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CITB faces backlash over staff relocations…

Norfolk-based staff face commute to York to save their jobs.

The outsourcing company taking on 300 back-office staff from the Construction Industry Training Board has told them that they can keep their jobs, but only if they uproot their lives and move home, reports The Construction Index.

Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has said that the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is effectively making the 300 staff redundant.

Two hundred of the affected workers are based in the CITB’s current headquarters at Bircham Newton in Norfolk, with the remaining staff employed in London, Thurmaston in Leicestershire, Bridgend in Wales and Inchinnan in Scotland.

SSCL has this week confirmed that to continue their employment the workforce will be principally required to transfer to its site in York, with the possibility of some staff being transferred to its other sites in Newcastle, Blackpool, Warrington and Newport in Wales.

This would result in the vast majority of the affected staff having a near impossible commute to work. Unite has described the process as not a transfer of work but the CITB outsourcing a redundancy scheme.

Read more here.

Comment – Unsung hero…

Popular demolition man hangs up his training boots…sort of.

Today marks the last day of full-time employment for popular demolition man Roy Brown as he leaves Keltbray and slips into a well-deserved semi-retirement.

Pretty much anyone in the UK that has undergone any kind of demolition training in the past decade or more will know Roy. Perma-tanned, ever-smiling and unfeasibly Welsh, he has been the acceptable face of demolition training since he was appointed training officer at the National Federation of Demolition Contractors and the National Demolition Training Group.

Yet, to a large degree, Roy’s contribution to the demolition industry has gone largely unrecognised and undocumented. During a four-year stint with the NDTG, he delivered training sessions the length and breadth of the UK. And while those courses were – rightly – required to follow an agreed format and curriculum, Roy always managed to put his own unique spin on things to make those courses more enjoyable and more memorable. This, and the fact that he was a demolition man that had been there and worn the t-shirt, just like those he was training, made him immensely popular among those he trained. And well it might. I don’t know how many men and women Roy trained over the years; I very much doubt that he knows either. But it’s safe to say that the UK demolition industry is better trained and – more importantly – safer thanks to his contribution.

Thankfully, the industry is not scheduled to lose Roy Brown’s experience and expertise quite yet. Although he is about to finish his last day with Keltbray, he is planning to continue providing training and CPCS testing through his own training company.

He says that he will now be a little more selective about the work he accepts and undertakes. That is no less than he deserves.

Everyone at DemolitionNews wishes him well in his (semi) retirement.

Anger over Didcot defence…

Demolition man escapes jail after assault, claiming “misplaced guilt” over Didcot disaster.

A demolition man has avoided a custodial sentence following an assault that left another man with a fractured skull after claiming that his life had spiralled downwards following the Didcot disaster.

In the early hours of 5 May 2017 at The County pub in Rotherham, John Smith hit David Still with what was described in court as “a haymaker” punch that left Still with a fractured skull.
Smith continued to dance for several minutes while Still lay unconscious on the ground. According to the Rotherham Advertiser, Still would subsequently be placed in an induced coma for a week as a result of the injuries he sustained in the attack.

Despite admitting causing grievous bodily harm, John Smith escaped a jail sentence after claiming that his life was “turned on its head” by the Didcot disaster. Mitigating, Dermot Hughes said that Smith was scheduled to be working at the Didcot A power station on 23 February 2016, the day the boiler house collapsed killing four demolition workers. However, as it was his birthday, Smith swapped shifts with a family member who was among those killed in the disaster. Hughes further claimed that Smith had suffered feelings of misplaced guilt and had “self-medicated” with alcohol rather than seeking counselling.

But as Smith escaped jail, anger has been growing online over his use of the Didcot disaster as a defence. In one post on the Facebook social media platform, it is claimed that Smith was not scheduled to be working at Didcot at the time of the incident and that he had been fired several months prior to the disaster that claimed the lives of Michael Collings, John Shaw, Kenneth Cresswell, and Christopher Huxtable.

Read more here.

Video – Gilpin bridges the gap…

Plymouth City Council film charts successful overnight bridge removal.

The demolition of the Union Street footbridge during a recent overnight possession has been captured on film; and it shows Gilpin Demolition in a superb light.

The 30-year old bridge was being removed to make way for the new Boulevard development. After months of planning, the physical demolition took less than 11 hours to complete:

Video – What a Liberty…

Award-winning Australian contractor carries out massive infrastructure project.

A major piece of transport and logistics infrastructure is being constructed on a former Department of Defence Military School and Logistics Terminal in Moorebank, New South Wales, Australia.

The Moorebank Intermodal Terminal is a state significant major project in Western Sydney that will become Australia’s largest Intermodal Terminal.

Liberty Industrial have been engaged by Qube Logistics to deliver three separate demolition, remediation and site preparation work packages associated with the construction of the terminal.

In their own right each work package comprises a large and diverse scope of work but when combined and executed concurrently these three work packages form an extensive and complex civil demolition and land remediation undertaking.

A detailed report on this massive project will feature in the forthcoming edition of the Demolition magazine. But, in the meantime, you can view a video of the project below:

Moorebank Intermodal Demolition and Remediation Project Documentary from Liberty Industrial on Vimeo.

Sydney Stadium demolition gets green light…

Work to demolish Australia’s Allianz Stadium set to start early in New Year.

The New South Wales planning minister has approved the first stage of a two-part development application for the demolition and reconstruction of the Sydney Football Stadium.

The State Significant Development application lays out plans for the demolition of the existing 40,000-seat stadium designed by Philip Cox and completed in 1988 for the bicentennial of European settlement in Australia. The detailed design of the stadium will be the subject of separate application.

The conditions laid out in the approval include the establishment of a “community consultative committee” before any heavy demolition on the site and “design excellence of any new stadium and surrounding landscaping, public domain and open space.”

In November 2017, the state government announced plans to demolish and rebuild both the Sydney Football Stadium and the Sydney Olympic Stadium. After a massive outcry from architects and the public, the government dropped its plans to demolish the Olympic Stadium and will instead refurbish the building.

The demolition of Sydney Football Stadium will begin in early 2019, ahead of the 2019 NSW state election on 23 March 2019.

Read more here.

Comment – What would you do…?

Posting prank video online jeopardises company reputation.

I switched on my computer this morning to find that several people had sent me links to the same video. At the same time, my social media feeds showed that the short film (below) was doing the rounds online too.

The video is short – 12 seconds at most – so before I move on you might like to take a look at it as that will put my comments into some context.

So, assuming you have now watched the film, you – like me – will probably be wondering just what possesses someone to dump an excavator bucket-load of material onto a co-worker. You might also be wondering what possesses someone to film the incident and then post it online. And, if you run a demolition company, you may be asking what you would do if the film clip featured your company.

Banter, wind-ups and pranks have been a part of site life for as long as man has worked on site. But while I like a laugh as much as the next man or woman, this film is problematic for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, the good folks at the Health and Safety Executive will likely perceive this film as a “near miss” and an investigation may well follow. That, I am sure, is an investigation the contractor involved could well do without.

Then, of course, is the potential tarnishing of the company’s reputation. I have now seen the same film on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; and if I looked hard enough, I could probably find it on YouTube too. That means that hundreds, thousands and possibly even millions of people will see a reputable contractor’s name and reputation being dragged through the mud for the amusement of an excavator operator and his friend with a mobile phone camera.

This all raises more questions than I can cover here. But the ones that fascinate and intrigue me are: Has the arrival of social media and the near-universal adoption of smart phones encouraged this kind of stupid and irresponsible behaviour? Do we now live in an age in which responsible use of mobile phone cameras and posting on social media requires specific training and guidance? And what are the employers’ rights if a video like this is posted online? Does this warrant a dismissal for the excavator operator or for the man with the camera?

We’d love to get your comments on this. So please send us an email:

Video Exclusive – Close to home…

AG Edwards tackles Epsom office block.

Under normal circumstances, the production of a Demolition TV video requires planning and travel. But in this instance, this demolition project was taking place within walking distance of the newly-relocated Demolition News Towers in the middle of Epsom town centre. And the only planning required was a phone call to the company in question – AG Edwards & Son – to let them know we were at the gates.

With winter now fast approaching this might prove to be the final outing for our drone this year. But we think you’ll agree it was worth it.

Comment – Standing on the shoulders of giants…

Why we owe the industry’s forebears a double-debt.

Being a Brit, I don’t do Thanksgiving, which is probably just as well as I am pretty ungrateful individual at the best of times. If I did, the list of things I am thankful for would be very short: my wife, children and grandchildren, West Ham United, the music of Ultravox and tea.

But each of us is the demolition sphere should be eternally and jointly grateful. We should be thankful that we work in an industry that no longer injures, maims or kills its workers with the reckless abandon that it once did. We should be thankful that working conditions today bear no resemblance to those endured by our predecessors as little as 20 or 30 years ago. And above all, we should be thankful for the determination, dedication and foresight of our forebears that helped create an industry that is safer, healthier and more respected than ever before.

We are, each of us, standing on the shoulders of giants; giants that disregarded perceived wisdoms and methodologies to create new and safer methods of work. Such leaps would not have been easy; and they certainly would not have been cheap. The adoption of ongoing training comes at enormous cost and often appears to show little return. Making the switch from wrecking ball to high reach excavator required an equally costly leap of faith. Embracing systems of self-regulation and inspection was not required by law and also came at a financial cost that could not be directly recouped. But all of these things were done not because they were cheap and not because they were easy. They were done because they were right.

For each of these things, we owe the industry’s forebears a double debt. We owe them a debt of gratitude because it is their far-sighted wisdom that ensures that we each go home safe at the end of each working day; that the industry has a clear and well-defined career path that allows hard-working and determined individuals to rise through its ranks; that the industry enjoys a level of respect and admiration that would have been unimaginable just a few short decades ago.

Moreover, the industry owes those wise and selfless innovators of yesteryear a debt to maintain their legacy and to continue their work, regardless of the cost. Those of us that have inherited this industry have a duty to continue to question accepted wisdom; to embrace and develop new technology; to forge new paths and to make bold leaps of our own; to let no envelope go unpushed.

The industry that will be inherited by our sons and daughters and our grandsons and granddaughters will be born from the seeds we sow today. It is our duty as an industry to provide them with an industry for which they too can be thankful.

Video – Bayonne blast slo-mo…

Controlled implosion paves way for multi-million dollar waterfront development.

The skyline of the Bayonne waterfront in New Jersey was changed this weekend with a controlled implosion that signalled the start of a 148,000 square metre development that is expected to create 2,700 jobs.

The implosion felled a water tower and a redundant chimney on the site of the former Military Ocean Terminal to clear the way for a new logistics centre.

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