NFDC path to salvation starts here…?

The National Federation of Demolition Contractors names its next president. That appointment could set the Federation back on track and could give the UK demolition industry the trade association it so richly deserves.

The Break Fast Show #415

In today’s show: The rules of succession have been set aside as John Lynch prepares for NFDC presidency; the world’s tallest buildings and the challenge they present for those that might ultimately demolish them; and we’re headed back to the Messe Munchen, first in the company of Steelwrist and then to check out the latest from Mecalac.

PLUS we’re yelling TIMBER as we check out Volvo’s latest offering for the forestry sector.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

The Break Fast Show #414

In today’s show: China makes a belated bid for the World Cup, courtesy of XCMG; we’re going electric with CASE mini excavators; we’re travelling back to Bauma in the company of Hyundai; and we’re getting connected with Caterpillar.

PLUS we’re starting the week with a big bang all the way from Italy.

Turning point for the NFDC…?

It has been the worst-kept secret in demolition circles for several weeks now but the news is now official: When the NFDC presidency of William Crooks comes to an end in March 2023, John Lynch of Newline Midlands Ltd will take up the chains of office.

In a statement to its membership, the National Federation of Demolition Contractors has said:

“Following agreement between the Vice-President, Gary Bishop, and 2nd Vice-President, John Lynch, National Council have ratified the following changes to the incoming President position for the 2023-25 term.

These changes are effective from the NFDC AGM on Friday 24th March 2023:

John Lynch will progress from the position of 2nd Vice-President to President of the NFDC.

Gary Bishop will remain in place as Vice-President.”

Lynch’s “leapfrogging” of Bishop to take up the presidency will be greeted as a long overdue breath of fresh air for the NFDC.
Lynch is seen as a no-nonsense reformer while Gary Bishop found himself at the centre of a poison pen letter campaign to oust him back at the beginning of last year.

Opinion – Super Fuel or Duper Fuel

It is less than a week since I published an article highlighting how the environmental lobby had adopted a “by any means necessary” approach to carbon reduction. How the world had set sail towards a sustainable future without checking the likely travel conditions. How the Road to Zero was seen purely as a destination, with little or no consideration given to the actual route or the journey.

And here we are, less than seven days later, and the industry appears to have hit a significant pothole on that Road to Zero.
Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (or HVO as it is better known) was widely heralded as the ideal stepping-stone; an almost carbon neutral stop-gap that would suffice until electricity or hydrogen fuelled machines became a viable alternative.

It certainly appeared to have all the right credentials. HVO is 90 percent carbon-neutral and producers say that it reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 30 percent and particulates by up to 85 percent. It is also biodegradable.

Construction and demolition companies and plant hire firms were quick to spot the potential and they embraced the new super fuel. Just over a year ago, the National Federation of Demolition Contractors urged its members to switch to HVO.

But now comes the news that two significant organisations have come out against the use of HVO. The first is Balfour Beatty.

Now Balfour Beatty is notoriously contrarian. Tell Balfour Beatty that the sky is blue and they will try to convince you that it is, in fact, green. Even so, it will unquestionably set alarm bells ringing when the UK’s biggest construction company says publicly that: “Balfour Beatty does not directly purchase HVO fuel for our sites and will expect our supply chain to support our policy position when working for Balfour Beatty.”

The company goes on to say: “We are working with our supply chain partners to keep HVO use when operating plant and fleet on our sites to an absolute minimum. For example whilst some plant may arrive from other sites with tanks part full of HVO, once used up, we expect them not to refill their plant with HVO whilst on a Balfour Beatty site.”

As I said, Balfour Beatty has something of a track record for rowing its own canoe as Build UK found to its cost recently.
The second organisation to drop a fly into the HVO ointment is rather harder to ignore.

The Environment Agency – you know, the public body charged with protecting the environment – has banned the use of HVO on its sites since September.

Much of the concern from both Balfour Beatty and the Environment Agency seems to stem from the categorisation of HVO.

HVO is made from used cooking oil or UCO; and many in construction and demolition circles chose to believe that HVO was, in fact, a way in which to repurpose a waste product.

That, apparently, is not the case. UCO has been used for years in the production of animal feed. And there are now fears that diverting UCO into the production of HVO will mean that animal feed manufacturers will have to find a new and potentially unsustainable substitute.

According to Jo Gilroy, Balfour Beatty’s group sustainability director, it is simply a matter of due diligence. “We’re very good at jumping on solutions and thinking they’re the answer to our problems, aren’t we?” she says. “We look for easy wins, and HVO looked like that. But any one-hit wonder solution needs to be examined carefully; you always have to do your due diligence.”

As I said last week, the industry, society and the world is rightly focused upon the carbon neutral destination; so much so that it has possibly not given sufficient thought to the journey from here to there.

Or, as David Taylor at The Construction Index puts it: “Your path towards net zero is more likely to lead you into a maze than it is to take you straight from A to B.”

In conversation with…

One of the very best parts of my job here at DemolitionNews is that I get to speak to some incredibly smart and incredibly insightful people.

In fact, the people I have spoken to offer so much value that I have decided that they deserve a YouTube playlist all their very own.
We have pulled together a host of our most recent discussions and put them all in one place so that you can dip in or binge-watch as you see fit.

And you will find all of those conversations right here.

The Break Fast Show #413

In today’s show: Did we leap before we looked at HVO fuel? Balfour Beatty and The Environment Agency certainly think so. Yanmar shows off its new family of compact ducks; we bring you the best view at Bauma from the cab of the PC4000E mining excavator; and speaking of cabs, Bomag is showing off its new work station.

PLUS we’re off to Norway for some truly epic recycling.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

In conversation with John Christofides, Bobcat

At Bauma 2022, Bobcat showcased a number of new machines and innovations that place it at the very cutting edge of demolition and construction equipment development.

In this exclusive conversation, we caught up with Bobcat’s John Christofides to find out how Bobcat maintained its high level of innovation and product development even during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown.

The Break Fast Show #412

In today’s show: There is just a little more space on Miami Beach following the explosive demolition of a long-standing hotel; why electric machines might just revolutionise the soft strip process once and for all; CASE steps up the functionality of its excavators; and how Bobcat aims to be the world’s leading compact equipment manufacturer within the next three years.

PLUS we have a Bauma highlight reel like no other.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

In conversation with Timur Abied, Volvo Construction Equipment

When it comes to the electrification of demolition equipment, Volvo Construction Equipment is thinking outside the box and inside the building.

In this exclusive interview with Timur Abied, we discuss the potential application of electric mini excavators as a replacement for the manual labour involved in the soft stripping of structures prior to demolition and a whole lot more besides.