Deutsche Bank Demolition fallout continues…

The New York Times reports that the former purchasing agent for the subcontractor hired to dismantle the former Deutsche Bank building, which was damaged in the Sept. 11 attack in Lower Manhattan, has been charged with stealing more than $1 million by filing false invoices and using the money for expensive vacations and luxury cars, the authorities said on Tuesday.

Read the ongoing story here.

Syd Bishop uses landfil tax for local community…

Terry Bishop (right) presenting the cheque to Jim Fletcher, the Rector of All Saints Church
Terry Bishop (left) presenting the cheque to Jim Fletcher, the Rector of All Saints Church
UK demolition specialist Syd Bishop & Sons Ltd has donated almost £40,000 towards the restoration and extension of the nearby All Saints Church in the Parish of Fawkham and Hartley. Donated via the Community Credit Scheme, the money represents a significant proportion of the Landfill Tax taken at the company’s construction and demolition waste site in nearby Pinden.

Dating back some 900 years, All Saints Church is the oldest building in Hartley with a history that traces back to Norman times. Indeed, it is thought that the church was actually built upon the former site of a wooden Saxon church. In order to meet the needs of the local community and spurred on by the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act, the Parochial Church Council developed detailed plans to convert the Grade 1 listed building to include: level access from the road; modern toilet facilities; a refreshments area; a circulating area; and a community meeting room.
To date, the church has raised £290,000 of the £350,00 required to finance this important project and it was this shortfall that led the church to approach local businesses including Syd Bishop & Sons Ltd.

The new extension will require the level of the land to lowered by approximately 0.5 metres to bring it flush with Church Road. This will require the excavation of an area that has been used for burials for more than 600 years and which contains at least 62 known burial plots, all of which will have to be re-interned when the work is complete. “Many of these were ‘shroud’ burials in which no coffin was used so internments often overlap each other,” explains rector, Jim Fletcher “In fact, one of the graves contained one body but four skulls.”

A large part of this work is being funded thanks to the donation by Syd Bishop & Sons Ltd which has used a charitable clause in the Landfill Tax system to help support this important local cause. “Under the current taxation system, we were allowed to contribute up to 6.6 percent of 2007’s Landfill Tax revenue to community needs or charity, provided that we contribute an additional 10 percent on top of that,” explains director Terry Bishop. “To allow us to support some other good causes, we have donated 3.3 percent which was equivalent to £35,535, plus 10 percent which took the total to £39,008. This area has always been good to us as a company and it’s great to be able to give something back to the local community.”

Bats block demolition…

A straightforward contract awarded to UK demolition contractor J Freeley Ltd to demolish a disused and vandalised building in Rochdale was delayed for more than 12 months; because it was discovered that bats had taken residence.

A specialist bat ecologist put the demolition on hold until a new building was erected on site to provide an alternative home for the roosting bats.

Once that was built, J Freeley Ltd operatives had to painstakingly remove tiles, fascias and bricks by hand from the sheltered accommodation block on Dean Street under the watchful eye of the bat expert, Angela Graham of Bury-based Angela Graham Bat Consultancy Service.

“Initially this was a straightforward demolition contract. The building stood within its own grounds so it would have been quite safe and simple to use remote machine demolition. The contract involved asbestos removal, demolition then landscaping – it could easily have been completed within five weeks,” says managing director John Freeley. “But as bats had been spotted around the building, and they are a protected species, we had to wait more than a year before we could start the project on behalf of our client Rochdale Boroughwide Housing Ltd.”

Angela Graham inspected the accommodation block, and paid a number of visits both in daylight and at night time to establish that bats were indeed roosting within the building. Her report said an alternative roosting building must be erected before any demolition took place. So an open-fronted shed, made of blocks and with cavity walls, complete with a felt-lined slate roof, was built for the bats. Inside, specialist roosting boxes were installed.

Once that was ready for the bats, careful hand demolition of the accommodation block began under the supervision of Angela Graham who was particularly concerned that removal of known roosting features, such as slates and fascias, was tackled with particular care. This necessitated the complete scaffolding of the building before demolition began.

Said John Freeley: “Considerable extra costs were incurred by the client once it became clear that bats were using the building to roost. As awareness of the protected status of bats becomes more widely known, demolition contractors are advising clients to have buildings assessed by specialist bat ecologists at the earliest possible opportunity so contracts are not delayed.

“I believe that in the future, these types of surveys could become as standard as the Type 3 Asbestos Survey is today.”

Demolition News “Webby” award goes to…

With the dust having settled on 2008 and 2009 now springing into life, we at Demolition News have taken a look back at our website traffic statistics to see what our readers have been looking at during the past year (well, the past three months – we only launched in October!)

As is the tradition, we will announce the winners of our Webby Award for the most commonly visited story of 2008 in reverse order.

3rd – In Third place was the launch of our own online magazine. Even though we are terribly disappointed to come third in our OWN contest, it was pleasing to get this magazine out and we’re genuinely delighted at the response so far.

2nd – The second most viewed story was our story “just when you think you’ve seen everything” which covered the use of a helicopter/drop-ball combination

1st – And the winner of our Webby Award for the most viewed story of 2008 is “no quick fix for quick couplers”, an audio/video interview with Miller International chief executive Keith Miller on the subject of quick couplers.

Keith Miller
Keith Miller

Our thanks to Keith for his involvement in this item, and to our contributors and readers for all the other news and views contributed during our exciting first few months.

Demolition underway at Sportsman’s Park…

Demolition work is underway at Sportsman’s Park/Chicago Motor Speedway, the former dog track that was converted to a horse racing landmark by two of Chicago’s most famous sons: Edward O’Hare and Al Capone.

For further information or to view a slide show of photos from the track’s glittering past and demolition present, click here:

Photo courtesy of Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune / January 5, 2009
Photo courtesy of Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune / January 5, 2009

Get your FREE NFDC Year Planner here…

The latest issue of Demolition & Dismantling is now winging its way to readers across the UK and beyond, accompanied by a fantastic Year Planner produced for the National Federation of Demolition Contractors.

And we have some very good news for those Demolition News readers not fortunate enough to receive one via this route. We have 50 of these Year Planners to give away on a first-come, first-served basis.

To receive your free NFDC Year Planner, please send your full name and postal address details to

Caterpillar’s loss is charity’s gain…

UK construction magazine Construction News is reporting that Staff at Caterpillar’s Desford factory in Leicestershire have been asked to do charity work and training for four weeks as production stops due to a sharp drop in orders.

This news follows hot on the heels of recent reports of Caterpillar executives taking voluntary pay cuts.

Read the full story here.


As someone that has been involved with business-to-business marketing for more than a quarter of a century, I am always impressed at anyone that can inject a little humour to deliver an otherwise serious message.

Here’s a fine example from waste management and skip hire company Top Triangle:

The video comes courtesy of – the UK’s leading national skip hire service, part of TopTriangle Ltd, a company supplying many demolition contractors with the following services:

– Asbestos Removal
– Plasterboard Removal
– Grab Hire
– Flood Lighting Hire

You can view their full range of services at where you can also open an account online.

Competition winners announced…

Three lucky Demolition News readers are celebrating a winning start to the New Year having won our New Year’s competition.

The winners are:

  • First Prize (a JCB JS 200W excavator model) goes to John Lee
  • Second Prize (a Liebherr 435-13 telehandler model) goes to Karl Baxter
  • Third Prize (a Bobcat S250 skid steer loader model) goes to Jack Westwood

Their prizes will be sent to them shortly.

New edition of PDI out now…

The latest edition of Professional Demolition International (PDI) is out now and available to read online by clicking here: