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Comment – Controlled curse strikes again…

The demise of Masterton is the latest chapter in a sorry saga for the former Controlled Group management team.

In the circle of demolition life, the collapse of one company generally helps nourish and invigorate many others. So when Controlled Group fell in 2010, its employees were cast like seeds carried on the breeze to the four corners of the UK demolition industry and are now an integral part of countless other demolition companies that each benefit from the experience they have brought. Meanwhile, some of the most senior members of the Controlled Group re-emerged at companies like Lee Demolition, EDS, Silverdell and Masterton.

Just a few years ago, that list of names would have resounded like a who’s who of the UK demolition business. Today, however, it is merely a list of companies that – like Controlled Group – have fallen by the wayside.

Is there a connection? Well certainly, the demise of each of these former big names has been greeted with accusations of pursuing turnover rather than profit, and of over-ambition.

Of course, in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of a company, any variety of disgruntled former employees, relieved competitors and Internet trolls can quickly fill website comments boxes with one-sided speculation and allegation. And, given that the UK has only just emerged from the longest and deepest economic recession in living memory, perhaps the failures of Lee Demolition, EDS, Silverdell and Masterton really is just an unfortunate coincidence that casts the former Controlled Group management team in a poor light.

And yet the evidence seems to suggest otherwise. EDS, in the midst of a recession, took on a mammoth demolition project in Australia, thousands of miles from its headquarters; Masterton had set its sights on equally ambitious expansion in the Middle East; and when Lee Demolition finally went under, the company readily admitted that its demise had been caused by failures in management and contract pricing.

Of course, when the dust settles on the Masterton collapse, the cycle of failure and rebirth will continue; employees will boost the workforces of former rival contractors; equipment will swell the plant ranks of other companies; and the management will, no doubt, re-emerge in an equally high profile and high salaried position elsewhere.

“It’s the Circle of Life, and it moves us all…”

Breaking News – Masterton seeks CVA…

Recession claims yet another big name.

Rumours suggesting that all was not well at Masterton having been doing the rounds in demolition circles for many months now. But it now seems that those rumours were rooted in fact.

According to industry sources, the Grangemouth-based company is seeking a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) pending a meeting in September.

Creditors have apparently been informed while clients have been offered assurance that current works will be completed.

Sources claim that parent company The Blackwell Group had recently refused to fund the company further.

The news of the company’s demise comes just a few short years after the company – under the direction of former Controlled Group managing director Steve Forster – stated its ambition to expand and conquer overseas markets, particularly those in the Middle East. Less than 18 months ago and having just seen its turnover hike by a remarkable 60 percent to £16 million, the company opened a new satellite office in Leeds from which to manage its planned assault on the English demolition market.

The company has also been involved in a number of high profile projects in recent years and was thought to still be active at the Bacton Gas Terminal site near Great Yarmouth when the axe fell.

Further details to follow.

Owen Pugh on dock of Whitley Bay…

North East contractor lands twin building contract.

Two derelict buildings will finally be demolished over the next few weeks as part of Whitley Bay’s ongoing redevelopment project.

Owen Pugh has been contracted to carry out the works began work at the High Point Hotel on Thursday last week.

It is expected that they will immediately move onto the demolition of Avenue Public House, including 1 Brook Street Gardens.

North Tyneside Council purchased the properties Council earlier this year, as part of the authority’s regeneration plans for Whitley Bay.

The two sites will now be completely demolished to make way for new developments, which could include housing.

The council has also purchased the former Whiskey Bends Public House, and is currently working on plans to determine its future.

Read more here.

Video – United colours of demolition…

Pyrotechnics mark the end of New York’s Hotel Wellington.

They do it bigger in America. Not content with imploding a high rise hotel in Albany, New York, CDI – the contractor behind this impressive shot – decided to stir some spectacular pyrotechnics into the mix as well.

And while these fireworks were not to everyone’s taste (you can’t please all the people all the time), they certainly made for an impressive and memorable spectacle.

Calling all experts…

Can we help this fellow demolition professional…?

oxideEven though it is a national holiday here in the UK, that doesn’t stop us opening the Demolition News Towers mailbox. And today, we have received a plea for help from a reader which we are hoping that readers will be able to help with.

I will allow the reader to take up the story:

I have come across something I have never seen before. I have attached a picture of a piece of box tubing, that sticks out approx, 100 mm from a reinforced upright that the cross beams sit in. Or they were cast around the tube when built.

I have asked a lot of people if they have come across this before, but all have shook their heads and asked did it fall down when we touched it, happily enough it did not. But it did wobble like a jelly on the end of a roach pole.

I was just wondering if you know what this particular method was called, I know the weight of the floor keeps it stable, but to be honest it was a very unstable building when we first took the corner off. Any help would be appreciated, you can just see the tubing sticking out, it is red oxide in colour.

Can anyone offer some insight or guidance?

Video – Max Cady would be proud…

Dykon takes starring role at Cape Fear.

Duke Energy’s Cape Fear Plant has undergone a major transformation after serving the region well for more than 90 years.

The decommissioning team from Dykon imploded the two 200-foot smokestacks at the site as part of Duke Energy’s program to decommission and demolish retired units at nine coal plants in North Carolina.

This is the first of three implosions that will occur at the Cape Fear Plant, weather permitting, before the end of the year. The second will take down the precipitators that formerly captured fly ash when the plant was operational. The third will demolish the boilers and additional structures at the site.

“The Cape Fear Plant has been a part of the local community and a key part of powering the region for nearly a century,” said Indira Everett, Duke Energy’s district manager. “The implosion of the stacks marks a milestone in the company’s comprehensive effort to transition to cleaner and more efficient energy sources.”

Video – And these guys built the Pyramids…?

Uncontrolled Egyptian collapse sends locals running for cover.

There any many ways to tell that a demolition project is going awry: excessive dust; debris falling outside the designated exclusion zone; continuous visits from the local health and safety police. But, as signs go, they don’t come much more telling than locals screaming as they run for their lives.

Of course, given all that is transpiring in the Middle East at present, the uncontrolled collapse of a single Egyptian building is possibly not front page news. Then again, perhaps it speaks to the cheapness of life in a region plagued and seemingly cursed by war and conflict.

Battersea stack dismantling underway…

New photo shows progress on London icon.

A new image has been revealed of the in-progress dismantling process on Battersea Power Station’s famous chimneys. The photo offers a striking vantage point, located at the upper height of the tall stacks and looking out toward the river thames and the expansive cityscape. The process is projected to take two years in total, with work beginning on the facility’s southwest tower as clearly seen in the image above.

The dismantling process begins at the upper level of each tower, with a working platform slowly moving downward as it progresses. debris is transported down a central funnel, and intended for re use or conservation in the project’s legacy program.

Following, a new rig will be assembled for the rebuilding of each chimney. the procedure places new reinforcing and concrete, staged in sections of 1.2 meters in height, and will result in structurally stable stacks identical to the originals.

Read more here.

Bridge, backhoe, bonkers…

There are many ways to take down a bridge. This isn’t one of them.

backhoeAccording to the old adage, a picture paints a thousand words. Judging by the photo (left), I would imagine that high on that list of 1,000 words was “what the Hell were you thinking”.

The company involved clearly has access to a crawler crane; so surely a wrecking ball might have been more appropriate. Or, better still, a demolition method invented in the past 50 years?

But oh no. Let’s get a backhoe loader, an operator with no fear of heights and – ideally – a death wish, and suspend the pair of them high above the ground.

What could possibly go wrong…?

Video – The fall of Troy…

Time-lapse film captures alumni house demolition.

The demolition of Alumni Hall at the Troy Campus took a little more than three weeks, but you can watch the entire process in less than two minutes with this time-lapse video.

Originally built in 1966, the Troy Campus’ male residence hall was demolished over the summer to make way for a new, state-of-the-art Alumni Hall that is scheduled to be completed by August 2015.

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