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.