Spring Seminar 2019: Leeds

The 1st of March saw the annual trip to the Leeds Armouries for the IDE Spring Seminar. Yet another busy event with a good mix of industry professionals delivering interesting and informative presentations.

For his first Leeds event, IDE President, Gary Bishop FIDE welcomed the packed auditorium to Leeds before undertaking the unfortunate task of asking the attendees to stand for a minute’s silence in honour of an industry stalwart and a great friend and colleague to many, Liebherr’s Darren Bennet who sadly and suddenly passed away in January.

On to the main event with Mr Bishop announcing that membership of the Institute continues to grow, now over 400 qualified individuals. “One worrying statistic is that there are certain individuals within that membership who have not undertaken any form of CPD and we will be writing to them to ask them to rectify this.” Mr Bishop commented. On a more upbeat note, the success of the collaboration between the University of Wolverhampton and the IDE to bring the first Demolition Degree forward was noted as a great triumph for the industry.

Opening the event were Richard Dolman and Patricia Sloneczny from AR Demolition Ltd carrying on from Gary Bishop’s praise of the degree course. Both Dolman and Sloneczny are studying the course and wanted to get across to the attendees the benefits of undertaking the degree. “It’s not just good for personal development, but the knowledge gathered on the course benefits everyone.” Mr Dolman commented “It has taken a long time to get to this position and the course will only see it benefit the professionalism of the whole industry bringing us in-line with other professional bodies.” The first intake of students is now into their second year with a full intake of students about to start their studies. Mrs Sloneczny spoke about her challenges and doubts over her personal ability for taking the course; something she said that was quickly dispelled. “It was a big leap to start the degree as neither myself, or Richard are academically minded. We have both found the course to be extremely fulfilling and rewarding.” Mr Dolman finished off by saying that many potential students were put off by the potential costs of studying but this shouldn’t be a barrier as the grants which are available will cover the tuition fees.

A step away from demolition came with second speaker, Bob Woosnam-Savage. The curator of armour and edged weapons gave a very interesting and sometimes gory description of the potential death of Richard III. The last king of the House of York was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field and it was the work of Woosnam-Savage that discovered the savage killing of the last of the Plantagenet dynasty.

As one of the largest demolition contractors in the UK, Erith Group has undertaken some impressive and complex projects, one of them being their recent completion of the former cinema complex at London’s Marble Arch. Operations Director Grant Styles took to the stage to speak about the company’s methodology to safely dismantle what was once the largest single screen cinema in the country. Faced with large amounts of asbestos and large cantilevered concrete beams, Mr Styles spoke about the immense input from the structural engineering team at Swanton whose work to design the safe methods of propping to both the structure during the demolition work and the surrounding busy London streets enabled the team to deliver another successful project.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme was next on the agenda with David Watson representing the Scheme talking about the importance of companies portraying a project to a certain level. “Everyone thinks of the construction industry as a dirty one, something it certainly isn’t these days.” Mr Watson said “We need to change perceptions in a bid to attract new people into the industry and to promote the good work our members do.” Mr Watson spoke about the positive impact and high standards achieved by its members and was very keen to work alongside IDE member companies.

Unfortunately, NFDC CEO Howard Button was unable to make the event to talk about the recent and upcoming changes to the CCDO card scheme. A worthy substitute in the NDTG’s Iain Kirk who spoke about the issues facing the demolition industry over the changes. Advice was given on the Go-Smart app which provides the capability to read both physical and virtual CSCS/CCDO cards. The conclusion of Mr Kirk’s presentation focused on the forthcoming Trailblazer Scheme and the acceptance of the NFDC/NDTG into becoming an approved supplier to the Armed Forces.

Following lunch, regular seminar speaker and author Sarah Fox spoke about the intricacies and importance of the NEC4 form of contract. Offering detailed and invaluable advice on following procedures of this popular form of contract to the audience, Ms Fox spoke at length about the importance of understanding the obligations of a contractor to communicate effectively, responsibly and in a timely fashion to avoid issues further down the line.

Sardinia was the next stop with RVA’s Ian Wharton detailing the company’s involvement with the demolition of a power station on the island. Working alongside a variety of nationalities, dealing with environmental constraints and the issue of working within an area not used to explosive demolition and its capabilities. Mr Wharton concluded by saying that the contract was completed to the full satisfaction of all interested parties.

Concluding the day’s events was Gillian Elvy, Membership Manager North for the Institute of Civil Engineers. Speaking about the need for professionals to be able to promote and shout about their qualifications, Mrs Elvy called on individuals working within the demolition environment to work towards a professional qualification, something that the degree courses are able to offer. “There is a need for the industry to have confidence in an individual’s competence within their given field.”

The Institute of Demolition Engineers would like to thank the speakers and the many trade members who took the time to attend the event and look forward to welcoming everyone at Demo Expo at the Herts Showground on the 4th to the 6th of July and to One Great George Street, London for the Autumn Seminar on the 26th of September.

Author and Photography: RPA Photography

Presidents Charity: Niemann-Pick UK Receive Generous Contribution

The IDE President, Gary Bishop FIDE and Erith Contractor’s Managing Director and IDE Immediate Past-President, David Darsey FIDE, met with David Roberts on 8th February 2019 to personally present two cheques to Niemann-Pick UK.

The Niemann-Pick UK charity works closely with families and individuals living with Niemann-Pick and helps them manage this life-limiting disease.  The Niemann-Pick diseases are a group of rare lysosomal storage disorders that can affect both children and adults.  David Darsey has been personally affected by Niemann-Pick for the past 2 years following the birth of his granddaughter, Nancy, in November 2016.  Shortly after Nancy’s birth, the Darsey  family received the devastating news that she had been diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C.  David has since gone to great lengths to raise money for NPUK and increase awareness of this rare and heart-breaking disease.

In June 2018, David hosted a fundraiser for NPUK, Nancy’s Night Out, in homage to his granddaughter.  The event was a huge success, raising significant funds through ticket sales, auctions and generous donations which will be used to provide care and support to families in need.

David Roberts, Trustee at NPUK, visited the Erith office in London where both David Darsey and Gary Bishop presented him with two cheques.  the first was on behalf of Erith Contractors Ltd for the sum of £64,000.oo raised at Nancy’s Night Out.  The second was on behalf of the IDE who generously contributed an additional £5,000.00 to this worthy cause raised from the raffle and auction at the IDE Annual Lunch in November 2018.

David Darsey and the whole Darsey Family would like to express their gratitude to David Roberts for taking the time to visit their offices and for all the hard work he and NPUK carry out.

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AGM and Annual Lunch 2018

Drapers Hall was the location for the 2018 Institute of Demolition Engineers AGM and Annual Luncheon.

Yet again, the event was another sell out and marked the end of David Darsey’s two-year reign as IDE President who handed over the President’s chain to Gary Bishop.

The day’s proceedings commenced with Mr Darsey thanking the Council of Management and the staff at Eagle Court along with his colleagues at Erith for their help and support throughout his term as President. Mr Darsey went on to say that he was extremely proud to have been President at a time when the Institute has seen a rise in membership along with the delivery of the Demolition Degree course with the University of Wolverhampton. An area Mr Darsey holds close to his heart is the generous nature of the Membership and the NFDC who in total have raised £20,000 for Niemann Pick UK and £30,000 for the Helen Allison School, two charities closely associated with the outgoing President. In conclusion, Mr Darsey said that he hoped he had done the post justice throughout his term in office and wished the Institute the very best for the future. Mr Darsey’s final act as President was to present David Sinclair with an Honorary Fellowship of the Institute for his services to the demolition industry worldwide. Mr Sinclair collected his award before thanking the Institute and his compatriots for their development and advancement of the industry and in bringing it to where it is today.

The finances of the Institute were then delivered by Erith’s Stuart Accleton who was again appointed as Treasurer. Reporting that the Institute is in a good financial position thanks to sell-out Spring and Autumn Seminars, Mr Accleton went on to announce a steady increase in membership applications along with existing members applying to upgrade their examinations much sooner than before.

Dr Terry Quarmby gave a brief overview of the position of the Demolition Degree before announcing that the Council of Management has been in discussions over a potential course for senior management within the industry covering health and safety and corporate management topics, to name but a few.

National Secretary and Events Director, Maureen Tong-Ralphs was on hand to announce the results of the latest election for Council Members. This year’s voting was again low on numbers, an issue talked about later within the meeting. With Adrian McLean and Mick Ulyatt stepping aside from the Council, the electorate voted for Richard Dolman to become the new Vice President whilst Erith’s Grant Styles was voted onto the Council for the first time. Both Mr McLean and Mr Ulyatt were thanked for their long and distinguished service to the Council of Management.

To read the full minutes taken at the meeting click hereAGM-minutes-2018

Before the meeting closed for lunch, incoming President Gary Bishop thanked everyone for their attendance at the event and thanked David Darsey for his hard work and commitment to the Institute throughout his term in office and spoke of his pride in following him through the NFDC Presidency and into the IDE.

Following on from the luncheon in the beautiful Livery Hall, presentations were made to over 30 Members of the Institute who had recently passed their examinations. A special presentation was made by Adrian McLean to out-going President David Darsey in the shape of a commemorative, framed and signed photograph of Tiger Woods. A special presentation was also given to David Coleman for his work within the industry.

As is tradition at the luncheon, the after dinner raffle and £20 in an envelope showed the Member’s generosity to the full and raised over £2000 for NPUK which will be supported in his first year as President by Gary Bishop. A charity auction for a number of highly sought after items including Premiership match day tickets and a ceramic poppy raised added over £3000 to the already generous donations made by the guests.

Both the incoming and outgoing Presidents also thanked the sponsors of the year’s events for their generosity including ECY Haulmark, Erith, Square Mile Broking, Swanton Consulting and Worsley Plant.

Author and Photography courtesy of Paul Argent, RPA Photography.

The content of this article represents the personal views of the author and nothing is to be taken as representing the views, opinions, policy or position of any other persons or organisations mentioned herein or of the Institute of Demolition Engineers.

IDE Regional Meeting: Dublin 7th November 2018

In conjunction with the World Demolition Awards being held at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on the following evening Wednesday 07 November saw the latest IDE Regional Meeting held at The Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin.

Organiser Adrian McLean FIDE of Armac Group invited IDE members to join Demolition Engineers, from around the World who were attending the Awards event, at the meeting to discuss all things demolition related as well as listening to presentations on bridge removal, top down demolition, health & safety issues and explosive demolition.

IDE President David Darsey FIDE thanked the sponsors, ECY Haulmark, Worsley Plant and Rammer/Murray Plant before welcoming over 40 delegates to the meeting and said he was delighted to see guests from Australia and Canada in the room, before apologising for changes to the event as original speakers were now unable to attend. David then introduced the first presentation of the afternoon by Eamonn McCormack MIDE who gave an excellent talk about a recent project at Metropolitan College, Belfast which started out as a standard “top down” demolition but quickly changed as work progressed when structural issues were found within the building that forced a complete rethink and a major change of method.

Next up was John Woodward FIDE who gave a brief talk about “Hidden Killers” including Asbestos, Silica, Lead, Anthrax, Aspergillus and Nano Particles. The mention of Aspergillus lead to some discussion in the room about the type of structures that could contain Aspergillus spores and how people with a low immune system could be seriously affected and there was some surprise that the spores kill over 4000 people a year in the UK. The final section on Nano Particles also lead to discussion with Dr. Terry Quarmby FIDE giving an excellent insight into how the particles are currently used and what issues may occur with them during demolition in the future.

Ryan Priestly from Priestly Demolition in Canada then stood up to talk about their contract to demolish Port Hope Bridge in Ontario that was shortlisted in the World Demolition Awards Civils category on the following day. The excellent video used in the presentation included news footage from the bridge failure and extensive footage of the actual demolition using large machines and attachments to achieve a successful outcome. Following the video Ryan took questions from the floor about working on the project and in Canada. David Darsey then thanked Ryan for taking the time to both attend the IDE meeting and to deliver such a quality presentation.

Dr. Terry Quarmby then took a few minutes to outline how IDE have moved forward over the last few years with education of demolition managers and engineers with the introduction of the MSc in Demolition Management in conjunction with The University of Wolverhampton and now the Foundation Degree delivered by IDE on a monthly basis in a format agreed and endorsed by the University that will see our profession elevated to a higher education level giving ever more credibility to the industry and demolition practitioners. Terry encouraged IDE members to enrol on the fully funded Foundation Degree before taking questions from the floor as to how to enrol and, whether the Foundation Degree can be done by distance learning to allow interested parties from around the World to take up places on the course. Terry stated that as now there is no distance learning option but he fully expected that to become an option over the next few years.

The final presentation of the afternoon saw John Woodward return to talk about 13 years of demolition of towerblocks in Glasgow using high reach, top down, “Top Down Way” and explosives with the presentation ending with demolition featured in a Hollywood film as John played the closing credits of “Trainspotting Two” that has the credits rolling over black and white footage of the Glasgow explosive demolitions of those 13 years.

David Darsey thanked the sponsors again and the presenters before Adrian invited everyone to join him later that evening after the Awards Cocktail Reception at FX Buckley steakhouse where over 40 people enjoyed great food, Guinness and demolition chat until the early hours.


John Woodward FIDE, RMaPS, FICM, FILM, MEFEE, IDE Past President
C&D Demolition Consultants Ltd and C&D Consultancy.

The content of this article represents the personal views of the author and nothing is to be taken as representing the views, opinions, policy or position of any other persons or organisations mentioned herein or of the Institute of Demolition Engineers. 

Autumn Seminar 2018

One Great George Street was again the venue for the 2018 IDE Autumn Seminar.

The stunning location, home to the Institute of Civil Engineers welcomed a packed house for a day of industry talks.

Hosting his final Seminar, IDE President David Darsey welcomed everyone before delivering news that two long-standing Members of the Council Of Management were stepping aside at the forthcoming AGM. Both Mick Ulyatt and Adrian McLean were thanked for their hard work and dedication to the Institute and their presence will be missed immensely. Mr Darsey went on to congratulate and thank all of the IDE Members for their help and assistance in raising funds for his chosen charity, Niemann Pick UK to the tune of £20,000.

Before the listed speakers commenced, Mr Darsey asked Dr Terry Quarmby to bring the audience up to date with the ongoing collaboration with the University of Wolverhampton. According to Dr Quarmby, the first year’s students are progressing very well with the second intake, commencing October 2018, fully subscribed. “There has been a great response to the courses being offered.” Dr Quarmby explained “What used to be seen as a black art, is now seen as a science.”

The first speaker of the day was Paul Delderfield one of only four Specialist Inspector of Health and Safety for the HSE. Mr Delderfield is responsible for looking after issues of noise and vibration and spoke at length about the issues facing contractors on monitoring HAVS (Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome) within the industry.

Next to take to the stage was Swantest’s Conor McHugh a civil engineer with vast experience in construction and demolition projects. Mr McHugh delivered a talk on load testing of various floor types to allow contractors to design specific methods of floor by floor demolition works. Mr McHugh spoke about Swantest’s capabilities in delivering accurate test results for different materials and designs of structure and the ability to safely test the strain and deflection of a floor giving the demolition contractor a true and accurate figure instead of relying on potentially incorrect drawings and specifications.

The final speaker for the early shift was ABB’s Stephen Andrew who offered the packed auditorium a detailed analysis on how to increase safety and reduce potential costs on demolition projects through properly managing risk. “Removing the myth that many clients think that demolition is just construction in reverse would be a great start.” Mr Andrew explained “Along with removing the clause that the contractor accepts all risk on a project would be an even better outcome.” Rounding off, Mr Andrew explained that the ideal solution to a demolition contract would be that when signing off designs for a particular building, they took into consideration its future demolition.

The late morning presentations were commenced with an interesting talk on the World War Two defences erected along the south coast of England. Mark Harrison of Historic England described his and his team’s task to track down and identify buildings built to defend the UK from Hilter’s potential invasion. Mr Harrison spoke about the construction and subsequent demolition of many of the wartime structures which led to the financial ruin of a number of contractors under-estimating the demolition works.

AR Demolition’s Richard Dolman completed the morning’s presentations with an interesting talk on the demolition of the Broadmarsh car park in Nottingham city centre. The congested and difficult location forced Mr Dolman’s team to look at alternative methods of demolition due to the location of the project which was surrounded by various bridges, subways and busy roads as well as having a number of properties remaining live within the building as it was to be demolished. The technicalities of demolishing the structure involved the AR Demolition team commissioning and using a mobile hoarding system to ensure debris remained within the site and the use of a bespoke tele-handler mounted dust suppression system which enabled the site team to complete the project without a single complaint of dust from the surrounding businesses or public.

Following on from lunch the first speakers to take the stage were Jim O’Sullivan and David Rowe from Keltbray. Their topic was a continuation of a previous IDE Seminar discussion, the demolition of Earls Court in London. Following on from the previous presentation on the project both Mr O’Sullivan went into detail about one of the most complex portions of the redevelopment of the site, the removal of over 60 large concrete beams which spanned at various locations, the numerous London Underground tunnels bisecting the site. The largest of these beams, nicknamed Big Bertha was almost 40m in length and weighed in excess of 1400 tonnes and the initial thought of the demolition team was to cut each beam into chunks of approximately 20 tonnes before removing them with a small crane. This idea was shelved due to the projected 3-year duration of the work and instead Keltbray contracted ALE and the world’s largest crane to lift the beams out whole. From the detailed preparation on the ground to the dealings with train operators, the introduction of the crane shaved almost two thirds of the previous methods time away. Although not revealing the cost of hiring the crane, the Keltbray duo were very open and honest in their extremely interesting presentation which was very well received by the packed afternoon auditorium.

Noise, vibration and dust monitoring was the topic from the next speaker, Campbell Associates’ John Campbell. The issues associated with accurate monitoring and recording of these issues associated with almost every demolition project were highlighted by Mr Campbell who described the methodology and technology behind the gathering and recording of this information. One area of particular interest being highlighted was that of ensuring background checks are undertaken and recorded prior to works commencing on site.

The day’s final speaker was Andun’s Angus Holdsworth who gave a presentation on the delivery of two complicated rail projects in London at Manor Park and Highbury Corner. Talking about the problems encountered working in an extremely tight location at Manor Park, Mr Holdsworth spoke about the difficulties of stationing a 500t capacity crane close to a retaining wall in order to lift sections of overhead walkways situated directly above the electrified lines used to power the trains. The second project involved the demolition of the bridge which carries the A1 over the London Underground line at Highbury Corner. The bridge, constructed in the 1850s was of poor condition when the team commenced work on the delicate job to remove it.

Rounding off the day, David Darsey thanked everyone for their attendance and reminded them of their need to vote in the upcoming IDE elections, the results of which will be announced at the forthcoming AGM and Luncheon to be held at Draper’s Hall, London on the 16th of November.

Author and Photography courtesy of Paul Argent, RPA Photography.

The content of this article represents the personal views of the author and nothing is to be taken as representing the views, opinions, policy or position of any other persons or organisations mentioned herein or of the Institute of Demolition Engineers.

Autumn Seminar Bookings Update

IDE and NFDC London & Southern Counties Golf Day 2018

On Friday 7th September this year’s Golf Day took place at the prestigious London Golf Club.  28 Golfers with a mixture of handicaps took to the international course, in good weather conditions, to compete for a variety of prizes.

Individual Winner: John Faulkner (right)

Individual Runner up Guy Barker

Team Event Winners

The individual winner was John Faulkner with 45 points just beating the runner up Guy Barker who finished with 41 points.   The team event was won by Mark Jack’s team with 126 points with the runner-up team close behind on 124 points.

Longest Driver: Stephen O’Loughlin

Nearest the Pin: Colin Knight

Longest Driver was won (dubiously) by Stephen O’Loughlin and Nearest the Pin was won by Colin Knight.

A huge thank you to our sponsors, Erith Contractors and Worsley Plant whose support ensured the success of this event.

Erith Group Congratulates Apprenticeship Graduates

Last month saw two Erith Group Demolition Apprentices complete their training to become fully qualified Demolition Operatives.

Afeez Bashiru and Harry Tetsill are currently involved with the regeneration scheme at the Aylesbury Estate in South London.  For the past two years, they have both been working towards their NVQ Level 2 qualification, gaining valuable experience and knowledge from Erith’s site personnel.

Their hard work paid off last month when they both received their NVQ qualification.  Their Project Manager, members of Erith’s senior management and representatives of Notting Hill Genesis, their client at Aylsbury Estate, surprised them on-site with personalised cakes and a well-deserved tea-break in the midst of the August heat-wave.

Steve Bennett, Project Manager at the Aylesbury Estate, commented: “Both Afeez and Harry have proven themselves to be extremely eager and hard-working individuals.  Their hunger and ambition to progress in the industry has been evident from the day they started on site, and it has been a pleasure seeing them progress and having them in my team.  I am proud to see them achieve their qualification and look forward to continuing to work with them going forward”.

Author: Adam James, Assistant Bid Manager, Erith Group

The content of this article represents the personal views of the author and nothing is to be taken as representing the views, opinions, policy or position of any other persons or organisations mentioned herein or of the Institute of Demolition Engineers. 


Andrew Dale Glides Over Wales

Erith’s Industrial Demolition Proposals Director, Andrew Dale FIDE, recently took to the skies of Wales in aid of the Stroke Association.

On July 27th 2018, Andrew left the relative safety and security atop the 370 metre-deep Penrhyn Quarry in North Wales and glided down the over mile long pit, reaching a speed in excess of 100mph.  Strapped to the zip-wire in a horizontal harness and with a camera fastened to his precautionary helmet, Andrew soared the length of the quarry in under 60 seconds, with remarkable views of the 500-million-year-old slate and lake below.

This was not Andrew’s first charitable adventure.  On his 50th birthday, Andrew parted company with an air-plane over the fields of Hibaldstow, Lincolnshire, parachuting down to earth and raising over £2,000.00 for charity in the process.

This years expedition was in support of the Stroke Association, a charity with significant importance to Andrew.  In 2015, Andrew’s Mother, Isabel, suffered a stroke and tragically lost her life the following year in the aftermath.  The Stroke Association is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to stroke sufferers.  Their focus is on providing the best possible treatment to those who suffer a stroke, and ultimately preventing strokes from occurring at all.  With over 100,000 strokes occurring in the UK every year, it is the fourth largest cause of death in the country.

Andrew managed to raise £2,000.00 for the charity, with generous donations coming in from friends, family and colleagues.  The money will be put to use by the Stroke Association in providing care and support to stroke sufferers, continue their research into finding improved treatments and expanding their network of services across the UK.

After completing his brief venture into aviation, Andrew commented “I am extremely thankful for the donations that have been sent in form everyone so far.  The Stroke Association is a worthy charity that is close to my heart.  I have seen first-hand the devastation a stroke can have on someone’s life after my late Mother suffered her stroke in 2015.  The fact is that even those who survive a stroke often have to try and rebuild their lives around the lasting damage it causes.  This charity does tremendous work in helping sufferers do just that and enable them to live a more comfortable life.  With regards to the zip-wire itself it was a great experience.  However, being suspended above what is essentially a giant hole was truly frightening!”

Andrew is still receiving donations for his endeavour via his Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andrew-dale5

Author: Alison Gardner, Business Development Manager, Erith Contractors Ltd

The content of this article represents the personal views of the author and nothing is to be taken as representing the views, opinions, policy or position of any other persons or organisations mentioned herein or of the Institute of Demolition Engineers. 


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