Forth Demolition closes its doors…

Scots contractor opts for controlled closure.

Established and well-respected Scottish demolition contractor Forth Demolition has taken the bold decision to cease trading in a controlled closure.

Company employees were informed of the decision last week and will receive a full redundancy package. The company also reports that all business debts will be settled in full as part of the planned closure.

Speaking exclusively to the DemolitionNews, Forth Demolition’s Stephen McCann says that although the closure was not prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak, the likely fallout from the ongoing pandemic influenced the timing of the announcement.

“We’re a relatively small company. We only take on work that we’re able to do and margins are pretty tight. We have just come off the back of two jobs and I decided that the time was right,” McCann explains. “By closing now, I can pay off all that we owe, give the workers a decent redundancy package, and walk away with some money in my pocket. If I had held on for another few months, that might not have been the case. I wanted to go clean.”

McCann is a former regional chairman of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors and has been with Forth Demolition for some 19 years. But he says there was no place for sentimentality in his decision to close the company.

“None of us know how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last or what economic impact it might ultimately have,” he concludes. “At times like this, you have to think with your head, not your heart.”

Stark Warning…

Message from COVID-19 epicentre makes for sobering reading.

This weekend, I received a message from Stefano Panseri of demolition giant Despe. Stefano and his family are from Italy, the very epicentre of the current COVID-19 outbreak that has reportedly claimed the lives of more than 4,000 of Panseri’s compatriots.

Thankfully, his family is safe. But his multi-award winning company has been closed for the past two weeks and Panseri currently has no indication of when it might re-open.

In the most sobering and powerful email I have ever received, he has asked (begged) me to pass on a message. His email is quite long so I have picked out the key parts and paraphrased where appropriate. And I strongly urge you to read and heed his words:

“…In the space of 72 hours, we went from trying to calculate the likely economic impact [of COVID-19] to just trying to survive. It is war. That is no exaggeration.
The demolition and construction market has to SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY.
Demolition and construction employees travel together, they work together, they have lunch together. These employees are the perfect vector to spread the virus contamination everywhere.
The sector has to understand that the business comes after employee health and safety.
Help the sector to take the right decision to SHUT DOWN before it’s too late…”

This message – and much more besides – will be a part of our new Demolition Daily LiveStream that will be taking place on our Facebook page at 3 pm (UK time) this afternoon.

Helping you back into work…

Resurrecting Demolition-Jobs to aid those left jobless by COVID-19.


It is a sad fact that there will be some (possibly many) demolition workers left unemployed as the COVID-19 pandemic as current sites are closed and start-dates for new projects are pushed back.

And so, we have partially resurrected a tool that we last called upon when the recession hit the sector back in 2008.

Demolition-Jobs.co.uk was a website created to act as a reverse recruitment site. Rather than employers advertising their positions vacant, demolition workers were able to advertise FREE OF CHARGE their availability to work. Thankfully, that site slipped slowly into disrepair as the global economy recovered. And, with the advent of GDPR, we chose to close the site once and for all.

However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are restating this project, although in a different way. Rather than take weeks to create a purpose-built website for this purpose, we have created a simple form that will allow demolition workers to fill in their contact details, together with their experience and qualifications. The resulting database will then be made available to demolition contractors seeking employees.

Once again, this service is 100 percent FREE OF CHARGE. The important thing at this time is not to turn a profit but to help demolition men and women get back into work as quickly and as soon as possible.

You can find the form here.

Training solutions in the COVID-19 age…

Training providers rally to help industry through pandemic crisis.

The world is on the brink of an all-encompassing national lockdown. But some forward-thinking training providers are harnessing technology to help industry remain on track through this unprecedented crisis.

ProTrainings – sponsor of our Training Talk podcast series – is offering a FREE online course to help businesses and individuals protect themselves, their colleagues and families. Details of that new course can be found here.

Meanwhile, the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) is urging workers in construction-related industries and trades to make use of the time to upskill or refresh training.

In line with this, UKATA has approved its 200-member companies and individuals to deliver a number of its approved courses by video conferencing software, including Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

The move to temporary video conference training was approved during a recent emergency UKATA board meeting.

A number of quality control measures have also been put in place with members to ensure the training delivered continues to be of a high quality. To support the delivery of courses UKATA is also developing a new, bespoke online examination system.

UKATA-approved training providers are audited regularly by UKATA to ensure the training they deliver is of a consistently high standard. They are also authorised to award industry-recognised and respected UKATA certificates following successful completion of training.

To ensure that training can continue to be delivered by members, UKATA has also agreed to grant an extension period to members whose membership process deadlines are approaching.

PPE appeal…

Cantillon and De Group join forces to combat COVID-19.


While stocks of PPE are already depleted and orders backing up, we might find ourselves not really having meaningful use for what we have got.

If that were the case, there are likely to be massive shortages within the NHS and probably zero current stocks for all Vulnerable Group Charities and Organisations. We should therefore, retain a base stock and make the rest available to those that will need it most.

Cantillon and De Group are pulling together their resource to reach out to our competitors, peers and partners to seek quantities of excess Masks, Overalls, Glasses and Gloves.

We have contacts within the NHS and the Emergency Services who have already said this would be gratefully received. They may use it themselves or indeed direct us to the Vulnerable Groups. Fact is, it can do a lot of good, but not while it sits on our shelves gathering dust.

This is a Free of Charge donation, its giving back in an hour of real need.

Contact Paul Ford via email paul.ford@deconstructuk.com to commit products or raise any queries via mobile 07973 116786

Or Paul Cluskey via email paul.cluskey@cantillon.co.uk or via mobile 07867 369943

We can manage collection and distribution and your contribution will make a huge difference and hopefully save lives.

You can hear Cantillon’s Paul Cluskey talking about the campaign below:

Hillhead bumped…

Hillhead and PlantworX shows agree postponement amidst COVID-19 crisis.


As we predicted in yesterday’s Comment piece, the Hillhead 2020 exhibition has issued a statement to say that it has been shifted back by a year in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

An official statement says:

In light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Hillhead 2020 is being postponed by 12 months.

Hillhead event director Richard Bradbury explains: ‘The health and safety of exhibitors, visitors, contractors and employees is our number one priority and with the peak of the epidemic predicted to coincide with the show in June, this would be severely compromised.

‘Following an extensive consultation process, the decision has been taken to delay the event by a year to allow market conditions to stabilise and to best support the construction and quarrying industry during this challenging period.’

Also, following industry consultation, PlantworX – previously scheduled for next year – will also be put back a year.

Rob Oliver, chief executive of the Construction Equipment Association, comments: ‘Whilst we are, of course, reluctant to change our plans for Plantworx 2021, these are unprecedented times. In the interests of both our sets of exhibitors and the industry as a whole, we will shortly announce our new dates for the next Plantworx in June 2022 at our Peterborough home.’

NDTG acts on COVID-19 threat…

Training group posts update on CCDO card renewals.

“…NDTG are aware of the uncertainty and growing concerns regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 and the likelihood that this may impact the ability of individuals renewing or updating their CCDO cards.

At this time, all CCDO cards should be in date, however with the situation the industry is currently facing, in the coming months this may not be the case. Therefore NDTG can only advise that employers use their discretion in accepting CCDO cards that will expire from 1st April 2020 onwards until the COVID-19 situation is brought under control.

If you wish to request an extension on your existing CCDO card for an initial period of three months, please call the team on 01442 217 144 (Option 2) or email: hello@ndtg.training

The NDTG will be continually monitoring the current situation with CITB, Build UK, HSE and will continually be updating our website…”

JCB halts production…

Manufacturer responds to COVID-19 threat.

JCB is today stopping production at all of its UK manufacturing plants as disruption resulting from the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic causes an unprecedented reduction in global demand.

The company is halting production for the rest of this week and the whole of next week at its nine manufacturing plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wrexham. Shop floor employees affected by the move will be paid in full during this period. No decision has yet been taken on what happens from the week commencing Monday, March 30th and beyond. Office staff will continue to work a 39-hour week, with many working from home, in support of the Government’s social distancing policy.

“These measures are unprecedented in the history of JCB but are absolutely necessary to protect the business. As we continue to deal with the health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more challenging to maintain business continuity in this volatile economic climate. JCB is a global exporter and worldwide demand for our products has dropped sharply as customers cancel orders and defer deliveries. This is not just a UK issue, it is worldwide and with countries like France, Spain and Italy going into lock-down, those key markets for construction equipment disappear overnight,” says JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said: “In light of this fast-changing situation, we need to re-plan our production and, as a result, manufacturing at all UK factories will cease for the rest of this week and all of next week. This will allow us to take stock of the situation, re-plan our order book, prioritise products that are definitely required by customers, and ensure parts and components are reassigned to support the production of these products.”

JCB’s plant in Pudong, near Shanghai, ceased production last month as the impact of the pandemic initially took hold. After several weeks of disruption, the factory is now fully operational again.

Comment – The show must go on…?

COVID-19 fallout hits industry exhibitions.

The ConExpo 2020 exhibition in Las Vegas last week was shortened by a day amidst fears over the Coronavirus pandemic. News has reached us this morning that the ScotPlant exhibition in Scotland has been postponed along with the Glastonbury music festival that was scheduled to take place in June to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Although there has been – so far – no comment from the organisers, this must surely raise doubts over the Hillhead exhibition that is currently scheduled to take place in Buxton, Derbyshire in June this year.

If the Hillhead show IS postponed, it will be sad on a number of levels. First of all, this is a show that – in recent years – has embraced the demolition and recycling sector. It is a show in which it is still possible to see some truly big equipment in action. And, unlike bigger international shows such as Bauma, it is still possible to see all of the Hillhead show in a single day. For these and so many other seasons, Hillhead has a special place in my heart.

However, it is impossible to ignore the potential implications of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Indeed, even if the organisers decide to press ahead with the show, it is likely that they will see a number of exhibitors pulling out.

It is easy to say that the show could be pushed back by a year, much like the Glastonbury festival.
But it is not that simple. 2021 is already earmarked as a PlantworX year, and equipment manufacturers and dealers’ marketing budgets can only stretch so far. Besides, two shows in a year risks “exhibition fatigue” among even the most committed and eager show attendees.

Should Hillhead skip 2021 in the hope of getting back on an every-other-year rotation whilst avoiding clashes with PlantworX, it will find itself competing for attention (and marketing spend) with the behemoth that is Bauma.

I sincerely hope that Hillhead can go ahead as planned and that exhibitors and visitors are able to give it the support this well-established exhibition so richly deserves.

But as it stands today, that is looking increasingly unlikely.

Report reveals MEWP accident zones

Sites prove proportionally safer.

Accidents while using Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) are proportionally more likely when working in public areas or alongside roads than on controlled work sites such as construction sites, commercial or rental premises, according to the latest detailed safety analysis from the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF).

IPAF’s Global MEWP Safety Report 2016-2018 presents key findings from the federation’s analysis of accident statistics gathered through its worldwide accident reporting project, which has incident reporting from 25 countries around the globe. The report is now available to view or download via www.ipaf.org/accident

Accidents on construction sites account for the joint highest average number per year, but as MEWPs are used much more widely in construction than in other sectors and locations, they are in fact proportionally less likely to occur on a controlled work site than in a remote location or a public area, such as alongside a road, the report shows.

As well as the increased proportional risk of an accident occurring when working away from controlled job sites, the new report identifies recurring underlying causes of incidents involving MEWPs as falls from the platform, electrocutions, entrapments, MEWP tip-overs and MEWPs being struck by another vehicle. This is in line with previous years’ fatal accident analysis and demonstrates yet again that the industry should focus on ways to reduce underlying factors common to these types of incident.

“With this report there’s a new methodology to much of the analysis and the way the findings are presented, plus the report is interspersed with key recommendations to mitigate common risk factors,” says Richard Whiting, IPAF’s General Market Manager for UK & Ireland. “We’ve worked hard along with a dedicated group of IPAF members to analyse, interpret and present the data in a new way, to assist the wider industry to stay safe. Renewed focus must be brought to bear to warn managers and operators of the relatively higher proportional risks of a major or fatal accident when not working on a controlled, segregated work site. IPAF’s Street Smart safety campaign already seeks to do this; we must look at how best to evolve this campaign to help reduce electrocutions or other accidents in forestry, for instance.”

“MEWPs are still among the safest ways to conduct work at height. When unplanned incidents do occur, it is vital we capture that data and analyse the resulting statistics to see what trends are occurring and to influence IPAF’s technical guidance, adapt our training programme and inform our safety campaigns. We must work with our members and all industry stakeholders to improve incident reporting. It’s vital that all incidents including minor mishaps and near misses are logged; this helps identify heightened risk and mitigate underlying factors to reduce the number of major accidents or fatalities that do occur using the knowledge gained,” says Peter Douglas, IPAF’s CEO & MD, who as a member of the UK Country Council was instrumental in initiating the ongoing worldwide incident reporting project in 2012. “Some people may be unaware of IPAF’s reporting portal, while others may feel they will get into trouble if they report something. Our portal via www.ipaf.org/accident is quick, simple and allows any incident to be logged with total anonymity, so I urge anyone who is aware of an accident involving a MEWP that might not have been reported to log on and enter the details without delay – it may help save a life in future.”