AS1The IDE recently held its Autumn Seminar in the glorious surroundings of the Institute of Civil Engineers at One Great George Street, Westminster,London.

The day was very well attended by members with over 200 delegates attending the event along with a very good turn out from our supporting Affiliate members.

 Kicking off the days events, IDE President Steve Jack updated members on the constant progression made within the organisation and the increase in membership applications.

First to take to the stage was AR Demolition Managing Director, Richard Dolman. Mr Dolman spoke in depth about his company’s recent project in Leicester to demolish an understrength flyover. The project involved the sectional cutting of the bridge deck remove asbestos panelling used in the construction process. Mr Dolman proudly proclaimed that apart from the asbestos products, the entire structure was recycled. Following Mr Dolman was Glenn Hide, Managing Director for GMH Planning to give a talk about the complexities of contracts and the need for contractors to be aware of their, and their clients responsibilities under these contracts. AS2a

The second morning session opened with a very emotive and frank talk from Ron Cowan who is a Consultant for Emergencies Planning and Disaster Management. Mr Cowan spoke in great detail about the Lockerbie plane disaster and the emergency communications network set up and run by the RAYNET organisation. Speaking about the volunteer organisation and their dedication to providing a comprehensive network of communications in and around the disaster site, Mr Cowan graphically described, with the aid of his slide show, some unseen photographs of the Lockerbie and the devastation caused by the rowing of the Pan-Am flight.

Mr Cowan was followed by Mr John Underwood, Construction Inspector for the HSE. With over 20 years of construction experience, Mr Underwood spoke briefly about the need to manage the safety of all parties involved in the demolition process before handing the lectern over to Number 8 CEO and former All Blacks rugby star Zinzan Brooke. In a slightly different approach, Mr Brooke opened the floor for questions. The uptake from a rugby loving audience was great with many questions being fired at the former number 8. Re-capping on his international experiences and his short stints in English rugby the New Zealander closed the mornings proceedings with some excellent stories from the world of international rugby.

Following an excellent lunch in the Great Hall the afternoons proceedings were overseen by incoming President, Duncan Rudall.  The afternoon’s programme started with D3 Consulting’s Martin Bjerregaard examining the massive potential for the demolition and decommissioning of the large amounts of gas and oil platforms nearing the end of their working life. Mr Bjerregaard commented on the complexities of the demolition process with the specific regard to surveying the platforms prior to demolition works commencing and the potential for contaminated materials still present ion the structure. Industry stalwart, Alan Matchett from Avant Techno explaining the virtues of the Avant range of demolition robots and mini wheeled loaders and their potential benefits to the demolition industry. Monitoring specialists Casella were next to the stage with company representative Shaun Knott providing the attendees with a very informative and funny discussion about the company’s dust, noise and vibration monitoring systems. Mr Knott informed the audience about their obligations for the monitoring and suppression of dust, noise and vibration on a demolition project and gave some informative details on how contractors should approach the subject.

The days proceedings were rounded off with a pair of speakers representing the Tongole Foundation. David Cole and David Gridley spoke about the Foundation’s work in Malawi, Africa. Founded from the death of Mr Coles’ daughter’s boyfriend in 2006, the Foundation has been set up to provide a two stage project with the first part to set up being a sustainable business to create employment and training opportunities in a very deprived area of Malawi and the second part is to provide a children’s education charity supporting the construction and rebuilding of schools in the region. Many schools in the region are poorly constructed and provide very little shelter from the elements. The Foundation has provided purpose built, quality accommodation, something the local children appreciate greatly. Messer’s Cole and Gridley spoke about the further need for project funding with the further construction of new classroom blocks imminent.


Author: Paul Argent, RPA Photography Design & Media