In the first Institute of Demolition Engineers AGM and Annual Luncheon since 2019, due to last year’s event being cancelled, members met to network and socialise and discuss the Institute’s achievements over the past two years.

The stunning venue of One Great George Street in central London, also home of the Institution of Civil Engineers, was filled with 170 Demolition and associated industry professionals, alongside special guest speaker and former rugby international John Bentley.

The luncheon followed the AGM, chaired by IDE President Richard Dolman FIDE in his first year in the role since taking over from Gary Bishop FIDE.

Mr Dolman discussed progress within the Institute on education and training, urging all members to get involved in talks and seminars so expertise can be shared throughout the membership.

“It’s been a privilege and honour to be your President for the last year, and my thanks go out to everyone who has supported me during the past year, which hasn’t been an easy period,” he said.  “Despite last year not being ideal financially, we are confident that it’s just been a blip caused by the pandemic. Fortunately, and thanks to the Council of Management’s prudence, we have been able to weather the storm with minimal impact. The IDE is benefitting from a good amount of new and often young candidates joining the membership, which is really encouraging.

“I’m pleased to announce that the second intake of the Foundation Degree is now complete, with a third intake well underway and the fourth intake scheduled to start in March 2022.

“The third intake of the MSc is also underway and I’d like to thank Dr Terry Quarmby for his work on both degrees, after his efforts to get them going. I’d also like to thank Stephen McCann FIDE for his huge efforts in the development and delivery of the Foundation degree.  I personally feel that education is a massive part of the future of our industry, and I’d like to encourage more people to get involved. Make no bones about it – the degrees are being recognised by clients and stakeholders involved in the demolition process. We as an industry should be proud of the academic standing that we now have. The more we can get behind it, by getting people on the courses, the better.”

Mr Dolman also reported the encouraging news that many members are now sitting exams, and that more than 100 people have achieved different IDE grades of membership and degree levels this year. A graduation event is planned for the Leeds seminar at the Royal Armouries in February 2022.

He encouraged people to take up paid opportunities to talk at seminars about case studies, projects and innovations to publicise their achievements and share best practice.

Mr Dolman also confirmed positive conversations and new links forged with stakeholders and the Royal Institute of British Architects, to discuss the misunderstanding of the carbon footprint of the demolition industry and to find constructive, collaborative ways forward.

CPD requirements will recommence in January 2022, with 15 new short talks, online events available from the beginning of the year. Sponsorship is being sought, to support these talks which will be free of charge to members of the IDE. Organising regional meetings will also be a priority for next year, with members across the UK urged to support them by offering talks, articles and papers for discussion.

Members are also reminded that IDE subscription costs are personal payments and members are urged to pay promptly and not rely on their employers to pay for them.

Mr Dolman also announced plans to develop a best practice and lessons learned forum in partnership with the NFDC, as well as filming and archiving all seminars so they can be accessed by all members.

 “Richard Dolman’s doing a great job. People must understand that the Institute has struggled over the past 18 months like everyone else. Now we’re at the start of a new chapter. We need to focus on raising standards throughout the industry. We’re stepping up the plate with education. And we need to emphasise how much we recycle – it’s something we’ve been doing since the Second World War.” Gary Bishop FIDE, Past President of the IDE

Stuart Accleton, who has announced he will stand down as Honorary Treasurer next year after 14 years in the role, confirmed that although “a difficult year for everyone” had left a deficit in the accounts, compared to a surplus the year before, the resumption of seminars and education was the focus of new revenue streams.

Membership, he said, has fallen from 388 in April this year, from 421 the previous year, largely due to retiring members and situations related to the pandemic.

Following the AGM, members enjoyed a three-course lunch followed by an entertaining talk by John Bentley, who represented England and Great Britain in both rugby codes.

Two notable awards were given to members. Howard Button, Chief Executive Officer of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors, was made an Honorary Fellow of the Institute. And Jennifer Atkinson, Administration Assistant at The Comley Group, was announced as winner of the Best Paper Award for 2021. Congratulations to both.

“We need to think about climate change and sustainability. Demolition is not dead; it will never stop as everything, ultimately, has an end of life. But it’s changing. We are a progressive industry and we need to use our expertise to influence the construction industry, to help them avoid building structures with a reduced recycling index. Collaboration with architects is key.” Howard Button Hon.FIDE, CEO NFDC

The Institute would like to extend its thanks to the event sponsors Inmalo, Worsley Plant, BPH Attachments and AR Demolition, along with the kindness of everyone who donated raffle prizes, including QMSC and Armac Group, with proceeds donated to the Alzheimer’s Society which is the President’s Charity for 2020-22.

Author:  Rupert Janisch, Turn the Tables. Photographs courtesy of Rupert Janisch

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.