From on high

Comment – Roadmap to Recovery…?

The following is a transcript from the Demo LIVE video below. If you can’t be bothered to read this, please feel free to just hit the play button down below.

Do you remember watching the Miss World pageant back in those less enlightened, pre-PC days.

Even though they had just spent half an hour parading about in swimsuits, the contestants were then required to prove that they also possessed a brain by answering a bunch of inane questions to illicit some pre-prepared answers:

Q. What will you do if you win the Miss World Crown?: A. “I would like to end world hunger.”

Q. How will you spend your year as Miss World? A. “I will travel the world to spread a message of peace and unity.”

Course you will. Gandhi, Martin Luther King and JFK were fine. But they all fell short of their lofty ambitions because they looked awful in a tiara and none of them could walk elegantly in high heels.

What has all this got to do with demolition and construction?

Well I’ll admit that my brain works in mysterious ways. But that was precisely what sprang to mind while reading the Roadmap to Recovery issued by the Construction Leadership Council here in the UK.

There is no question that – in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic – the construction and demolition industries will need to Restart, Reset, and Reinvent.

But if saying something made it true, then trust me. The water here at Demolition News Towers would be turned into wine (or root beer) on a regular basis. I would have as much hair on the top of my head as I currently have on the bottom. West Ham would be European Champions annually and David Bowie would still walk among us.

Let’s set aside the fact that they describe themselves as a “task force” as if they assemble under the cover of darkness to fight crime; and let’s take the Construction Leadership Council’s three cornerstones one at a time:

Restart. This aims to “increase output, maximising employment and minimising disruption over a period of zero to three months.”

How the Hell do you increase output when clients have shelved construction plans? And maximising employment. Seriously. The sector has been at the pointy end of a skills shortage for as long as I can remember. The only thing maximising employment for the foreseeable future is the fact that there will suddenly be more workers than there is work for them to do.

Reset: The aim here is to “drive demand, increase productivity and strengthen capability in the supply chain.” Call me a cynic – and frankly, you wouldn’t be the first – but that sounds to me like a posh way of saying cut costs and work harder and longer for less.

Reinvent: This element of the grand plan aims to “transform the industry, delivering better value, collaboration and partnership” over the coming 12 to 24 months. I agree 100% that the industry is due a transformation. I am a firm believer that collaboration – not our children – are the future. And I am in no doubt that there are huge efficiencies to be made through the greater use of technology.

But documents such as this roadmap are like political manifestos: a wish list based upon an ideal world scenario that has never and will never exist.

If we’re being totally honest, then the roadmap for the next few years will look more like this:

Clients will call a halt to any works that have not yet been let, preferring to sit on the cash till all this madness subsides.

Any work that has been let will be re-evaluated, re-tendered and re-priced. Collaboration will give way to value engineering.

Major contractors will apply the thumb-screws on sub contractors. They will demand cost savings; they will expect longer credit periods; and the small handful that did start to pay their bills on time will revert to type.

Sub contractors will be unable to cut costs any further without undercutting each other and cutting corners. Those that are willing to sacrifice luxuries such as training and safety to keep the wheels turning will continue. Some of those that are unwilling to do so will go the wall.

Investment in equipment and the technology required to deliver the industry transformation we all crave will stutter, stall and then stop altogether.

The true cost of the CVID-19 pandemic will be borne – as it has been throughout the pandemic – by the workers. Many of them have already been expected to work throughout a national and international quarantine in which virtually everyone else has been required to stay at home. With the Coronavirus now – hopefully – on the decline, their dedication, bravery and resilience will likely be rewarded with sites rendered less safe by widespread cost and corner cutting; with a marked decrease in job security; and – sadly – with redundancies without the back-up of a government furlough scheme.

None of this marks me as a soothsayer or a psychic with my finger on the pulse of the universe. The truth is that the writing is already on the wall because the industry has been here countless times before. What I have described is not a work of fiction. It is not me being deliberately contrarian or courting controversy to make this video go viral. What I have described is the industry’s default reaction; a reaction that has played out countless times before and that – unfortunately – will play out again.

I wish it were otherwise. I really wish that the industry would unite and fully embrace the Restart, Reset, Reinvent ambitions laid out by the Construction Leadership Council.

A roadmap is a fine thing. But I fear it will not prevent many of our number becoming lost.

We’re back…!

It’s not the shortest retirement in history; it’s just as a change of platform.

COVID-19 cases appear to be on the decline. Sites are reopening and demolition men and women are slowly and cautiously returning to work.

But that doesn’t mean the crisis is over. So, the Demolition LiveStream is coming back. And this time, it will be on Instagram.

For the past nine weeks or so – in direct response to the COVID-19 crisis and the associated lockdown – I have been running a Demolition Daily LiveStream which we were broadcasting LIVE via our Facebook page. The recorded version of that show was then uploaded to Instagram TV and you can still see all 50+ episodes on our IGTV channel.

We broadcast our final episode of that show on Friday last week. And now, with the benefit of hindsight, we stopped way too soon; that our finale was premature.

We started our Facebook show in response to a crisis – COVID-19. And we will be starting a new one on Instagram in response to another – the economic fallout of a global pandemic.

The new show will be starting in just a few days. Until then, this video will explain why we’re staging a comeback even while the dust is settling on the previous show’s finale.

Downtown Dominion detonated…

The downtown skyline of Richmond, Virginia is officially different after Dominion Energy’s former headquarters was demolished.

The building was imploded Saturday at 7 am after a brief delay. All 21 floors of the former headquarters were brought down in a matter of seconds.

Controlled Demolition Inc. handled the implosion and said that thirteen levels of the building were laced with the explosives.

“It will go up the building, the building will tilt slightly to the north, then it will fall down into the hole,” said CDI’s President, Mark Loizeaux ahead of the demolition.

Loizeaux added that nine controlled, delayed explosions brought down the building, also bringing a series of booms into the morning sky.

Read more here, or view the video below:

Demolition Daily #47 – The Final

That’s all folks!

In this bumper FINALE episode, we welcome back Builders’ Conference CEO Neil Edwards to look at the industry’s prospects post COVID-19. We will also be joined by Peter Haddock of Content with Media.

And please be sure to stick around to the very end for our Ferris Bueller tribute closing scene.

Demolition Daily #46

In our penultimate daily show, we fire a shot across the bows of the elements of the house-building sector that are seeking to exploit the current pandemic by screwing sub contractors. House building companies may wish to look away.

Demolition Daily #45

“…greater collaboration will be the phoenix that rises from the ashes of the Coronavirus pandemic…”

In this episode of the Demolition Daily LiveStream, we look at the lessons we have learned from a prolonged period of lockdown; the importance of friends and family; why it is better to work for the long-term greater good than for short-term personal gain; and how technology will grease the wheels of change.

Demolition Daily #44

Today’s guest on the Demolition Daily LiveStream is Roland Alford, managing director of Alford Technologies which this weekend carried out an eight chimney implosion in Australia from the comfort of the UK.

The show is brought to you by our t-shirt sponsor for the day, Repalo, the company behind the self-assembly concrete cracker we featured a few months ago:

Geith targeted by thieves…

Major theft from attachments company warehouse.

The Geith warehouse in Deeside outside Liverpool was broken into on Friday night/Saturday morning in what Police believe may have been a steal to order heist targeting high value hydraulic hitches and tilt hitches as well as buckets and other excavator attachments.

Police said the main door was rammed, likely by a large articulated lorry seen on site and the offices were targeted for keys with on site forklifts used to select and load at least one 40 foot trailer.

The warehouse was badly damaged and Police are examining on site video and some evidence left behind.

Anyone with information or who has any suspicions if contacted regarding Geith product for sale is asked to contacted Merseyside Police.

Breaking bread…

Going full circle with a random act of kindness.

Imagine that – as a child – you have watched a school being built. Imagine that you were among the first intake at that school when it first opened. Imagine if your children then subsequently attended that same school. And imagine if your granddaughter was among the last to attend the school before it was demolished directly opposite from the house in which you still live.

Well that was precisely the case with a local resident near Rokeby primary school in Rugby that is currently being demolished by Armac Group on behalf of client BAM Construction.

Upon hearing this tale, Armac’s Lance Hawkins decided that the man in question should get a keepsake from the school he saw built; that taught him, his children and his grandchildren; and that was now being demolished before his eyes.

During the course of the demolition, Armac had uncovered an old sports hall bench that had been locked away in the loft of the building.
Unbeknown to Armac or to the neighbour, Lance turned a part of that bench into a breadboard that he then presented to the gentleman in question.

Armac reports that the neighbour was truly touched by this random act of kindness that simultaneously proved that there is space for consideration in these troubled times while underlining the demolition industry’s prowess in the field of materials recycling and reuse.

Hats off to you Lance – You did Armac and the demolition industry proud.