The 44th Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Demolition Engineers was held, for the first time ever, by Zoom Video Conference on the 27th of November 2020.

Thanks to the impact of the Covid pandemic, and the cancellation of almost the entire year’s diary of events, the Council of Management took the decision to carry on with the internet based event.

The AGM saw President Gary Bishop step aside, with Richard Dolman taking over the Presidency for the forthcoming two years.  In thanking the Council of Management, Membership and the staff at Eagle Court for their help and assistance over the past two years, Bishop said he was upset that the year which started off with great expectations and optimism for the industry has ended in such a way. He went on to add that despite an excellent Spring Seminar at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, the remainder of the year’s events had been cancelled or transferred to virtual meetings, thankfully with great success. Bishop spoke of two major retirements from the Institutes Council with Terry Quarmby and David Darsey stepping away from their duties. Bishop was quick to thank the long-term veterans of the Institute for all of their hard work in pushing both the Institute and the wider demolition world onto bigger and better things.

On the subject of membership, Bishop was disappointed that the year hadn’t seen an increase in membership but in a sentiment echoed by by many within the industry, he was very pleased with the ongoing Foundation and Masters degrees, congratulation everyone who had successfully completed both courses.

Gary also welcomed back Maureen Tong-Ralphs to the part time position of National Secretary saying that her return to the fold whilst living in France was working out very well.

In closing, Bishop said it was an honour and a privilege to have served the Institute and offered his full support as outgoing President to his successor.

With many events cancelled and the possibility of Leeds in 2021 suffering the same fate, Treasurer Stuart Accleton spoke about a drop in the financial reserves of the Institute. Despite the reduction in income over the past year, Accleton was buoyant about the overall financial status of the Institute. With the impact of the pandemic hitting the industry, Accleton advised the Zoom audience that there will be no increase in membership fees for 2021. Accleton was also keen to alay member’s fears over the inability to gain CPD hours this year saying that concessions have been made with a review to take place at the first Council of Management meeting in 2021.

Incoming President Richard Dolman spoke about the huge success over the last 12 months for the Institute and the wider demolition industry with the Foundation and Masters degree courses. With the retirement of Dr Terry Quarmby from the Institute, Dolman announced that Stephen McCann will be stepping in to take over the educational role left by Quarmby. Dolman also said that the next cohort of students will be insitu by March with the course initially taking place online. It was also announced that the Institute will offer bursaries for both the Foundation and Masters courses next year. Dolman also spoke of the potential to offer shorter training courses with the emphasis on upskilling the existing demolition workforce.

There was a call for members to submit their work for the Best Paper award with the Institute offering a prize of £500 for the winner. The submitted papers will also be used to build a library of knowledge within the industry.

Whilst the recent US elections caused all sorts of controversy, the recent IDE elections went without a hitch with Richard Dolman succeeding Gary Bishop in the President’s seat. Vernon Watson was elected as Vice President whilst Howard Button, Toby Comley,  Duncan Rudall, Grant Styles  and Stephen McCann were elected to the committee. Stuart Accleton was again elected as treasurer.

Following a virtual swapping of the Presidential chain, Richard Dolman spoke about the impact the virus has had on both private and professional lives over the past year. He said he was extremely proud of the way the industry has responded and adapted under the circumstances enabling work to carry on  under constantly changing rules. For 2021 Dolman spoke about the need to collaborate and continue to improve standards across the industry. Whilst the diary for 2021 is still to be confirmed, Dolman spoke about further online discussions which had proved popular during the lockdown period. The call for potential speakers for these events was also made with Dolman reminding the membership that the Institute is happy to pay for the speaker’s services. Despite the ongoing success of the Foundation and Masters degree courses, there was a call to promote the courses outside the industry within personal networks and to schools and colleges with the need to communicate the benefits of a career within the industry. Dolman also called for more transparency and honesty within the demolition industry as a whole with a call for more sharing of information on near misses, incident reporting and best practices. He went on to say that he would like to explore the possibility of a forum for the confidential sharing of this information.

Rounding off his address Dolman thanked outgoing President Gary Bishop for captaining the ship over the last two years with a call to attract the best talent to the industry. “There is experience and knowledge in our Institute which you simply cannot find anywhere else and I would like to see that promoted more widely.”

Minutes of the Meeting are available here: AGM-minutes-2020

To listen to a recording of the Meeting click here: