding of how important English and Maths are to him in his every day work whilst also showing them that hard work and determination can help you in finding your dream job. This has been a really successful pilot. The children have been inspired by the speakers and in turn, the professionals have been thrilled by the engagement of the children and their insightful questions. We are keen to recruit more volunteers from many types of professions who are happy to give up their valuable time to share some of their experiences with young people – and hopefully inspire them about the world of work. I would urge interested employers and employees to look at the website, www.primaryfutures.org, or contact me via district12@nahtofficials.org.uk for more details.”

Comment – Exclusive, but not in a good way…

Reprinted – by public demand – from today’s edition of This Week in Demolition.

My youngest daughter recently introduced me to a friend about whom she had been talking for about six months. He was a nice guy and they clearly shared a passion for the same kind of music and fashion that tends to draw young people together.

After he’d left, I said – like the sorry, unintentional racist that my 1970s London upbringing made me – “You didn’t tell me he was black”. And, like the right-minded, liberal that I hoped she would be, my daughter responded: “Why would I?”

It is an object lesson that the demolition industry would do well to heed.

As part of my job, I attend countless meetings, conferences, seminars and exhibitions in both the construction and demolition sectors. And, almost without fail, they each look like a cross between a meeting at the Muirfield golf course and a rally for the British National Party (BNP); almost exclusively male, almost exclusively white, and – as far as anyone can tell – exclusively straight.

In the past, I have heard this phenomenon explained by highlighting the strong family traditions that exist in the UK demolition industry. That is certainly the case and, even today, goes some way to explaining why the boardrooms of most UK demolition companies remain exclusively white. But there is way more to demolition than the oak-panelled boardrooms. Demolition is a multi-disciplined industry that requires equipment operators, site and contract managers, engineers, health and safety advisors, estimators, risk assessors and a whole heap of administrative staff.

If demolition really is a meritocracy in which people are selected and their progression is based upon their individual merit, why is it still so unrepresentative? Are we absolutely certain that straight, white males are best suited to ALL the disciplines this industry has to offer?

If that is the case, then this industry is even more out of touch than I had previously feared.

Video – I blame the parents…

Child tours potentially dangerous demolition site; dad kindly uploads the video.

Once upon a time there was a young boy with a video camera who liked to film stuff.

One day, when no-one was looking, he went onto a demolition site that he wasn’t supposed to be on. While there, he filmed a sign that said that children were forbidden from the site and another that said Danger Demolition in big scary letters.

When the little boy went home, he showed the film to his dad. And do you know what the little boy’s dad did next? Did he send him to his room? Did he explain the dangers of demolition sites and the importance of heeding warning signs? Did he give the little sod a clip round the ear?

Did he Hell. Instead, his dad put the video on YouTube and described it as “urban exploration”.

Video – Gone in 30 seconds…

Time-lapse film captures Canadian bridge demolition.

The work to demolish a bridge over the 401 highway in Montreal might have taken a weekend possession that worked through the night, but – thanks to some time lapse footage and some very nifty editing – the meat of the contract is captured here in a stunning 38 seconds.

Enjoy:

Video – Houston Club downed…

18-storey Houston block imploded.

The former Houston Club Building was imploded this morning.

The building was an 18-story steel and concrete structure located at Rusk and Capitol streets in Downtown Houston.

Once the debris is removed from the site, crews will begin construction what will be known as Capitol Tower.

Competition Corner – Win a full set of safety gear…

Rammer puts safety first wit the introduction of branded safety kit.

When it comes to safety, lots of companies can talk the talk. But hydraulic hammer giant Rammer has proved that it can also walk the walk with the introduction of a new branded safety kit.

Containing everything that the average operator might use to go safely about his (or her) job safely, the Rammer Safety Kit is available to buy from the company’s global dealer network.

But we have one to give away to one lucky reader that can answer one very simple question.

Just watch the exclusive video below and send your answer to diggersanddozers@gmail.com for your chance to win.

George Hunter – Retraction

We got it wrong.

Eagle-eyed and early-rising readers may have spotted a post earlier today reporting that George Hunter (Demolishers) had begun dissolution procedures.

Having spoken to senior directors at the company, we now believe our original post – which has now been removed – to be inaccurate.

We therefore apologise unreservedly for any embarrassment or inconvenience caused to the directors and staff of the company or its clients.

Video – Swing batter batter, swing…

Wrigley Field bleachers are coming down.

Depending who you ask, Wrigley Field is a Chicago icon, home to the Chicago Cubs baseball team, or the fake address of Elwood Blues.

Either way, the bleachers that have stood in the outfield for as long as most can remember are coming down to make way for something bigger and better.

Check out the video below:

Guest Post – Are UK trade associations failing members…?

Guest post from Barry Ashmore, managing director of StreetwiseSubbie.com.

Trade Associations, are by definition “organisations that represent the interests of the member firms of an industry”.

But when I look at what some of the trade associations in the UK construction industry are doing, or rather not doing, I begin to question the extent to which they are matching up to this definition.

Take for example this quote from one of their leading lights;

“Subbies are up in arms over [late payment] and are calling for the government to act. The public sector has an opportunity to play a very important role in making sure fair payment performance goes right the way down the line. This surely is an area where the industry has to perform well.”

What’s wrong with that I hear you say? What’s wrong with it, is that it’s a quote from August 2002. That’s right 12 long years ago.

The report went on to quote them as saying “The cash flow problems caused by slow payment and retentions make it harder for specialists to fund the improvements the government and industry want to see. It also leaves them at greater financial risk of upstream insolvencies.”

Sadly, thousands of firms (and trade association members), have gone to the wall in those 12 years.

For all the talk, the payment situation is even worse now than it was then.

As Albert Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

We need a new and radically different approach!

The ‘Construction Supply Chain Fair Payment Charter’ launched in April this year, sets out an aim to reduce standard payment terms in construction to 30 days by 2018. “It’s a work in progress” says Suzannah Nichol of the NSCC.

Sorry for being cynical, but if the last 12 years are anything to go by “work in progress” is the last thing Specialist Contractors want to hear. And I’m not the only one who feels short changed by the Charter, judging by the responses in our recent survey of 216 Specialist Contractors;

“Worthless piece of paper that all the major main contractor payment abusers have ignored.”

“…in reality hardly ever works the way it’s intended to.”

“Supply chains are rarely monitored and clients that may question it are normally fobbed off with meaningless guarantees from main contractors.”

Indeed other industry bodies have also been critical of the Charter;

“Only a supreme, and poorly informed, optimist would take the view that the Charter is the panacea of all payment ills within the industry. It is not.”

Web design in Weybridge, Surrey