Over 200 members and non-members of the Institute of Demolition Engineers gathered at the dockside in Leeds for the annual Spring Seminar held at the Royal Armouries.

Bill Firth

The institute’s first main event of 2024 saw a packed schedule of speakers covering topics as diverse as demolition techniques, sustainability, planning, requirements for Site welfare facilities and health and safety, site audits and inspections.

First to speak was Bill Firth of the EMR Group, who discussed reuseable steel and how demolition experts can collaborate with experts like him and his company. Bill has been instrumental in developing the reusable steel business in the UK and his talk described how contractors can maximise cost-effective recovery, as well as the potential carbon reductions.

The delegates then heard from Chris Holland of Richter Associates and Josh Scriven of AR Demolition. They talked the audience through the technical challenges of removing a 1950s bridge across the River Tame, including complex restrictions around environmental constraints.

Emma Willey

Emma Willey of ACS Learning and Consultancy spoke on the history of shipping in the Clyde area of Scotland, the use of asbestos and the challenges it poses for the demolition industry. The so-called White Mice Men of the Clyde received massive exposure to asbestos fibres which was heavily used for engine room insulation during the later part of the area’s historic shipping industry.

Mark Davison

After a break for coffee, Robyn Rushforth of the Precision Demolition Company discussed a recent project which was the explosive demolition of the blast furnace structure at the former steelworks in Redcar, North Yorkshire. The presentation provided an insight into some of the unique challenges on the project, including a 80mm thick steel shell, solid iron in the base of the blast furnace and the generally dilapidated condition of the overall structure.

Matt Greenly

Next up was Mark Davison, who described the intricacies of demolishing a multi-storey car park with façade retention in what will become the new Pilgrim’s Quarter development in Newcastle’s city centre. The project was managed by MGL group, which operates across the northeast of England and was originally set up by Mark’s grandfather.


John Gossage

The last talk before lunch was by Matt Greenly, HM Inspector of Health and Safety, leading on construction welfare and demolition. He gave a talk about the revised HSE OG Guidance relating to Site welfare facilities, stressing the importance of properly looking after all site employees, coming from the position of someone involved in regulatory support and topic-specific expertise to the inspectorate.
Lunch in Royal Armouries Hall was followed by the afternoon session.

Michelle and Isobel

After lunch John Gossage, Principal Designer Health & Safety with Rider Levett Bucknall, advised delegates on his extensive knowledge of the demolition industry relating to health and safety, site audits and inspections.

The final speaker was former barrister Janine Banks of Stage Planning Conditions, who offered a presentation discussing planning and the permission-based system in the context of demolition, as well as an in-depth appraisal of the relevant legal framework.

Thanks are due to all our speakers and the event exhibitors: the NFDC, Worsley Plant Ltd, Campell Associates, International Marketers, ECY Haulmark, Blue Machinery, BPH Attachments, Mesothelioma UK, Hitachi Construction Machinery, Andun Engineering Consultants, Demarec UK and Liebherr.


Video footage of the event