Hydrodemolition aids Channel Tunnel repairs…

Train services through the Channel Tunnel linking Britain and France, where scheduled to be fully restored in February 2009 following several months of repairs after a major fire in the tunnel on 11 September 2008.

A lorry caught fire on a Shuttle train carrying heavy goods vehicles bound for France through the 50 km long northern tunnel. The fire, which spread to other vehicles, raged for about 16 hours. The extreme temperatures of up to 1000ºC caused extensive damage to about 600 metres of the 7.6 metre diameter tunnel’s concrete lining, approximately 11 km from the French entrance.

The Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel awarded the repair contract, estimated to be between €50-60M, to a consortium of Freyssinet, Eurovia Travaux Ferroviaires and Vinci Energies. Freyssinet was appointed to look after the civil engineering works, while ETF would be responsible for track and overhead wire restoration and Vinci Energies responsible for other equipment. The technique of hydrodemolition, which uses high-pressure water jets to remove concrete from various structures, was specified as the method to remove the fire damaged concrete. Freyssinet subcontracted the concrete removal to the specialist hydrodemolition and industrial cleaning contractor Philip Lasserat.

For the hydrodemolition part of the repair Philippe Lassarat hired four Conjet hydrodemolition Robots and pumps, together with a team of experienced operators and a project manager, from Rotterdam based Doornbos Equipment, a specialist in the rental of ultra high-pressure water jetting and vacuum equipment. To meet the tight schedule Doornbos had to work three shifts round the clock and opted to use two Conjet 364s and two Conjet 322s. Conjet supplied specially modified banana shaped feedbeams, which carry the jetting nozzle, to match the curvature of the tunnel wall.

“We had to remove the damaged C45 concrete just from the walls and roof to a depth of 30 mm and managed this at an average of 650 m2/day,” says Doornbos project manager Uwe Clausen. “The total area was about 9,500 m2 over an approximate 600 m length of tunnel, including about 350 m2 directly above the fire where the damage was most severe. We removed all the fire damaged concrete in 14 working days using four Robots. We had to work non-stop round the clock in three 10 hours shifts, which included an hour in and an hour out at shift change to get through all the security.” The Robots were supported by 350 kW and 400 kW pumps operating at pressures up to 1000bar and flow of up to 240 litres/min.

After the removal of the damaged concrete Philippe Lassarat followed on repairing and replacing any fire damaged reinforcing prior to spraying on the new concrete lining. The various services and utilities were then replaced before handing the tunnel back to Eurotunnel to restart a full service of the Shuttle trains on 10 February. Eurostar, the company that operates the passenger trains running through the tunnel, anticipated services would be fully restored on 23 February.

Waste symposium postponed…

At a time when cross-border unity and environmental concerns have been set aside and replaced by an “every man for himself” attitude to stave off the worst effects of the global credit crunch, the US’ National Demolition Association has announced that it is to postpone its long-awaited and much-heralded global waste symposium.

According to a news report by leading trade magazine D&Ri, the symposium has been put back by a year because “current adverse economic conditions had resulted in many US state governments issuing out-of-state travel restrictions on their employees, thus preventing the NDA from being able to attract one of the major interest groups to the event.”

Full details of the postponement can be found here.

Premier Waste first to sign up to WRAP campaign…

Premier Waste, the first waste management contractor to sign up to the WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) Halving Waste To Landfill agreement has said that for them, diverting 100% of construction, demolition and excavation waste from landfill is an achievable and realistic target.

Read the full story here.

Snow business like demolition business…

An uncharacteristically deep blanket of snow has brought the UK’s road, rail and air travel to a standstill and has preoccupied news reporters from all the country’s major TV news networks for the past 12 hours or so. Similarly, UK trade magazine is reporting that a large number of UK sites are closed due the the severe weather.

However, demolition men are made of far stronger stuff than most. And during a Sky News report that featured a snow plough that had become stuck, I just spotted a low loader carrying an excavator from London contractor John F. Hunt.

So while the company grinds to a standstill, there are still a few brave (and hopefully warm) souls out there ensuring that demolition is done.

Did you make it into work today? If so, let us know what you’re up to using the Comments tab below.

New service links homeowners and demolition contractors…

A new service aims to make locally owned demolition services more “findable” on the Internet. Hometown Demolition connects high quality, locally owned demolition contractors with the homeowners, contractors, business owners, and builders that are using a search engine like Google to find a local demolition service on the Internet.

The US-only Hometown Demolition Contractors service screens local demolition services across America and accepts one company per market area as a client. For each client, full-page advertisements are placed on Hometown’s highly ranked web site for demolition contractors. Hometown Demolition Contractors is the largest and most authoritative demolition marketing web site in the U.S. Hometown’s demolition clients are also marketed directly with search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

Full story here.

Forthcoming Dates…

As part of its commitment to bring you the very latest in the world of demolition and recycling, demolitionnews.com will be attending a number of important industry events in the coming weeks/months. These include:

  • The AGM of the National Demolition Training Group in London on 5 February;
  • The spring seminar of the Institute of Demolition Engineers in Leeds on 27 February
  • The AGM of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors in London on 6 March

If you don’t know what we look like, just look for the guys burdened down with multiple cameras, video recorders and notepads.

We hope to see you there.

un-Controlled profit slump…

UK trade magazine Contract Journal is reporting that Controlled Group (formerly Controlled Demolition Group) has run up a further pre-tax loss – this time amounting to £1.8m.

The company only signed off its latest accounts — for the 12 months to 30 September 2007 — on 12 January 2009. Turnover of £10m was up from the figure of £7.4m in the previous year when Controlled made a pre-tax loss of £2.0m.

Full story here.

Dust stacks downed…

Good quality (if overlong) video of dust handler stacks being pulled down in North Carolina. There is, however, a certain irony at the end as the dust handler stacks send a plume of – you guessed it – dust into the air!

Do you Twitter…?

It is the fastest-growing online community in the world and it counts people as diverse as US President Barack Obama, John Cleese and Stephen Fry among its most loyal fans. But to many people, Twitter is merely the sound a cartoon bird makes.

But not for much longer. Following some widespread public exposure, not least on the recent Friday Night with Jonathan Ross show in the UK, Twitter is building an increasingly broad audience who don’t just want news and views; they want INSTANT news and views!

Existing Twitter users among you will be pleased to know that demolitionnews is already using Twitter (www.twitter.com/demolitionnews) and will be using the service to provide rapid fire updates from a number of forthcoming industry events.

Those that haven’t yet enjoyed the Twitter experience can sign up free-of-charge at www.twitter.com. Once you have signed up, you can merely search for other users that you wish to follow (we would strongly recommend twitter.com/stephenfry for entertainment value and www.twitter.com/cnplus and www.twitter.com/contractjournal for wider industry news.

Furthermore, one of our sponsors – Dig A Crusher – has just joined and we’d love to hear about any other demolition or demolition equipment-related users that we should be following.

As ever, please use the comments tab below to make any comments or suggestions.

Happy Twittering!

Pinden takes the Volvo route…

Kent-based waste management and recycling operator Pinden Limited, a division of “watch it come down” demolition specialist Syd Bishop & Sons, has taken delivery of four new Volvo trucks: two FH-480 tractor units and two FL-280 skiploaders. These vehicles are the latest elements of a fleet replacement programme that saw 26 trucks delivered during 2008 and resulted in an almost 100% Volvo fleet inside three years.

“We’re running around 40 Volvo’s now,” says Paul Elcombe, Transport Manager for the Dartford-based company. “Volvo offered the best package; it’s a name we feel happy with, and we get strong local support with good facilities from MC Truck & Bus.”

Reliability is a particularly welcome Volvo trait, according to Paul; “Yes, other trucks drive reliably, but Volvo is another thing. They’re more solid, more dependable – looking at my monitor now, I can see there’s not a single truck in the workshop. And that reduced downtime means, in turn, that we can offer a more efficient and reliable service to our customers.”