Demolition Technology 2020 LIVE

It’s the show you’re all been waiting for!

After months of planning, it’s finally here – The world’s biggest showcase of the technology that is transforming the demolition industry of today and that is shaping the sector of tomorrow.

We sincerely hope you enjoy the show.

DemolitionNews just got stronger…

New publishing partner will drive growth and professionalism.

I am delighted to announce that DemolitionNews (together with the Demolition magazine and our sister titles (Diggers and Dozers and TechForSites) has agreed terms with a new publishing partner, Eljays 44.

Eljays 44 is a highly-reputable and established publishing company that will enhance the professionalism of DemolitionNews.com and allow it to build upon its position as the demolition world’s largest and most-widely-read news platform. Eljays 44 also recognises the growing importance of social media and brings with it extensive experience in event planning and organisation that will be invaluable as the industry seeks new ways to consume news and industry information.

This new partnership secures the future of all DemolitionNews and Diggers and Dozers titles whilst seeing off new pretenders to their undisputed crown.

“I have known Eljays 44 founder Jim Wilkinson for more than 30 years and we have worked together previously on titles including Plant Managers Journal and the Demolition magazine. Together with his team, Jim has established a formidable reputation for professionalism and for serving industries with news and editorial content they want,” says DemlitionNews.com owner Mark Anthony. “Importantly, Jim and I share a mutual trust and respect which will allow us to each focus on driving our various websites and magazine titles forward.”

The partnership with Eljays 44 could not be better timed, coming just 24 hours before DemolitionNews.com hosts the first-ever Demolition Technology 2020 virtual event. “This event is just another example of DemolitionNews working for the industry it serves,” Anthony continues. “Our aim is to serve the demolition industry, and that ethos ties in perfectly with Eljays 44’s ambitions.”

This is a view shared by Eljays 44’s Jim Wilkinson. “We at Eljays44 are delighted to be working with Mark again. The most important part of any media business is getting the content right and with Mark there is no doubt of his knowledge, understanding and connections – he lives and breathes demolition,” he concludes. “With his experience and sector knowledge and our understanding on all things media and delivering a greater reader/visitor experience it’s a match made in heaven.”

The next issue of Demolition magazine is due our midOctober, as planned.

Slavery study…

Can anyone help with this academic study…?

We have been asked to help with the preparation of an academic study into modern slavery and exploitation within the construction sector.

The details of the study are as follows:

I am researching how the construction industry is tackling labour issues, including exploitation, modern slavery, and improper payment. I would like to talk to contractors that have worked on projects run by large principal contractors to better understand how responsibility is passed down the supply chain, and what the view is of those carrying out the works compared to those managing the project at the head of the supply chain. In other words, are principal contractors’ policies viewed as being effective? Are principal contractors driving and supporting change or are they expecting smaller contractors to do this?

All responses are confidential so no company or individual names will be used, in order to allow for honest answers (I’ve attached a form which explains this in full).

If you’re happy to take part we can either talk online (via Teams, Zoom, Skype etc) or in person might be possible depending on travel. You can contact me by email: cp16102@bristol.ac.uk

Christopher Pesterfield

Comment – Game Over

Why attempting to attract young people into the demolition and construction sector via comparisons to computer gaming is folly.

There is no greater sign that a youth trend has peaked than when it is adopted by the mainstream.

I was a teenager at the time but I distinctly remember watching as a children’s TV presenter wearing bondage trousers, a handful of safety pins and spiked hair attempted to explain what punk was all about. By this time, the Sex Pistols had already imploded with John (Johnny Rotten) Lydon signing off the band’s first and last US tour with those immortal words: “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” Yes Johnny, I recall thinking. You’re damn right I do. I am getting that feeling right now watching this berk doing the pogo on Blue Peter.

I saw the same thing unfold with the absorption of hip-hop into the mainstream. As a huge fan of the Friends sitcom, it pains me to say it. But there is an episode in which Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel Green character attempts to rap. It remains cringe-making to watch and potentially did more harm to the hip-hop movement than Vanilla Ice and Robbie Williams’ god-awful Rudebox ever could.

The problem is that, when the mainstream borrows or steals a youth trend, it takes only the surface. That 1970s children’s TV presenter wore the clothes but failed to comprehend or convey just what punk actually was: a rebellion against pompous and self-indulgent prog-rock; a backlash against youth unemployment and a country in political crisis and plagued with civil unrest.

Hip-hop, at its core, is a latter-day blues. It is a music of protest and struggle. Jennifer Aniston’s failed attempt to rap was a far cry from seminal songs like The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five that shone a light upon the plight of young black men in inner-city America in the early 1980s.

And all of this is not peculiar to the media. I vividly remember visiting London’s Carnaby Street some time around 1978 to buy my own pair of bondage trousers (laugh all you want but these were not my greatest fashion crime. Not by a long way). Carnaby Street in the 1970s wore its edginess on its torn sleeve. Even though it is just a few hundred yards from the glitz and glamour of London’s Regent Street, the entire place felt sleazy and slightly dangerous. To myself and my friends at the time, Carnaby Street felt like it was ours.

The Carnaby Street of today is transformed, and not necessarily for the better in my opinion. It is as if Regent Street itself has seeped in. Carnaby Street today looks and feels like any high street in the world. It even has a Starbucks. And while Japanese and American tourists still gather beneath the street’s famous overhead sign for that all-important selfie photo, the reason for the sign’s iconic status has long since been buried beneath designer shops and corporate homogeny.

Likewise, London’s Camden Market – the spiritual home of punk – is now a haven for groovy media companies where tattoos are a prerequisite of employment, and yet more franchise coffee shops. A handful of sorry-looking and ageing punks with wilted mohawks remain, but their sole purpose is to pose for photographs with passing tourists. Joe Strummer must be turning in his grave.

Now I say all this not as a statement on the corporate appropriation of youth culture for its own nefarious needs (although, while I am about it, this does demonstrate a lack of vision and original thinking). Nor do I say it to appear “cool” and youthful (I am neither).
This is, in fact, a long-winded and tortuous lead in to a discussion about the demolition and construction sectors’ ongoing failure to attract young people into the industry. More specifically, I am calling time on the constant comparison of excavator controls with those of an Xbox or PlayStation as a lure with which to hook unsuspecting youngsters.

To my mind, this is wrong on so many levels and it speaks to a perception of the youth of today from the perspective of a middle-aged man in a suit who is probably aware of the existence of Instagram and TikTok only because his son or daughter seem to talk about precious little else.

For one thing, not everyone in the combined fields of demolition and construction drives an excavator. In fact, comparatively, very few people actually do. Look at a typical demolition project (whatever that is) and there may be 20 or more people on site but only one or two people actually driving a machine of any kind. Suggesting that an ability to play Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto is somehow preparation for a life in demolition or construction is, therefore, misleading and doesn’t actually represent the realities of the industry as a whole. The ability to operate a PlayStation prepares no-one for life as a general site operative, a soft strip operative, a burner, estimator, site manager, supervisor or just about any of the multitude of other jobs that make up the modern demolition world.

In my opinion, the combined demolition and construction sectors could learn much from the advertising carried out by the Armed Forces. That advertising goes to great lengths to point out that there is a huge number of careers and disciplines on offer, very few of which involve being shot at. Those ads are noticeably non-gender-specific and they play upon some of the unspoken perks of a life in the Armed Forces: transferable skills; camaraderie; international travel; discipline and self-reliance. Although the international travel is not readily available to all, all those other perceived perks exist in the field of demolition and construction. But who is talking about that?

Setting all of that aside, there are further issues with the Xbox/excavator comparison. Not every young person plays video games. Those that do are predominantly male. In fact, a recent study suggests that as few as six percent of young women identify themselves as gamers compared to around 33 percent of young males in the same age bracket. Selling demolition and construction on the basis of its perceived similarity to a games console is – at best – appealing to just a third of young men, making it a poor use of its advertising dollars. Furthermore, by appealing predominantly to young men, it further perpetuates the gender imbalance that continues to plague the sector.

Bearing in mind that – today more than ever – young people aspire to a lifestyle of maximum income for minimum effort (footballers, reality TV stars, YouTubers and Instagrammers), why do we not focus more upon the potential earnings within this industry? Admittedly, not everyone will get to own a Bentley (though some do). But £80k/year for a senior estimator – quite possibly in their early 30s – is not to be sniffed at, and neither is the company BMW that goes with the role. (For the record, I am not suggesting that the job of estimator is minimum effort. That £80k will require a lot of hard work and dedication).

In addition, for most young people, computer gaming is something they do in their spare time. In all likelihood, both young men and young women will spend more time on their mobile phones and devices. They will likely be extremely computer savvy having never known life without them. They come pre-wired with the ability to operate social media. They inhabit a world of email and apps; WhatsApp and mobile mobile communications. They have their fingers on the technological pulse. In the age of BIM, email and social media marketing, remote working, drone surveys and machine telematics, we need all of this and so much more. So why are we spending so much time and energy trying to convert gamers into excavator operators when so many young people possess precisely the skills and expertise we need in other areas right now?

I will leave you with one final thought. Unless they’re in a band, middle-aged men have no business wearing baseball caps back-to-front. Unless they are Tony Hawk, they have no place on a skateboard. They should not be wearing skinny jeans, they should not have body piercings, and they most certainly should not refer to anyone as “bro” or “dude”. Like computer gaming, all of these things belong to the young. Any attempt to appropriate any of these things merely serves to cheapen them and to alienate the very people to which they belong.

So can we all stop trying so hard to be “down with the kids” and start showing the kids what’s down with demolition and construction.

Unfunny stand-up…

CoGen stack fails to fall.

The planned controlled demolition of the CoGen chimney stack at the Dragon LNG plant in Waterston, Milford Haven, didn’t go quite to plan this afternoon.

A statement issued by the company says: “Dragon LNG regrets that during the planned demolition of the Cogen chimney stack today, there was an impartial collapse leaving the chimney standing.

Due to the strict safety procedures in place, prior to the planned demolition, there is no danger to our team, other site occupants, or the community.

We are currently working through the contingency plans with our specialist contractor to ensure the safe removal of the remaining structure.

The exclusion zone around the area has been maintained. The stack is currently being inspected by safety officials.

We are currently searching for a better video but, for now, you can see the failed blast below:

Asbestos training down by two-thirds…

UKATA raises concerns over 66 percent fall.

Apprentice case studies. Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce
The UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) has raised concerns about the lack of asbestos training in the construction industry that has been undertaken since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the re-opening of construction sites in May, the number of workers undertaking asbestos training courses continues to remain well below average and are at their lowest level for five years, prompting UKATA to speak out.

Prior to the Corona crisis an average of 18,000 workers a month completed asbestos training . Over the last six months (March – August), an average of 6,000 workers a month undertook asbestos training delivered by UKATA-approved training providers, a fall of more than 66%.

Craig Evans, Chief Operating Officer of UKATA, commented: “Our concern is health and safety training is being overlooked as construction sites push to make up for time lost during the lockdown. This not only increases construction workers’ risk of exposure to deadly asbestos but also the buildings’ users.”

Asbestos-related health issues, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, are not identified immediately after exposure to asbestos. It takes between 15 years and up to 60 years before deadly asbestos-related diseases present themselves.

The latency period of asbestos, coupled with a substantial drop in training numbers, could mean that the UK will be facing a greater amount of deaths from asbestos over the next 15 – 60 years. To reduce this risk it is important that delivery of asbestos training returns to pre-Covid levels.”

Deaths from asbestos exposure have increased dramatically in the last 15 years after widespread use between 1950s and 70s. Since 2018, there have been more than 5,000 deaths annually in the UK from asbestos-related cancers – the largest single industrial killer ever seen in the UK.

The HSE recommends that asbestos refresher training courses should be undertaken to help ensure knowledge of asbestos awareness is maintained. The asbestos regulations also make it clear that asbestos training for non-licensable and licensable asbestos works should be carried out at least annually.

To ensure asbestos training continues to be accessible during the pandemic, UKATA approved its 200-member companies and individuals to deliver asbestos courses by video conference technology.

Craig Evans added: “It is now vitally important that all construction employers and workers ensure that all asbestos training is up-to-date. These are difficult times, but this is a matter of life or death.”

Taking a bite out of chocolate factory…

Bath Demolition eats its way through historic facility.

If you’re a chocaholic (reformed) like me, then you may know that the Somerdale Factory in Keynsham near Bristol is something of a Mecca for those cursed with a sweet tooth.

According to Wikipedia, the factory was the home of Fry’s Chocolate Cream, the Double Decker, Dairy Milk, Chocolate Buttons, Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs, Cadbury’s Fudge, Chomp and Crunchie. According to Cadbury employees (or ‘chocolate welders’ as they are locally known), the Crunchie machine made over one million bars a day.

The factory sadly closed in February 2010, following the takeover of Cadbury plc by Kraft Foods. And now it has been demolished. Check out the video below:

Somerdale Factory Demolition NO LOGOS-HD 1080p from Brace Creative Agency on Vimeo.

Hospital from on high

Hong Kong’s Kwai Chung hospital is coming down.

Here at Demolition News Towers, we love a drone video. Under normal circumstances, we also love jetting off to far-flung destinations.

While we can’t currently travel quite as freely as we all might like, these two videos from Hong Kong might help quench your wanderlust.

AF Decom in action…

Norwegian demolition giant goes to work.

Norwegian company AF Decom is one of those companies that I have long admired for their ability to undertake large-scale and complex demolition projects.

So when this video dropped in my inbox this morning, I couldn’t resist sharing it:

CITB extends apprentice support…

Training board responds to ongoing COVID crisis.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is offering support to help find a new employer for any displaced apprentice as part of a raft of measures to keep skills within industry.

Any construction apprentice is now eligible to receive CITB support if they lose their job or apprenticeship. This means around 11,000 apprentices across the construction industry, more than the 7,000 currently contracted with CITB, and their levy-registered employers can benefit from: job redeployment services, including through the Construction Talent Retention Scheme; and reallocation of grant funding to a new employer to help apprentices to complete their training if at risk.

Sixty per cent of construction companies in the Construction Leadership Council’s People Survey said they would take on fewer apprentices at the next intake later this year. Approximately a quarter of construction’s 11,000 apprentices across the country are furloughed.

CITB’s dedicated support team will look to find a new employer for any displaced apprentice, through local industry contacts or by registering them with the Construction Leadership Council’s recently-launched Construction Talent Retention Scheme, which redeploys displaced apprentices and industry operatives.

If an employer is unable to help an apprentice complete their training amid current circumstances, CITB will help to find a new employer and also reallocate grant funding to them to support training through to completion, and with the help of Further Education (FE) partners and providers also assist with employment opportunities.

To prevent apprentice redundancies and encourage more employers to take them on, CITB is investing a total of £1 million in shared apprenticeship schemes in England, Scotland and Wales.

Usually, apprentices work for one employer throughout their training. At present this may not be possible. CITB will use shared schemes to place apprentices with different construction companies, providing a range of experience and skills while allowing employers to continue supporting apprenticeships through short-term placements.

Many contracts that construction employers work on include Section 106 planning permission requirements to employ local apprentices. Shared apprenticeship schemes can help support employers meet these requirements, recruiting local labour and supporting the regional economy, without the need for a two-year commitment. This in turn supports learners to achieve a full apprenticeship, with the experience they need, working in local projects with a range of employers.

Building on the Government announcement to expand traineeships, CITB is exploring with industry, government and the Association of Colleges and British Association of Construction Heads how to adapt the traineeship model for construction. This would form part of a new transition route from Further Education into employment or a construction apprenticeship, to support 2,000 FE learners as a pilot scheme in 2021-22.

Deborah Madden, CITB Head of Apprenticeships, said: “With significantly fewer apprentices being taken on this year due to Covid-19, CITB has launched a range of initiatives including job redeployment assistance, pastoral support, shared apprenticeship schemes, and an employer levy holiday and discount to keep apprenticeships at the heart of construction. In partnership with the Construction Leadership Council, these measures are part of our Skills Stability Plan to support industry through the recovery.”

Apprenticeships are the main source of industry recruitment at entry level – of the 20,300 people in 2018 who entered construction, 11,350 went via an apprenticeship and 8,900 through Further Education.