If you have been watching The Break Fast Show this week, you will know that I have been on something of a crusade over the scandalous amount of time it is taking to investigate and explain the Didcot Disaster that claimed the lives of four demolition men back in 2016.
While I am still angry about that element of the Didcot tragedy, I wanted to draw a very quick comparison between the UK and the US.
As I have previously reported, there was a power station collapse in Ohio at the end of 2019 in which two men were killed. It took around a month to recover both bodies compared to the six months it took at Didcot.
And while the Didcot investigation is still rumbling on five and a half years later at roughly the speed of Continental Drift, the Ohio incident was investigated, prosecuted and closed in 17 months.
I’ve said all this before. But how about this?
The Didcot A boiler house only partially collapsed, leaving a part of the structure dangerously unstable.
It would take five months to plan and conduct a controlled explosion that would bring that portion crashing to the ground.
The bodies of Ken Cresswell, Christopher Huxtable and John Shaw still lay buried and unrecovered in the mess of tangled steel when that implosion occurred.
Fast forward to last month when an apartment block collapsed in Miami. That too left part of a structure dangerously unstable. And that too was brought down in a controlled explosion.
That implosion took less than two weeks to plan, prepare and execute.
At Didcot, it would be six weeks after the implosion that the first body was recovered, that of Christopher Huxtable.
In Miami, less than four weeks after the initial collapse and less than two weeks after the subsequent implosion, 97 bodies have been recovered. 95 of them have been formally identified.
US officials have promised families that the search would not end until every loved one was recovered.
I have been fortunate enough to visit demolition companies and sites across the world. To this day, I firmly believe that UK demolition contractors are among the very best in the world.
Our best demolition contractors – and we all know who they are – could compete with their contemporaries anywhere in the world.
UK demolition companies are the elite. The very best of the very best. They are Champions League contenders.
But based upon the way in which the Didcot investigation has been mishandled, I now believe that those Champions League contractors and – more importantly, their players – are actually competing on a playing surface that is barely fit for a Sunday League pub team.