Unite calls for safety improvements…

Union responds to “horrendous year” for demolition.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today that 2020 must bring safety improvements for demolition workers following a number of fatalities and accidents this year.

Highlighting a series of major incidents in 2019 within the demolition industry, Unite said it would be writing to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the new year to demand that the incidents are investigated properly and lessons implemented.

Unite also said it will be pressuring enforcement agencies and employers to step up their efforts to safeguard demolition workers.

Major incidents in 2019 include four deaths at three different sites and the collapse of scaffolding around a derelict shopping centre in Reading that was being demolished by McGee.

In February this year, a demolition worker employed by Brown and Mason died at the Longannet power station in Fife. Two more demolition workers employed by JF Hunt died at Redcar Steelworks, North Yorkshire, in September, while one Veolia employee died and another was seriously injured while dismantling a gas rig in Great Yarmouth in October.

Unite also pointed to incomplete or unsatisfactory investigations into the tragedies at Didcot, Oxford, involving Coleman and Company, in which four men died in 2016 after a disused power station collapsed, and the 2014 death of man who was crushed after a digger fell through the a concrete slab that was being demolished by McGee in Grosvenor Square, London.

Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “This year has been horrendous for the demolition industry. In addition to four fatalities, we had a major scaffold collapse during the demolition of a shopping centre in Reading, in which thankfully no one was killed.

“There must be a full inquiry into the scaffold collapse that cannot be limited simply to its immediate causes. It must also examine whether the work had been sub-let, the competence of the company carrying out the work, the role of the client, whether all the workers on site were correctly employed and if they had all the appropriate skills and training.

“It is essential that we learn the lessons from this accident, which could have been far more serious, to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future. For too long there has been inadequate investigations and responses to accidents and dangerous conditions in the demolition industry and workers continue to pay for that with their lives.

“For instance, why are we are still in a position that closure has not been reached on the four fatalities at Didcot in 2016 or the death at Grosvenor Square in 2014? That’s five families still waiting for an outcome, years after the tragedies happened.

“As we approach 2020, Unite demands to know what the industry and enforcement agencies are going to do to address these incidents and ensure next year is a safe year for demolition workers.

“Clients need to take some responsibility for ensuring contractors are employing workers in core activities rather than simply sub-letting everything. They could carry out checks on how many workers each contractor covers in the industry’s B&CE Death Benefit Scheme, which provides life insurance. That would give them an indication as to how many demolition workers each contractor employs directly. A simple but effective check”

Lightning strikes twice…

Contractor demolishes wrong house…again.

Just like Santa, a contractor should check his (demolition) list twice.

Detroit’s largest demolition contractor is under investigation and faces suspension after it demolished the wrong home — and it’s not the first time that it happened.

The Adamo Group was given a $25,201 contract to demolish a fire-damaged house at 14461 Alma Ave. on June 18 — but misread the house number and in November razed the building at 14661 Alma Ave. instead. A similar mishap occurred in May last year.

The Detroit Building Authority Special Projects Director Brian Farkas confirmed to the Detroit Free Press the company is facing a minimum 90-day suspension from bidding, and that “Adamo was suspended for 90 days in May 2018 for a similar offense.”

An attorney for Adamo, which has collected over $58 million in federal and state-funded demolitions since 2014, declined comment.

Read more here.

Cherry picked…

Texan demolition company acquired.

Arcosa, Inc, a provider of infrastructure-related products and solutions, has announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Cherry Industries, Inc. and affiliated entities for $298 million.

Cherry is a leading producer of natural and recycled aggregates in the Houston, Texas market. For the twelve-month period ended September 30, 2019, Cherry had revenues of approximately $176 million and EBITDA of approximately $37 million.

Established in 1952, Cherry has developed a unique platform of mines, processing facilities, and services across the Houston area to offer a range of construction materials to customers. It serves diverse infrastructure markets, including highway, industrial, commercial, and residential markets, and also provides concrete demolition services, primarily to secure raw material for recycled aggregates.

Cherry adds 12 Houston locations to Arcosa’s existing 19 active aggregate and specialty materials locations in Texas, building out Arcosa’s footprint in a key Texas market with healthy population growth, major highway investments, and positive private demand drivers.

“We are very excited about this acquisition. The transaction is aligned with our strategic plan, accelerating the growth of our high-value Construction Products segment and enhancing our geographic position within Texas. Cherry’s unique platform will provide additional organic and acquisition growth opportunities in Houston and adjacent markets in Texas and the Gulf Coast. Cherry’s unique business model of offering aggregates in combination with recycled aggregates represents an opportunity for Arcosa to replicate in other regions,” says Arcosa president Antonio Carrillo. “Additionally, the acquisition gives us an immediate leadership position in recycled aggregates, a growing product category due to resource scarcity and ESG benefits. Recycling aggregates decreases landfill use and improves air quality by reducing haul distances and energy consumption. Cherry is the largest recycled aggregates company in the country, and we look forward to building on Cherry’s leadership position.”

Read more here.

A source of prIDE…

World’s first Masters of Science in Demolition Management graduate.

The long-held hopes and aspirations of the Institute of Demolition Engineers (IDE) came to fruition today when seven individuals graduated as Master of Science in Demolition Management at the end of a course devised by the Institute and delivered at the University of Wolverhampton.

Those seven individuals are Matthew Bardgett, Matthew Browne, David Gauja, Robin Powell, Davinder Singh Reehal, George Robinson, and Patricia Sloneczny.

At a glittering graduation ceremony, the “Magnificent Seven” were described by University of Wolverhampton vice-chancellor Professor Geoff Layer as “the leaders of the future”.

The graduation is the culmination of several years of study by the seven individuals; and it is the realisation of a dream the IDE has pursued for more than 12 years. Speaking at the event, Dr Terry Quarmby – until now the only demolition academic – said that the concept of a demolition degree was spawned during the presidency of the late David Ross Turner. “if you had told me 12 years ago that we would be stood here celebrating the first graduates, I would have laughed,” he says.

It was fitting that Quarmby was joined on stage for the graduation by John Woodward who succeeded Quarmby as IDE president and continied the campaign for a recognised demolition degree; and by current IDE vice-president Richard Dolman who will take up the IDE educational mantle next year.

Full report in the next edition of the Demolition magazine.

Hiroshima buildings face demolition…

They survived the blast but now face the axe.

The Japanese city of Hiroshima plans to knock down two buildings that survived the 1945 atomic bomb – but some locals want them preserved as landmarks.

The two blocks – built in 1913 – were first used as a military clothing factory, and later as university student accommodation.

They were also used as a makeshift hospital after the bomb itself.

“They could be used as facilities toward (promoting) the abolition of nuclear weapons,” said one survivor.

Around 80,000 people were killed as a direct result of the bomb, and another 35,000 were injured.

The attack flattened most of the city, and – as of last year – only 85 buildings built before the bomb remained within five kilometres of “ground zero”.

The blocks survived, at least partly because they were made from reinforced concrete. Some bomb damage to the metal windows and doors is still visible.

In 2017, authorities found the structures – now publicly-owned – were highly likely to collapse in a strong earthquake.

Read more here.

DemolitionNews Survey…

One question to clarify your fears and concerns for the year ahead.

Through a mix of political turmoil and economic uncertainty, it seems likely that 2020 will prove to be a challenging year for many within the demolition industry. But what will the key challenges be?

We have devised a very simple, one question survey to allow you to voice your specific concerns. Assuming that we can get a reasonable degree of response, we will publish the findings of this survey at the beginning of 2020. It might not help address or overcome any of the challenges faced, but it might just show that you’re not alone in your fears and concerns.

So please take 10 seconds and fill out the survey below:

Littlebrook latest…

215 metre chimney dropped in controlled blast.

Brown and Mason’s ongoing demolition at the Littlebrook Power Station on the banks of the River Thames at Dartford in Kent continued this weekend.

A controlled implosion was used to demolish a 215 metre tall chimney:

Acrophobia AND arachnophobia…

If you can’t deal with heights or spiders, look away now.

We posted the following video over on our Instagram feed at the weekend and it has quickly racked up more than 80,000 views and more than 160,000 impressions in just a few days.

Based on that surge in popularity, we thought you might like to see the film for yourselves in its entirety:

Detroit power plant downed…

Blast clears way for new car plant.

DTE Energy demolished the old Conners Creek Power Plant in Detroit earlier today.

The plant was on a piece of the land exchange made with the city to make room for a new Fiat Chrysler plant.

Demolition Directory 2020

The industry’s most eagerly-awaited publication is HERE.

On the face of it, it is a listing of all the UK demolition contractors worth their salt. But delve deeper and you will see it’s WAY more than that.

This forward-focused publication looks in depth at the possible replacements for diesel fuel; the likely impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things on the wider demolition sector.

This is a publication that you will want to bookmark and to read again and again.