Members Hotseat



Who are you?

Stephen McCann, MIDE – a Consultant and Trainer, Perseus Safety, Training & Consultation

Stephen McCann 529Why did you become a Member of the IDE?

I joined around 2007 and was encouraged to do so by Jim Caldwell Snr; he advised me that as I had recently completed my Demolition Supervisor course and NVQ, it was the correct path to take.  Jim got me an application form and signed me in.  I had no idea what the IDE was at the time, but it seemed interesting.  Now I’m here and you can’t get rid of me…!

How long have you worked in the Demolition industry?

I’ve been in Demolition as a full-time occupation since 2000, but I’ve been around it for considerably longer, due to the fact that my Father was (and still is) working in the industry. As my Father was a Demolition Manager, I would go with him to visit the jobs on Saturday mornings; this led to working on these jobs during the school summer holidays. I moved into Demolition from my position at a scrap metal merchants early in my career: the scrappy had a Demolition company too, and required someone to weigh the scrap leaving one of their steel works jobs at Gartcosh Steel Mill near Glasgow. I also worked for a brief period as a topographic surveyor.  Had I not chosen demolition, I might well have stayed on that career path. Well, either that or a store Santa, just for the holidays.

Do you think the industry has changed since you have been involved in it?

Since I started visiting Demolition sites as a child with my Father the industry has changed beyond recognition.  The types of equipment evolves constantly and the technological advances during my time in the industry are staggering.  On top of this,  the legislative basis for the industry changes fairly quickly, although it seems that these changes are an effect of developments in the industry, rather than a cause.  Consequently, it amazes me to find people in the industry that still possess a mind-set more appropriate to the 1990’s or 2000’s.

You only have to look at the changes in mobile phones over the past 20 years and draw parallels to the equipment we now consider to be standard to see the difference that advancements in technology have made: Brokks and high reach are as far removed from the ‘diggers’ of the 90’s as an iPhone is from a Nokia 2405.  

Even methods of demolition are advancing in ways that no one would have believed ten years ago.  We now have Japanese bottom-up demolition, where the lower level of a structure is removed and the rest of the building is lowered down; a similar style of bottom up method was used in London. The Despe method of demolition from Italy and some of the most accurate explosives demolition from Brazil. Keeping on top of the changes in the industry is a full time job.

Tell us about the projects you are working on at the moment

I’ve been putting on weight, hoping that the Santa position will become available … but in the meantime I’m working as a consultant for Hart Builders on a tricky contract on Buccleuch Street in Edinburgh which requires the removal of a brick-built fly tower. The tower provides structural support for a large cinema which will not be removed. At its narrowest point, the site has about two metres of room from the neighbouring building, which presents particular challenges.  Overall, this project involves huge amounts of temporary works co-ordination and careful, methodical planning.

What has been your biggest achievement in the industry?

Hmmm, it’s hard to say.  At one blissful moment I was the World’s youngest person – Does that count? 

What is your experience of the IDE so far?

I think the IDE is superb. The meetings are very friendly affairs, with members more than willing to share their knowledge and experience with one another. The meetings always have an educational element as well, which means that you have the potential to learn something new from each meeting.  I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to meet and learn from some of the industry’s top minds, thanks to the IDE.  In the future, I would like to see the IDE expand and grow in Scotland: I’d like to be part of this.

You have recently become a Full Member of the IDE – how did you find the process of putting your portfolio together?

I’m used to making presentations as an instructor and speaker, so I found it relatively straightforward.

I believe some people might overthink this process, which results in them overloading their portfolio with too much information.  Your portfolio is a broad overview of what you have done in during a two-year period: while detail is required, it’s not needed to the extent that would be necessary in a case study.

Has being a member benefitted you in any way, what impact has it made on your work?

Yes, being a member has benefitted me and has had an impact on my work; there’s also an element of personal pride in being a member. For me, being part of the IDE means that I must strive to live up to the benchmark of professionalism that membership of this group denotes.

What would you say to anyone who is considering applying to become a Member of the IDE?

Do it, but do it for yourself. If you take your profession seriously and you want to make a career out of it, do it.

If a potential member is not part of a professional association, they may lack credibility in the eyes of other professionals.  Attaining MIDE Full Membership is every bit as difficult to Demolition Engineers as obtaining CMIOSH is for safety professionals. More importantly, it helps open new doors, and provides the opportunity to meet some of the best minds in the industry.

Where do you see the industry in the future and where would you be in it?

I think the demolition industry is moving forward at a pace few people are able to fully comprehend at the moment. There are so many companies doing complex and interesting jobs in a wide variety of sectors. Taken as a whole, I can’t think of another industry that is moving as quickly in as many different areas as we are. I find this awe-inspiring, and being involved in such an industry is truly exciting to me.

If you could change anything about the IDE what would it be?

I would like the IDE to work more closely with the NFDC and NDTG, but to still maintain its individuality.

I think the courses available to the demolition industry via the NDTG should be cross-matched with IDE CPD requirements; in addition, where possible, core points should be given. That said, the NDTG should also consider this when producing relevant courses so that members can achieve core points. I think that the IDE’s endorsement of NDTG courses would benefit the industry in general; this would also provide confirmation of a national standard of training delivery.

What are your plans for the future?

Complete and utter World Domination… failing this, expanding my own knowledge and abilities.  I like to constantly move forward (sometimes I even move in the right direction), which means that I like to explore lots of things and learn new skills.

Demolition Ball

JUNE 2014

Who are you?

Robert Munro, AMIDE and I am a Contracts Manager for Technical Demolition Services Ltd.  I became a member of the IDE in 2013.

Why did you become a member of the IDE? Robert Munro 8012

I believe it extends and develops my experience and knowledge base, because some of the other members have been in the industry longer than me and some also have some more experience in other types of Demolition.

How long have you worked in Demolition?

20 years in Demolition!  I was a professional surveyor in the building side of the construction industry for 11 years and very much needed a new and different challenge.  I’d have probably stayed in the building side of the construction industry and maybe ventured into the contracts management side of things had I not chosen Demolition.

In your opinion how has the industry changed since you have been involved in Demolition?

There has been huge change in the industry, because of the likes of the CDM regulations having their initial introduction 20 years ago, landfill tax was introduced 18 years ago and generally there is much more emphasis on Health & Safety, year after year.

Tell us about the projects you are working on at the moment

I am just finishing off the Demolition of eight 21 storey buildings using a super high reach machine.  The super high reach machine work phase started on the first block in April 2013 and we finished the Demolition on the last one in April 2014.  The client had some problems with diverting the power supply to one block which delayed the programme by over one month.  So, on average, I reckon to have achieved the Demolition effectively one block every 6 weeks and also on a continuous basis for nearly a year – which is very good going!

What has been your biggest achievement in the industry?

I couldn’t single out any one project, so probably passing my IDE exam at my first attempt has been my biggest achievement – which incidentally was also the first exam I have sat in 30 years!

Tell us about your experience with the IDE so far

I have attended several IDE Regional meetings, which are always interesting and informative.  Also, being in the magazine and communication loop which helps me keep up-to-date in an ever-changing and evolving world.  Also, dare I say, sitting the IDE exam as I mentioned earlier!!

Has being a member of the IDE benefitted you in any way?

Coming from a professional background and having a sense of professionalism in all the work I do is important to me. The IDE gives that aspect in relation to individuals.  Amongst members I also think there is a good air of camaraderie and a good degree of openness to share views and experiences.  Lastly, but not least . I believe it shows to all third parties that being a member demonstrates a good level of professional competency has been achieved.

What would you say to other members who are considering applying for Membership?

Don’t consider it – just do it, because if it doesn’t benefit you in any way – which would surprise me – it certainly won’t be bad or negative for you!  I wish I had joined the IDE many years ago.

Where do you see the Demolition industry in the future?

There will always be a requirement to remove structures and buildings which have served their life purpose and are no longer required, therefore Demolition will always be there too.  Recycling of waste and Health and Safety will continue to become ever increasing items to be attended to.  All my projects have been within the UK, so it would be nice to manage some overseas projects at some point.

If you could change any one thing about the IDE what would that be?

Whilst I accept most of the membership will be located in the South, I still think it should be possible to locate more IDE business etc. (e.g.: Annual Luncheon) at different locations throughout the country.

What are your plans for 2014?

To maintain the good safety record and completing projects on programme record that I have enjoyed to date.  Winning the National Lottery would be great too of course!

Demolition Ball


Christina Wallace 660Who are you?

My name is Christina Wallace, MIDE, and I am an Associate Director at CH2M HILL

When did you become a member of the IDE?

I became an Affiliate Member in 2009, passed my exam and became an Associate Member in November 2011.  I then passed my Professional Interview to become a Full Member in February 2014.

Why did you become a member of the IDE?

As a lead Demolition Engineer, I needed to be able to demonstrate my competence for the role to protect the interests of my employer, Sandwell MBC.

How long have you been working in Demolition, and why Demolition?

I have been involved in Demolition for 7 years, since I took on my role at Sandwell where part of my job involved Demolition.  Within a relatively short time I became very interested in the Demolition projects and was able to make them my major focus.  The work is challenging, interesting, fast-moving and exciting.  Projects that inspired me to become a member of the IDE include Bearwood House where I used an ultra high-reach Demolition machine, the first in Europe.  We recycled Bolton Court tower blocks, crushing and grading the arisings into an Environment Agency approved suds drainage layer storing rainwater under a gypsy site that the council were constructing.  We excavated 150 World War II artillery shells from the Eagle industrial estate site.

If I had not chosen Demolition as a career path, I would be a Project Manager.  I am also a Chartered Civil Engineer and a CDM Coordinator.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

Now I work for CH2M HILL, who used to be Halcrow.  I have joined the team that redeveloped Longbridge and the Goodyear Tyre factory.  At the moment I am focused on business development and bid-writing, getting more pre-contracts experience within a global organisation.

What has been your biggest achievement in the industry?

Expanding Sandwell and Coleman’s Demolition Partnership to include other local authorities and NHS organisations.

Tell us about your experience with the IDE so far.

The IDE Seminars are some of the most focused and interesting that I have been to. 

The route to membership is thorough and challenging so being a Full Member is well recognised in the industry.

Being a member has given me the authority to advise on Demolition in my new company.

What would you say to other members who are considering applying to become a member of the IDE?

The process of preparing for the exam caused me to formalise the technical, safety and legislative knowledge that I have.  Reflecting on my experience at each of the stages of membership was a useful experience to support future development needs.

You recently became a Full Member of the IDE.  Did you enjoy putting your portfolio together?

Looking through my project files for information when putting my portfolio together was surprisingly enjoyable and straightforward.

If you could change any one thing about the IDE what would it be, and why?

I would like to see more female members working their way through the membership route.

What are your plans for this year?

Over the next year I would like to work on some major bid submissions and advise on some technically challenging Demolition projects.

Demolition Ball

MARCH 2014

Who are you?

I am Stephen McAleenan (BSc (Eng))

When did you become a member of the IDE?

I joined in June 2013

Why did you join us?

I wanted to be professionally recognised within the Demolition industry, and expand my professional network of like-minded peers

How long have you been working in the industry? Why did you choose Demolition as your career path?

I have been working in the Demolition industry for approximately 12 years post grad.  From being a Site Engineer on large complex projects to my current position as an Operations Manager. 

The Demolition industry has always interested me as every project is different, bringing new challenges and allowing me to develop my skills in problem solving and project management.  Compared to the majority of construction and civil engineering projects, demolition contracts are generally much shorter enabling people in the industry to gain experience more rapidly due to the ever changing environments and complexities of projects.

What are you working on at the moment?

We are strategic partner on the Tesco Shopping Centre redevelopment in Dundalk, where our remit was to remove vast amounts of both notifiable and non-notifiable asbestos, soft strip, phased complete demolition of a part live centre inclusive of installing temporary works and crushing all arising’s to a tight programme.  We have just received a platinum award of merit from the client on this project for safety, contract management and exceeding the clients requirements.

Another large high profile project we have won after detailed pre-qualification process is the complete strip out of a six-storey office building (approximately 15,000m2) in the IFSC in Dublin to a very tight programme.

Also we have just completed a multi-storey apartment complex for Dublin City Council three weeks ahead of schedule!

What has been your biggest challenge in the industry?  Why did you find it challenging?

I have found the tender process most challenging, as some projects have been priced dramatically below cost, thus leaving successful contractors having to undertake projects with the main goal being cost saving and not safety.

Tell us about your experience with the IDE so far

It has been a pleasant and fruitful one so far – on one hand I receive regular information from the IDE in the form of emails and the magazine and on the other hand I have successfully won numerous pre-qualifications after receiving top marks on experience and competency.

Has being a member benefitted you in any way?  If so, what impact has it made on your work?

Yes it has, it has expanded my business network and helped me during the pre-qualification process to illustrate to clients that BDCE are actively training Senior Management to appropriate competency levels.

What would you say to other individuals who are considering applying to become a Member of the IDE?

I would advise anyone who is looking to meet industry peers and have recognised Demolition certification to join.

Who or What inspires you?

I would say that striving to be the best that I can be within the Demolition industry, and to be recognised by my peers.

Will you be taking the IDE exams this year?

Yes, I am taking the March examination.

What are your plans for 2014?

To retain our A grade safety rating, and have no safety incidents/accidents on our sites.

Increase turnover and profitability.

Expand our client base.

Pass my examinations.

Complete the ISO9001 & 14001

Demolition Ball


Who are you?Carl Strong1

My name is Carl Strong and I am the Head of Recycling for Euro Dismantling Services Ltd.  I became a member of the IDE in June 2010 and am now at Associate Grade.

Why did you join the IDE?

I wanted to belong to a dedicated Association within the industry.

How long have you been working in demolition?

12 years

What do you enjoy most about the industry?

I like the fact that projects tend to be very diverse.  You are subsequently always learning.

What has been your most memorable project?

BNFL Berkeley – they nearly “broke” me in the first 6 months!  But I persevered and achieved great success.  It (Berkeley) became the first Nuclear establishment to be de-licenced.

Why did you become a member of the IDE?

I do feel that membership is very select and totally focussed on the people.

Tell us about your experience with the IDE so far

I take great pride in my membership.  Joining was straight forward, however, the exams not so, as other older “students” will confirm; it is difficult to adapt to the desk/clock scenario.  I did have the advantage of undertaking something similar when passing my NEBOSH (NCC).

You have recently submitted your Portfolio for consideration to become a Full Member.  Do you have any advice for other members who are just starting on their Portfolio journey?

I found that time was a bit of an issue but I would suggest that they collate their information progressively as soon as they pass their exams.  Always keep good records of your achievements.

What inspires you?

Problem solving.  If I can cure with an innovative solution – Fantastic!  If I can disprove the “We have always done it like that” theory as well – even better!

What would you say to others that are considering joining the IDE?

Please do!  Why wouldn’t you?  It is an extremely well-run association that does still carry the personal touch.

Do you have any plans for 2014?

A role change with a view to becoming more focussed on estimating, operational and contract management.Demolition Ball


Tell me about yourself

My name is Simon Ogden and I am the Contract Director for DSR Demolition.  I have been a member of the IDE since November 2013 and have reached Associate Grade.

Why did you join the IDE?

The IDE is becoming recognised more and more as a worthy qualification and after working for so long in the industry I decided it was time to join.

How long have you been working in demolition?

37 years!

What do you enjoy most about the industry?

I enjoy the problem solving aspect of the role, no two jobs are quite the same – in fact some projects can present very complex challenges.  I get great satisfaction from explosive work in particular, there’s nothing quite like the high you get when you push the button.

What would you say to others that are considering a career in the industry?

There are ups and downs…but it’s never, ever dull!

Most memorable project?

Working in the newly formed Republic of Georgia and getting a 22 storey concrete hotel ready for explosive demolition with very limited resources.  I’m glad to say it went perfectly.

How did you become a member of the IDE?

My brother Dominic, who is a Full Member, had been encouraging me to join for some time, but I am not an “exam person”.  When I heard about the Shared Support Route, I decided I would give it my best shot.

The whole process on the Shared Support Route has been fast and efficient and I found the exam much more straight forward than the traditional exam.  It really helped to be able to talk aloud and have a scribe to record my answers.  The part I found tricky was writing my answers on paper, but with someone there to do that for me I was more relaxed and able to verbalise my answers.

What do you do to unwind?

At the end of a hard day I like to go to my local, meet my friends and unwind over a few pints.  I also love to go backpacking around the World.

What would you say to others that are considering joining the IDE?

Just give it a go!  There is a route in for every kind of demolition professional now, and the IDE staff do everything they can to help you through.

Do you have any plans for 2014?

To keep DSR Demolition heading onward and upward

Simon Ogden 562



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