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Contractors World  - UK & Ireland
2012 Vol 2 No 7
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Now you see it . . .


Demolished tower block brightens skyline

The derelict Normansell Tower on Waterworks Street, Aston, an 18 storey tower block that has blighted Birmingham’s skyline for years came crashing to the ground recently, much to the relief of local residents.

DSM Demolition Group was contracted by Birmingham City Council to bring down the large concrete panel tower block using explosives. More than 80 homes within 160 metres of the site were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

  Demolished tower block brightens skylineBilly Young, contract manager for DSM Demolition, said: “The building was constructed using large concrete panels that are interlocking, which would make a manual or mechanical take down expensive and very time consuming. The use of explosives is a much quicker, economical and safer way of demolishing the tower block.

“The building fell in approximately 4.5 seconds but it will take a further eight weeks for the team to process the 5,000 m³ material and clear the rubble.”

A mobile tracked crusher will process the material on site to 6F3 grade material for use as base material on other construction projects.

There are no firm proposals for the 21,527 sq ft site at present, but it will become part of a wider development of the area according to the Birmingham council.

As part of a 30-week process, DSM Demolition had to carry out a range of compulsory tasks before the demolition could take place.

Tasks included: setting the exclusion zone; designing the collapse mechanism and blast design; drawing up an evacuation plan; sourcing a respite centre for evacuated residents; logging detailed correspondence to and from residents; attending public meetings; digesting information collected from questionnaires; holding one-to-one interviews with local residents and businesses; arranging and implementing road closures and traffic diversions; producing a vibration prediction report; carrying out a test blast to prove the optimum amount of explosives are being used; pre-weakening and drilling the structure; disconnecting and protecting services that remain in place around the block; and undertaking dilapidation surveys of properties within the exclusion zone.

Approximately 25 people were involved in the process leading up to the demolition including: DSM Demolition project team, Birmingham City Council, local police, HSE, Highways, consultants WYG, structural engineers, and explosive engineers. The workforce rose to 60 on the day of demolition with look out sentries, an evacuation team, traffic management, clear up teams, and monitoring engineers joining the established co-ordination team.

“Also, before we can set off the explosives we need to make sure that all residents within the exclusion zone have left their homes. This can be problematic for people who have a disability or when English isn’t their first language.

“For every project we have a precise timescale in which to deliver the works and have to ensure the clean up is carried out to a high standard. And, of course, we will always have a contingency plan in place should anything not go according to plan on the day.”

Click here for more information >>> DSM Demolition Group

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Page updated: September/October 2012



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