Page 11 - Contractors World - UK & Ireland Edition Vol 2 No 7

Page 11
Contractors World - UK & Ireland Vol 2 No 7
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.
Billy 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
t h e e x c l u s i o n
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.”