Demolition magazine – Issue #32

A parting gift from us to you!

By the time you get to see this, the offices of DemolitionNews.com will have closed for a two-week break in the sunshine. But we couldn’t leave you without some additional reading to get your teeth (eyes?) into. And so we are delighted to bring you the all-new Demolition magazine which is once again crammed to the rafters with everything you ever wanted to know about demolition but were afraid to ask.

We encourage you to read this edition for yourself. But there are a few specific highlights that we’d like to draw to your attention. These include a look at the HS2 project in the company of Erith Contractors, a visit to Greenwich with Sloane Demolition, an exclusive interview with the new president of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors, and an interview with Mitch Cowart of Caterpillar who is leading the fight against operator fatigue and distraction. YOu can can go straight to these articles by clicking the relevant links.

But far better to fetch yourself a warm beverage, kick off your shoes, sit back and enjoy the all-new Demolition magazine.

Comment – Didcot’s end draws closer…

…and why we won’t be showing it.

For some, it will mark the beginning of the end. For others, it will be merely the opening pages of a final chapter almost four years in the making; another painful reminder of an avoidable tragedy that unfolded to claim the lives of four working men back in February 2016.

In the early hours of 18 August, the remaining cooling towers that loom over the Didcot A Power Station site will be brought down in a controlled explosion by the team at Brown and Mason.
Although there is still the small matter of a large chimney to tackle later this autumn, Sunday’s implosion will further erase Didcot from the local skyline.

But it will do little to erase the memory of the boiler house collapse that claimed the lives of Ken Cresswell, John Shaw, Michael Collings, and Christopher Huxtable. For the families of those four men, this latest blast will merely stir up memories too horrible to contemplate. It will force them to relive a period of more than six months in which their loved ones lay undiscovered in the twisted wreckage of the partially collapsed boiler house. And it will mark a further development in a demolition process that has pressed ahead even while the investigation into the cause of the accident has dragged on endlessly and more painfully with each passing month.

It is to Brown and Mason’s credit that the company has chosen to carry out this latest blast in the early hours of the morning. This is not for public consumption. It is not a spectacle to plaster over social media. Rather, this is a further yet necessary desecration of a place where the lives of four working men were ended in an instant.

DemolitionNews.com will not be showing the blast for two key reasons.

The first reason is practical and logistical. When the team at Brown and Mason presses the button on Sunday, I will be bound for Cadiz in Spain without Internet access. The second reason is less easy to explain and is, I guess, purely emotional.

In July 2017, I chose not to broadcast the blast that felled the remaining portion of the stricken boiler house. After much consideration, I have chosen not to broadcast this one either. Like Lockerbie, Hungerford and a whole host of other places too long to list, the very name Didcot is now inextricably linked to a tragedy. I have no desire to draw Internet traffic based almost entirely upon infamy.

Of course, you will be able to watch it elsewhere. Given the media circus that has sprung up around Didcot, I am sure that the national and international TV channels will beam it live into your home if you so desire. I am certain that it will appear soon afterwards on YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms.

I realise also that, by refusing to broadcast it, DemolitionNews will likely miss out on thousands and possibly tens of thousands of views; the very views that are the lifeblood of our platform.

But on 23 February 2016, four men paid the ultimate price for their presence within the UK demolition industry. By comparison, the loss of a few thousand views from semi-interested parties seems like a very small price to pay.

Car park raises police fears

Police station evacuated amidst demolition of multi-storey car park.

Local newspapers in Lancashire are reporting that an emergency evacuation has taken place of an East Lancashire police station – amid safety concerns for a four-storey car park.

Contractors are said to have sounded the alarm over the condition of Pendle Rise in Nelson. And police chiefs have confirmed that their station in Broadway, located directly underneath the structure, has been cleared.

It is understood that the concerns centred on a leaning outside wall, positioned between the car park and police station.

Work on the demolition of the car park, ahead of an anticipated new McDonald’s restaurant, is understood to have only just resumed after being put on ice for several weeks.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We were called around 7am today by site contractors demolishing a car park next to the police station. “The contractors have raised safety concerns about the structure of the car park and the station has been evacuated as a precaution.”

DemolitionNews understands that, although the machine pictured belongs to D Hughes, the principal contractor on the project is, in fact, Connolly Evans. The D Hughes high reach was brought in on hire to help make the structure safe.

This incident comes just 24 hours after DemolitionNews highlighted concerns over car park demolition methodologies in this exclusive report.

You can read more on the incident in Nelson here.

Two of three toppled…

Explosive end for two of three towers.

Pacific Blasting & Demolition Ltd has completed the controlled demolition of two 90 metre tall surge towers at the John Hart Dam near Campbell River, British Columbia.

German cooling tower dropped…

Cameras capture smooth fall of massive power station cooking tower.

The cooling tower at one of Germany’s former nuclear power stations has been demolished, more than 30 years after it went off-line.

The Muelheim-Kaerlich plant near Koblenz opened in 1987 but was closed the next year because of fears over earthquakes.

At least we’re not this bad…

India sees the UK’s three scaffold collapses and raises them.

Amidst all the hand-wringing that followed a week in which three separate UK demolition contractors dropped three separate piles of scaffold onto three separate UK streets, good ol’ Blighty can at least take some solace from the fact that we’re not quite as bad as the demolition contractor responsible for this minor incursion onto a road in Bhagal, India:

Reading Collapse – Preliminary Report

This is NOT our usual content. Please take the time to read it.

Regular readers will know that one of our greatest sources of frustration and annoyance is the time it takes to investigate an accident and to then publish the findings of that investigation.

So, wWhile the dust was still settling at the Reading collapse, DemolitionNews.com commissioned an independent demolition engineer to explore the possible causes of that accident. (Little did we realise that by the time the report was finished, the UK demolition industry would have suffered not one but TWO more high profile scaffold collapses.)

The resulting report offers a never-seen-before insight into modern demolition methodologies and lays bare a huge number of factors that may have contributed to the first and – quite possibly – the second and third scaffold collapses.

This report, which is exclusive to DemolitionNews.com, is probably the most important industry document that you are likely to read this year. So please, CLICK HERE to read it for yourself.

NFDC reacts to scaffold scandal…

Federation issues “Statement of Awareness” following triple scaffold collapse.

The National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) has issued a Statement of Awareness via its website regarding an incident on a demolition site in Reading on Thursday 1st August in which three people were injured. The main demolition contractor (NFDC member McGee) released a comment confirming the incident and that investigation is underway to ascertain the facts.

NFDC has become aware of two further scaffold collapse incidents occurring this week, on Wednesday August 7th in Nuneaton (involving NFDC member Cawarden) and on Thursday 8th August in Liverpool (involving NFDC member Northbank Demolition), where there are no reported injuries.

Today’s demolition industry represents sophistication, professionalism, competence and qualification, high standards and exemplary safety records. Any incidents of this nature are unusual – for three to occur and within a short time period is unheard of. Following the investigation of these incidents and establishment of the facts, the NFDC will work to support the prevention of future incidents.

Holly Price, President of NFDC, commented; “As anybody working in the demolition industry will know, NFDC exists to raise standards and works to educate and promote safe working, deliver best practice and enforce industry-recognised training for operatives within its Member companies. Whilst the rate of incidents is low, we strive for zero harm in the demolition industry and safety is of paramount importance.”

Third scaffold collapse…

Industry must surely act after third scaffold collapse in under a week.

First Reading, then Nuneaton. And now we are receiving reports of a third demolition scaffold collapse in under a week; this time in Liverpool.

Works on an inner city demolition project appeared to have halted after a large section of scaffolding buckled in Liverpool earlier today.

Planning permission to demolish the tenement blocks on Smithdown Lane was only granted on Tuesday, as part of a regeneration scheme for the area.

However, photos taken at the scene today appear to show the scaffolding hanging off the side of one of the buildings inside the site.

There are no reports of injuries at this time, nor of the name of the demolition contractor involved. However, photos and a video posted on the Liverpool Echo website does show an excavator belonging to Northbank Demolition.

The land is due to be transformed into a multi-storey car park and hotel, with the former student accommodation being flattened to make way for the new buildings.

Cawarden’s Co-op collapse…

UK demolition industry rocked by second unplanned collapse in a week.

The dust has barely settled in Reading after the major scaffold collapse last week; and already there has been another high profile incident, this time involving Cawarden Demolition and a former Co-op retail outlet in Nuneaton.

Emergency services were sent to Nuneaton town centre following the collapse of the former Co-op building at around 10.30 am this morning.

Nobody was injured in the incident. “There was nobody hurt. None of our people were, none of the members of the public were. No members of the public were walking past when it happened,” Cawarden Demolition managing director William Crooks told the Coventry Telegraph. Although he admitted that he didn’t want the building to collapse, he said that it is always a possibility and that Cawarden had put in place the correct safety procedures. “The scaffold has done its job, it has prevented it from coming right across the road. A lot of the scaffold is still up so it has definitely done its job. That’s what it is there for, in some ways it’s sacrificial even if we didn’t want it to happen.”

Speaking to DemolitionNews this evening, Crooks said he had arrived on site roughly 45 minutes after the incident occurred and has been there all day, helping the police and the HSE and fielding questions from the local and national media.

“We will carry out a full investigation of our own and we are working with the authorities to ascertain precisely what caused this collapse,” he concluded.