National Grid had embarked on a national programme of clearing redundant Gas Holders. Mark had chased this opening, being successful with the contract to dismantle and remove two multi stage gas holders on a restricted site at Nechells, Birmingham. This was nice and local for our first journey into another unknown avenue of activity. Gas holder demolition would prove to be a new and attractive line of business for us as our business continued to thrive and grow. We cautiously went about our task, learning as we progressed, National Grid’s strict safety policy always being stringently observed at all times. We were delighted to successfully complete the gas holder demolition. The successful conclusion of the project led to further opportunities.
Further success at Ponders End, London was rewarded with Coleman`s cautious approach to method, safe working practices and systems resulting in its excellent work being recognised by our employer, with National Grid awarding merits in safety and design, quite rightly it was a proud moment for the team, as they were being assessed on a national level against other national contractors for gas holder demolition who were far more experienced than Coleman in that type of work.
Our involvement in many projects became more intense as those works were becoming more contractually biased; a man’s word was now proving to become a Lawyers dream.
Birmingham`s 1834 Grade 1 Listed City Centre Town Hall was to be bought back into commercial use, after being void for more than ten years. What was once the finest music hall in the country, a design based on the Roman Temple of Castor and Pollux was to be fully refurbished, at a cost of £35m by Wates Construction Ltd.
Major internal restructuring and refurbishment was required. Mark successfully negotiated the difficult contract that required much thought, innovation and above all specialist demolition skills. Coleman was to be working amongst some of the finest ornate plasterwork to be found, removing balconies, and creating openings. The plaster was upto 3” (75mm) thick bonded with animal hair, no one knew what would be found or what to expect. Damage was not acceptable irrespective of the cause or reason. The plan to remove the main balcony required the incorporation of a bespoke support system, to support the balcony construction that was being removed; this was to avoid any collapse, also to create a safe working platform.
Various other unrecorded works had been previously carried this out meant that we were unsure of what to expect. In places we encountered heavy concrete beams coupled with exceptionally heavy construction. Other areas of the construction were lightweight and difficulties were soon to become apparent. We decided to buy a remote control five tonne excavator and equip it with a special concrete cracker. This meant that the operatives were safe should the construction contain unforeseen weakness when the machine was working at exposed edges.
The successful conclusion of the contract saw the building reopened for business on 4th October 2007, being officially reopened by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall on 24th April 2008. The iconic and proud building that was a stage for many novelists including Charles Dickens, generations of Parliamentarians, Prime Ministers and Rock Bands was again open for business.