Clearance of war time prefabricated bungalows was now becoming a requisite of society; new affordable accommodation was required and expected. The Prefab was dismantled and removed from its concrete base, then usually exported overseas.
The concrete base removal was out to Tender by Department of Public Works, (now D.E.F.R.A.) my Father was successful with his bid, so we then found ourselves with literally hundreds of concrete bases in varying numbers from five or six on a site, to sites containing hundreds in differing suburbs of the City, the bases varied in thickness from a few inches to a foot or more, some were reinforced others not. The price was the same for one and all. A 10RB was purchased to break the concrete by lifting and dropping a demolition ball on the concrete bases to break them, then sell as hardcore, a good idea, well that was the plan! As with every plan there is usually a problem, this time, because the concrete bases were usually very thin over the larger area, with each having a perimeter edge beam, ring beam or thickening varying from 6 inches upto 2ft thick.
Dropping the ball on the concrete slab, broke the slab and the edge beam, problem being the concrete slabs and edge beams would be driven into the ground by the weight of the ball dropping onto them, making it virtually impossible to recover the clean concrete without digging up the earth underneath, very seldom was there a hardcore foundation to the bases. ALL the concrete had to be removed. As a temporary measure the slabs were broken and left in place; the dividing hedges were grubbed up and then burnt on site.
Thinking caps on, we decided to obtain an old but serviceable scrap bucket for the Hymac and cut slots in the bottom of it, our very first “Riddle Bucket” what a success, the concrete was routed out and stockpiled in heaps on site, a good home had to be found the ever accumulating number of broken concrete stockpiles.
Elmdon Airport (now Birmingham International Airport) was to have the Runway extended at the Marston Green end. The Contractors were looking for large quantities of hardcore to make up levels – Colemans had the hardcore, a material that was clean and fit for purpose!!! Seven days a week we hauled broken concrete to the new runway extension site. This is where I saw a Cat D8 dozer for the first time, it was being used to level and compact the broken concrete, the weight of the machine breaking and crushing the concrete even more. One lunch time I talked the driver into letting me “have a go” on the machine, it was awesome, the roar of the engine, a cloud of smoke from the exhaust, nothing would stand before it let alone a 7 or 8 cubic yard load of broken concrete.
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