One Great George Street was host to the IDE’s Autumn Seminar again with the prestigious venue being booked up weeks in advance for yet another interesting event.

Welcoming guests to the auditorium, IDE President Gary Bishop FIDE, asked attendees to stand for a minute’s silence in remembrance of Total Reclaims’ Joe Childs who sadly passed away recently.

Usually presiding over the Institute’s accounts, The Erith Groups Stuart Accleton FIDE was the opening speaker for the day. Stuart delivered a message to Members on the importance of CPD and the need to ensure that any hours accrued during the year are collated by the Institute to give Members a true record of their development. As the Institute is audited by the Engineering Council, it is necessary for records to be updated regularly to keep your membership compliant.

With mental health rightly being a hot topic within the industry of late, Morgan Sindall’s SHE Director Martin Hall took to the stage to speak about the massive issue facing the demolition and wider construction industry. “1-in-4 will suffer from mental health issues.” Martin commented before going on to say that the industry will clamp down on people caught in random drug and alcohol tests whilst not discovering the reasons behind their use as both substances are used predominately by sufferers to self-medicate. The latest figures for deaths in the construction industry stands at 43 in 2016, workers are 15 times more likely to take their own lives which actually equates to a staggering 454 workers from the construction industry passing away in 2016, the first-year figures were collated. If these figures were included in the statistics, the HSE wold close the industry down immediately according to Martin who closed his talk by urging the industry to commit to making a difference. Martin Hall Mental Health

Ryan Noon from Howard Stott Demolition spoke about his company’s contract to demolish a fire damaged car park at the M&S Arena in Liverpool. The structure had been extensively damaged by an intense car fire with many of the floors inaccessible due to their dilapidated state. From the initial enquiry from one of their regular clients to the issues with potentially contaminated material from the building, the Stott team were thrown a number of curve balls including the need to keep certain areas of the structure open, dealing with apartments and a hotel a few metres from the structure and the requirement to remove the source car and others safely and securely all within a small working area littered with underground services and access tunnels. Ryan Noon Echo Arena Car Park 2

Jon Miller, Solicitor and Partner at Fenwick Elliott LLP commenced the late morning session with a talk on the importance of reading, understanding and following to the letter any form of contract a company enters into. Jon recounted a number of cases where the description laid out in a contract was deemed to be onerous on either party. Contract disputes are often over payments and Jon explained that the simple rule of thumb is that when an application for payment is received it should be read, understood and either a payment or a pay less notice issued. “Many contractors say they never have the time, but just by doing this, you can save yourself a fortune should a dispute be entered into.” Jon left the audience with these words echoing in their ears; “Contract, contract, contract, always read the contract.” Jon Miller Fenwick Elliott Legal Update

NFDC CEO Howard Button FIDE came to the stage with a plea for Members to send him wood samples. Not by the skip load that many hoped for, but samples of older timber from properties being demolished. The Environment Agency are on a crusade to classify waste wood as a hazardous product which will incur massive onward costs to the demolition industry having to find alternative waste receivers for the 250,000 tonnes of material produced annually by just NFDC member companies. “We have had a small number of samples sent in.” Howard explained “But, the EA require us to test in the region of 300 per category and we need your assistance to do this before they load us with additional charges.” Howard Button 2019-09-27 Wood Waste IDE Seminar

The afternoon session started with a change of speaker with Back to Back Production’s Nigel Gainsborough talking about the making of the hit tv programme Scrap Kings which airs on Quest. Nigel spoke about the way his filming teams interact and produce the show which documents the trials and tribulations of a number of high-profile demolition contractors undertaking interesting projects around the UK.

Long-term IDE Member, Bruce Atkinson took to the stage to talk about his long career in the industry with a look at the methods of demolition and deconstruction carried out for a number of Yorkshire based companies he has been employed by. From battleships to power stations, Bruce has made a career out of demolishing and recycling some impressive structures throughout his 60 years in the industry and spoke about how at points the Government controlled where scrap went, how costs of living and working have changes and how health and safety has made a huge impact on the industry. Bruce Atkinson

The CCS has been running for over 20 years and Mike Petter was the penultimate speaker of the day taking the stage to speak about the benefits the scheme has to offer contractors. Mike spoke about the changes in perception from the public to construction sites and the professional looking image many of them now portray. Mike also added that the demolition industry is quickly realising the benefits of the scheme with a dedicated Recognised Constructor badge specifically tailored for the industry. Mike Petter CCS Is Image Everything

The final presentation was from Gilpin’s Duncan Rudall FIDE and Richard Taffs from Teignmouth Maritime Services who spoke about the challenging removal of portions of a World War Two gun emplacement on a cliff side in Guernsey. The complex project involved the hand and explosive demolition of the concrete and stone structure to stop it falling into the sea, damaging the cliffs and potentially taking some of the existing heritage structure with it.  Working with Autostem to loosen the material, the structure was made safe with the aid of hand demolition working by a team of experienced abseiliers.

The Institute would like to extend their thanks to everyone who attended the event and to our exhibitors; ANV Measurement Systems, BPH Attachments, Campbell Associates, Caterpillar, ECY Haulmark, Liebherr Great Britain, National Federation of Demolition Contractors and Worsley Plant.

Author and Photography: RPA Photography