A very Merry Christmas…

The past three months has been an incredibly exciting and rewarding time for all of us here at Demolition News.

In that time, our concept has evolved from an idea to a living, breathing website with its own magazine and a rapidly-expanding raneg of audio and video podcasts. During our first month of operation, this website received just over 100 unique visitors. Today, we’re exceeding that number each and every day (even weekends).

And we’re not finished yet. With the help and support of our various sponsors and supporters, we will continue to deliver insightful, timely and valuable information for all our readers during 2009. Furthermore, it is our intention to ensure that our audio and video content will also be available through iTunes, allowing our “readers” to take our information with them wherever they go.

So as we all take a well-earned rest and prepare for what threatens to be a very difficult year for our industry, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponors, supporters and readers for their continued support.

And may we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy, peaceful New Year.

Wage cuts for Cat execs…

In yet another sign of the growing grip of the economic recession, UK trade magazine Contract Journal reports that Caterpillar is cutting executive pay by up to 50% in a bid to cut costs as its customers continue to struggle to obtain credit to buy its machines.

Read the full story here.

New Year competition…

During the past 12 months, www.demolitionnews.com has been lucky enough to have been given a number of very nice machine models by manufacturers including Liebherr, JCB and Bobcat.

However, as one of our New Year’s resolutions is to keep the office tidy, the time has come to pass these on to some more deserving causes.

The competition is open to anyone registering as a new subscriber between now and midnight on 1 January 2009. Winners will be chosen at random and will receive:

* First Prize: JCB JS 200W excavator model
* Second Prize: Liebherr 435-13 telehandler model
* Third Prize: Bobcat S250 skid steer loader model

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

RCA Dome down….

In one of the most eagerly awaited implosions of the year, the former home of the Indianapolis Colts finally came down this weekend; and the US press was out in force to capture this historic moment.

Details of the final moments of the RCA Dome can be found here:

Canadian Press
Indianapolis Star
Associated Press

In addition, news crews from local station WIBC captured the implosion in all its dusty glory:

SO close to an accident…

I am beginning to tire of the Internet’s fascination with videos showing demolition gone bad. But, at the same time, I can’t help thinking that if such stupid things are being filmed, just how much of this goes unreported around the world? Scary!

Silo Crash
Silo Crash

No Quick Fix on Quick Couplers…

It is now almost three months since the Health and Safety Executive introduced new regulations that effectively outlawed the manufacture and sale of “semi-automatic” quick couplers.

Designed to prevent the use of the types of hitches requiring the manual insertion of a retaining pin, which have been identified as a direct or indirect cause of a large number of on-site injuries and even fatalities, these regulations are likely to form the basis of forthcoming legislation across Europe, North America and Australia.

However, there remains a degree of confusion over the use of quick couplers in the UK, a fact that highlighted vividly by a recent post-regulation fatality on a London site.

In an exclusive interview with Demolition News, Miller International chairman Keith Miller admits that confusion remains and urges demolition companies to analyse their own equipment and working practices to avoid further accidents.

Demolition Xmas greeting…

If you’re in the demolition business, you will surely relate to this festive message from C&D Consultancy:

Demolition begins on “world’s biggest building”…

Today workers began the monumental task of demolishing the K-25 Building at the East Tennessee Technology Park Heritage Center (ETTP), the first facility ever built to enrich uranium using the gaseous diffusion process and, in its day, the world’s largest building under one roof.

“This is a visible sign of progress by the Environmental Management Program to deliver results in Oak Ridge as we begin safely demolishing this massive building,” said Inés Triay, Acting Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management for the Department of Energy (DOE).

Constructed in 1944, as part of the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic weapon, the massive structure enriched uranium for defense and commercial nuclear power uses until it was shut down in 1964, when more modern facilities at the Oak Ridge site and sites in Kentucky and Ohio replaced the K-25 facility. All uranium enrichment activities at the Oak Ridge site were ceased in 1985.

The U-shaped building covers 17 hectares under one roof, and contains 540 stages of gaseous diffusion and associated auxiliary equipment. Each stage consists of a converter, two compressors, two compressor motors, and associated piping. The building contains more than 650 kilometres of piping alone.

“The workers on the project have diligently prepared the building to be demolition ready, and today we see the results of this extensive planning and commitment to undertake this job in a safe manner,” said Gerald Boyd, Manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office.

Activities undertaken to prepare the K-25 Building for demolition include: process system stabilization by injecting a foam material into the equipment and piping to immobilize residual low levels of uranium that may remain in the systems; removal and segmentation of high-risk components; removal of transite panels; and shipment of some equipment off site for disposal. Measures have also been taken to improve the safety of workers, including the installation of nets and barriers to add protection from falling debris.

The building’s demolition is part of DOE’s long-term reindustrialisation strategy at the site, which includes demolishing old, contaminated, and unsafe facilities and reclaiming the property for future use as part of a private sector industrial park now known as Heritage Center. This initiative includes the reuse of some of the more modern, uncontaminated facilities at the site. Many older facilities, such as the K-25 Building, are not fit for reuse and pose potential long-term environmental and safety problems and are therefore being demolished.

The demolition is being accomplished by DOE environmental cleanup contractor Bechtel Jacobs Co. LLC, whose president and general manager, Paul Divjak, said it has taken a long time and a lot of hard work to get to this point, but noted that the job is just beginning and “we must continue to focus on doing this very hazardous work safely.”

The west wing of the building is scheduled to be completely demolished by the end of 2010. The entire facility is scheduled to be demolished with all waste disposed by the end of 2011. Most of the waste from the demolition is being taken to the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility on DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation for disposal.

Keltbray acquires Pectel…

Keltbray Limited announces that it has completed its acquisition of the business assets and current contracts of Pectel Group from the administrator Zolfo Cooper.

The Pectel Group is recognised as a highly capable service provider within the asbestos removal industry, and this enables the company to undertake a wide range of projects. The Pectel Group has evolved into a business that manages the removal of a range of other hazards, such as lead and radiological, as well as chemical and biological contamination.

The former business of the Pectel Group will operate as a division of Keltbray Limited under the trading name of Pectel. Keltbray Limited is in contact with Pectel Group clients and will complete all current contracts, and look forward to expanding the business with the support and resources the Keltbray Group can provide.

Keltbray Group Managing Director Brendan Kerr commented: “To continue the successful growth of the Group, Keltbray has begun a process of change through our investment in the business and in people, and capitalising on opportunities to acquire assets that provide an opening for developing the business in these challenging times; our aim is to grow Keltbray to provide a wide-ranging nationwide service. We are delighted therefore to secure the immediate future of the Pectel business by retaining the current 250 employees to ensure there is continuity in delivery, and that the transfer of ownership is a seamless one for employees and importantly clients.”

Just when you think you’ve seen everything…

Having written on the subject of construction and demolition for the best part of a quarter of a century, you’d think I had seen it all by now. And yet, the innovation, inventiveness and utter lunacy of some demolition work can still throw up the occasional surprise: