A national disgrace…

In just a few weeks time, it will be the sixth anniversary of the UK demolition industry’s darkest day – The Didcot Disaster in which four demolition workers were needlessly and tragically killed.

Six years on, and the investigation has still presented no findings. There have been no prosecutions and no answers as to why those four men died.

Most importantly of all, there is still no closure for the four grieving families.

The Break Fast Show #217

In the first episode of 2022: Doosan goes Blue; we take a flying visit to an imploding power station in the US; CASE looks back over a landmark year; the Benelux countries get their first Kobelco SK400DLC-10E demolition excavator; and we have the footage; and we are dreaming of Manitou.

PLUS we will look back at the construction contract awards recorded in December and across the whole of 2021 with our special guest, Neil Edwards, CEO of The Builders’ Conference.

The Break Fast Show #216

In the final show of the year: Asbestos exposure fears bring demolition to a halt in Stroud; we will be visiting the Liebherr bakery; there’s a new project that requires the attention of a demolition contractor near Warwickshire; and we will also be ruminating on the subject of luck.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

The Break Fast Show #215

In today’s show: No escape for dodgy directors as the Insolvency Service is granted new powers; the HS2 project celebrates a landmark year; Mecalac makes merry for the festive period; and you can feel free to take it easy over Christmas; Ausa technology has got you covered.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

The Break Fast Show #214

In today’s show: The CMA prolongs the agony on its investigation into alleged collusion; Building an ice village using one machine and dozens of attachments; Engcon breaks out the spanners to teach tilt rotator maintenance; we’re California dreaming about demolition; and we get up close with a beat of a wheel loader – The Komatsu WA800-8.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

CMA prolongs the agony

Anyone hoping that Santa might deliver a conclusion to the CMA investigation into the UK demolition industry is about to be bitterly disappointed.

The spectre of collusion that has haunted the demolition sector like the ghost of Christmas past for more than two and a half years will apparently not be exorcised until at least Mach next year.

The latest statement from the Competition and Markets Authority says the investigation is still looking into ant-competitive arrangements in the supply of construction services that may infringe Chapter 1 of the Competition Act of 1998.

According to the latest statement, information gathering began in March 2019 and ran until September of the same year. In October 2019, a decision was taken to proceed with the investigation.

In June 2020, the CMA said that it was still assessing evidence and would provide an update in December 2020.
That update pushed back the findings to February 2021.

At that time, a decision was taken to continue with the investigation and it was suggested that another update would be forthcoming in October 2021.

That never transpired. But the latest statement now says that the investigation remains ongoing and that the next update will not be until March next year.

DemolitionNews has been maintaining an online dossier charting the CMA investigation since it first began. We have now added details of the latest statement. You can read that and a full back catalogue of information on the CMA probe using this link

The Break Fast Show #213

In today’s show: We will be looking in depth at the latest pronouncement from the Health and Safety Executive on the dangers of demolition; we will discuss why such a pronouncement is still necessary; and why the UK demolition sector has been targeted in this way.

There’s also a pair of new hydraulic breakers from Caterpillar; and a competent demolition contractor is required for a contract in London’s Camden Town that will provide a Construction Skills Centre for the mammoth HS2 project.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

A Damning Indictment

How far has the demolition industry really come if the HSE considers it necessary to issue a reminder that buildings can become unstable during demolition?

And just how professional is an industry in which accidents and fatalities are greeted not with a scream of outrage but with a shrug of resignation and familiarity?

The Break Fast Show #212

In today’s show: Firm fined over incident that resulted in a worker having his leg amputated; three massive Ohio stacks fall in controlled blast; we indulge in some bridge blasting in Italy; and is this the ultimate Christmas gift?

All that and more on The Break Fast Show.

Comment – G’day to Aussie interlopers…

During the course of my 30+year journalistic career, I have been fortunate enough to visit demolition companies and sites on four continents and in more countries than I can actually remember. I can tell you that some were good, some were not so good, and some were truly outstanding. I can also tell you that – regardless of prevailing national standards – the demolition in each country has its own idiosyncrasies, and its own foibles.

Each of those nuances represents a learning opportunity; a chance to stray from a path well-trodden and to explore new and different ways of doing things.

Which is just one of the reasons that I believe the arrival in the UK of world-class demolition contractor Liberty Industrial is actually a good thing.

Now I realise that I am not competing with Liberty Industrial and that my livelihood will not be impacted in any way by the arrival of the Australian company in our midst. I also understand the mass wagon circling that is probably taking place amongst some UK demolition firms as we speak to hamper or prevent the invasion of tis Antipodean interloper. But ultimately, I think Liberty Industrial should be welcomed into to the fold.

Regular readers of this column will know that, when I am in need of a metaphor, I often turn to the beautiful game. And, as ever, football provides the perfect comparison.

All four of the English Premier League’s most successful managers actually came from outside England. Admittedly, Sir Alex Ferguson came from just up the road in Scotland. But he would be the first to tell you that, like Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, he is not English.

But here’s the thing. While Ferguson enjoyed huge success at Manchester United and his peers won countless trophies at Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City, their influence extended way beyond their respective clubs. They elevated those around them.

When Manchester United were an unstoppable force, lowly Blackburn Rovers managed to win the Premier League. When Manchester City and Chelsea were battling for supremacy, Leicester City stole a march and stole the Premier League title too.

Even as we speak, my beloved West Ham find themselves close to the top of the league table and competing in Europe, swept along in the slipstream of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

The fact is the arrival of a proven world-class performer in any field forces those around them to raise their game to unprecedented heights. It requires others to pick apart, study and possibly replicate what makes that newcomer tick; what makes them successful.

UK demolition contractors – particularly those competing for heavy industrial and oil and gas-related demolition and decommissioning works – can circle their wagons if they wish.

But personally, I’ll be saying g’day mate to the new arrivals from Down Under.