Specialist Machinery Required for High Reach and Tower Block Demolition.

High Reach Demolition of Bloomloan Court Glasgow

One of our high reach machines in action at Boomloan Court, Glasgow

Coleman & Company we were now very active in land reclamation, clearing sites, demolishing differing structures, demolishing high-rise blocks and preparing sites prepared for the more socially acceptable low rise buildings. This led us to purchase larger machines the first in 2004, a Hitachi 850 High Reach capable of demolishing 40m high structures. We also bought the Excavator equipment for this formidable machine. Contracts were secured for demolition works in the City of London at Westminster Bridge, also in the Financial Quarter in the shadow of the highly visionary Gherkin, also at Pollockshaws in Glasgow, in Edinburgh, in Peebles, in Cardiff in the shadow of the Millennium Stadium. The Cat 350 and the Hitachi 850 were the death knell to many structures, Villiers House, Cross House, Ranleigh House, Donnay House, Nettleton House, Beatty House, Jellicoe House to name a few of the ones to be gradually nibbled away, to be loaded up and off for recycling into construction aggregate, and another life. We had a quality fleet of plant for high reach demolition, tower block demolition and industrial demolition.  We were now a truly national demolition contractor with an extensive C.V. to its credit.

Even with our wide array of plant and equipment some buildings needed to be debuilt and dismantled by hand, due to local environment. Two such blocks were the twenty storey Alma House and Leys House, Darlaston both on a restricted site with high voltage cables situated between the two blocks, as is usual, with most high rise blocks, they were in a built up area, consideration of all these obstacles and difficulties removed any ideas of explosive demolitions.  A tower crane was erected on site between the blocks; the crane needed to be on piled foundations that had to be constructed either side of the High Voltage cables. The blocks then dismantled in the reverse order of construction reducing in height, floor by floor, both at the same time, thus keeping the crane fully employed. The concrete panels were pulverised at ground level then removed off site. Once the buildings had been reduced to six storeys the Cat 350 high reach machine was bought onto site to complete the demolition of the blocks to the delight of the local residents. Mark Carless, now Colemans Contracts Director, who, at the time, had no head for heights, was put in charge of the project; he did it well, soon becoming acclimatised as the contract progressed. Peat House in the centre of Birmingham was another extremely difficult `debuild`, a six/seven storey building occupying a complete corner site with neighbouring buildings housing solicitors, estate agents and other professional bodies, who do not accept any interference with their daily routine, all demolition works were required to be done without the nuisance of dust, noise and disruption!

Why not learn more about our high reach demolition services by reviewing the projects we completed at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and Ravensworth Court in Gateteshead?

Posted in Complex Demolition, Demolition, Design Preconstruction Services, High Rise Demolition, Hospital Demolition, Industrial Demolition, Specialist Cutting, Temporary Works | Leave a comment

Specialist Demolition Projects

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.

Gas Holder Demolition Ponders End

Some of the intricate and bespoke engineering that went into the deconstruction of Ponder’s End Gas Holder. A million miles away from our ball and chain days!

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.

Specialist Demolition Birmingham City Centre

Birmingham City Town Hall. A stunning Grade 1 Listed Buidling

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.

Complex Demolition Birmingham City Centre

Our team hard (and very carefully) at work in Birmingham’s Town Hall

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.

Why not learn more about the demolition of the Ponder’s End Gas Holders and complex demolition work we completed at  Birmingham’s Grade 1 Listed Town Hall?

Posted in Civil Engineering, Complex Demolition, Demolition, Design Preconstruction Services, Facade Retention, Health & Safety, Specialist Cutting, Temporary Works | Leave a comment

Specialist Demolition in Glasgow

1, George Square, Glasgow was the home of the once famous General Post Office Headquarters, constructed in 1875, which was classed as the absolute central point of reference for the City`s postcode and mileage charts. The G1 building had been vacant for about ten years and was in need of specialist demolition. In 2000 the southern section had been converted into high class residential occupancy with an addition storey added for penthouse apartments. The northern section had been acquired by a developer with the intention of extending the residential and penthouse development from the southern section.

G1 Glasgow facade retention and specialist demolition

The G1 Glasgow. A stunning building

Due to the building being vacant for such long a period of time it had deteriorated extensively. Planning Requirements stipulated that the facade was to remain, the complete internal structure that had rotted and perished, was to be carefully deconstructed. To meet this objective a façade retention system was to be designed, this in turn was to be supported on bored piles, an opening in the facade was to be created, to allow access and egress to and from the site, all stone work being carefully removed, numbered and stored in readiness to be placed back on completion of new construction `as it was prior to the works starting`.  This was one of our most technical demolition contracts to date which required a number of specialist demolition techniques.

Facade retention Glasgow G1

A example of the complex facade retention supports we erected for the G1 Glasgow

There were many difficulties in boring piles due to the myriad of services that were incorrectly charted and positioned on services layout drawings. This in turn caused design problems for the footprint layout of the retention system. As is usual problems are there to be solved then overcome and we overcame the ones on the G1. Noise pollution then became a problem. The residential occupancy of the southern section was home to lawyers, footballers and business people whose homes were separated from our site by a mere 100mm (4inch) block wall, separation cuts in the concrete floors proved to be another particular problem, no noise or disturbance before 09:00 or after 16:00.

Complex demolition Glasgow G1

Even Nike got a kick out of our complex demolition in Glasgow!

The sandstone internal walls had perished to the point of collapse; this created a continual stability problem to the structure especially when working in close proximity to the site boundaries. We were pleased to hand the site back to our employers on completion of what turned out to be one of the most challenging specialist demolition contracts completed by Coleman to that date.

Why not learn more about the façade retention and complex demolition techniques we used to demolish the inside of the G1 building in Glasgow here?

Posted in Civil Engineering, Complex Demolition, Demolition, Design Preconstruction Services, Facade Retention, Health & Safety, Temporary Works | Leave a comment

Building New Offices – The Opposite to our usual Demolition!

The company had continued to steadily develop and expand by offering a range of industrial, complex and explosive demolition. It had outgrown the Stechford site needing somewhere larger to house the ever increasing and expanding scope of work. We searched for and found a six-acre site on Shady Lane, Great Barr, Birmingham. The site, an old aluminium castings foundry, was purchased in 2002, in overcoming a series of objections from local residents, councillors and an M.P. we secured planning in 2004 for work to start on creating a new Depot, consisting of offices, workshops, parking for plant and transport and our innovative award winning “Urban Quarry” to be used for the manufacture of added value aggregates from reject materials that forms the backbone of our materials recovery and recycling operations.

Coleman & Company Head Office Address

Our Head Office, Shady Lane, Birmingham. Something we’re all very proud of.

The business moved from Stechford to its new home in May 2005. The new site, a £6 million development, project managed by ourselves, it was a great improvement for the aesthetics and environment of the area. The dirty old foundry that belched out smoke and fumes had been replaced with new, modern two storey offices and workshops. The workshops were constructed from buildings that we had previously dismantled, a car show room at Tamworth to become a small workshop and general store, then a paper storage store in West Bromwich to become a repair shop and vehicle store.

materials recyling at Shady Lane

Our “Urban Quarry” in action producing a range of high grade recycled materials courtesy of our specialist equipment and washing plant

The now, highly presentable site was well lit at night and values of adjacent property increased. Our development was indeed of enormous benefit to all at Coleman`s, also, to our new neighbours who then recognised how wrong they had been to object to our visionary plans.  Once more a new era was about to unfold. Within our development we incorporated what we called an “Urban Quarry”. This was a bespoke plant, designed and developed to re-manufacture quality added value aggregate from materials destined for landfill. The plant would wash and size the aggregate content to become fully compliant with modern construction specifications. We sank a borehole, the water from which was used to wash our vehicles and plant, as well as washing the reclaimed aggregate, the dirty water is recycled and reused, the dirt content of the water is removed, being split into 4mm down sand and cohesive, impermeable silt clay. Out of a material that once was 100% useless we recovered in excess of 98% in the form of added value aggregate, to be used as pipe bedding, drainage media, piling aggregate, blinding sand, ballast, sub base, canal/water retention liner, even as decorative ground cover to name but a few. Our Urban Quarry has, quite rightly, received many Awards and Accreditations.   It’s an achievement everyone at Coleman & Company is very proud of.

high quality recycled gravel

Some of the recycled gravel our Urban Quarry produced. A high quality added value product.

recycled clay

Some of the recycled clay we produce at our Urban Quarry.

Why not learn more about the recycling we carry out at our “Urban Quarry” and our Meriden Quarry?

Posted in Aggregate production and supply, Corporate Social Responsibility, Family Business, Land Reclamation, Recycling | Leave a comment

Explosive Demolition Brings a Victorian Viaduct Down to Earth

A large thirteen span 1870s Victorian brick arch Viaduct at East Norton, Leicestershire had fallen into a very poor state of repair. It was becoming a danger to persons who ventured through the security fencing onto or under the isolated landmark and required specialist demolition. The viaduct was one hundred and ninety metres (about the length of two football pitches) long and approximately twelve storeys in height. It was agreed with our employers, British Rail Property Board, that explosive demolition would the most effective demolition option.

explosive demolition of railway bridge

The East Norton Viaduct being blown in 2001

Difficulties were soon to manifest themselves, in as much as the blue brickwork had in places badly perished, where the brickwork visually appeared to be sound externally, internally it had softened and failed. Explosives would become less effective in “soft” materials as the explosive, expanding breaking force would be absorbed by such soft materials. This turned a the viaduct demolition into more complex demolition that required specific explosive demolition knowledge. Eventually an agreed plan and sequence of drilling was incorporated into the works, the demolition programme was met, and demolition day arrived.

Very early on a cold, wet Sunday morning in March 2001, the area was secured, Police helicopter scanned the exclusion zone, then gave the “all clear”. The explosive engineer began his countdown.  A series of loud explosions then followed and the once proud structure was proud no more; a smouldering pile of brick rubble lay along the route of the old railway line. Thoughts crossed my mind of the thousands of man hours, the manual skills that had gone into creating what was once such a magnificent structure that had now gone in seconds courtesy of our explosive demolition.

The company had continued to steadily develop and expand. It had outgrown the Stechford site needing somewhere larger to house the ever increasing and expanding scope of work. We searched for and found a six acre site on Shady Lane, Great Barr, Birmingham. The site, an old aluminium castings foundry, was purchased in 2002, in overcoming a series of objections from local residents, councillors and an M.P. we secured planning in 2004 for work to start on creating a new Depot, consisting of offices, workshops, parking for plant and transport and our innovative award winning “Urban Quarry” to be used for the manufacture of value added aggregates from reject materials that forms the backbone of our materials recovery and recycling operations.

Why not learn more about the explosive demolition services we offer or the recycling we carry out at our “Urban Quarry” and our Meriden Quarry?

Posted in Aggregate production and supply, Bridge Demolition, Civil Engineering, Commercial Demolition, Complex Demolition, Demolition, Explosive Demolition, Railway Projects | Leave a comment

A Demolition Contractor Focused on Building Partnerships

We were to become “Partners” with Sandwell Metropolitan Council initially winning a contract for an eighteen month trial Pilot Scheme for all demolition within the Metropolitan Borough area. So successful was the Partnership cost savings for Sandwell that a further contract for a five year period was later secured. The works consisted of all the demolition works that would normally have been tendered. Sandwell had the benefit of the services of an award winning demolition contractor at its disposal, site turnaround time was greatly reduced, the Council were not at risk of buildings that had been vacated being illegally occupied and/or stripped, resulting in loss of value, therefore loss of credit. We were happy to be of continued service. The work was plentiful and varied enormously requiring a wide and varied range of talents, both physical and mechanical! There were explosive demolitions,  complex demolition debuilds and tower block demolition to name a few. The demolition spanned residential demolition and commercial demolition.  Foundation removals, land reclamation, land remediation, Site Security were all part of the Scope of Works.

Triple explosive demolition Lyng Estate West Bromwich

Triple explosive demolition Lyng Estate West Bromwich….now you see it…..

Triple explosive demolition Lyng Estate West Bromwich

….now you don’t

Triple explosive demolition Lyng Estate West Bromwich Triple explosive demolition Lyng Estate West Bromwich Triple explosive demolition Lyng Estate West Bromwich Triple explosive demolition Lyng Estate West Bromwich Triple explosive demolition Lyng Estate West Bromwich

Following on from Michael’s decision to leave the business at the end of September 2002, it was with sadness that Maureen decided to retire from the company at the end of December 2003. So now it was down to me and Mark to continue what my parents started all those years ago.

Explosive demolitions were becoming more frequent, our stature, confidence and competence grew with each project. No two explosive demolitions were the same. Each structure seemed to have its own character and its own independent challenges therefore complacency was not a description of the attitude that was to be used within the Coleman criteria. We were becoming increasingly aware of where many hidden hazards and dangers lay in wait, such as services through or below the building, use of asbestos as insulation, as fire breaks, in plumbing, as packing to floors, even as decorations. These really helped us establish ourselves as technical demolition experts. Once “soft stripped”, all non load bearing walls were removed from blast levels, solid concrete walls were drilled at strategic points, the holes could be upto two metres in depth, these were required to take the explosive charges. The drilling presented a Health & Safety issue, due to the level of vibrations that were emitted from the hand drills into the operatives.

We set about finding an answer to this problem; we purchased a `Mini` excavator small enough to travel through the doorways of the flats, light enough to be carried by the floors. We then bought a `Mini` drilling rig, we designed and built a special carrier bracket to couple the two, allowing full rotation of the drill on the rig. At first we encountered stability problems with the mini excavator, as the drill rig assembly was too heavy and powerful for the Mini Excavator to handle, but adjustments to the excavator geometry, and added ballast soon rectified this problem.

Our hand, arm vibration problem was a thing of the past, we had developed a piece of equipment that carried a drill, that could drill at any angle and be remotely operated by one operative, vibration free, the drilling times and costs were also greatly reduced.  Cobden House, Chatsworth House, Ryder House, Princethorpe House, Cheshire House, Chillinghome Tower, Haddon Tower, Donnay House, Nettleton House, Beattie House, Jellicoe House three blocks on the Lyng Estate and Edgbaston Galleries were some of the local substantial land mark buildings that were to collapse into a pile of debris with a series of loud bangs, in a cloud of dust. Ugly blocks at Riverford Road, Shawbridge Street and Octavia Court Glasgow. Fala, Garvald and Sutra House Edinburgh also met with the same fate.

To learn more about our broad range of specialist, complex, industrial, explosive or high reach demolition click here.

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Growth as a Multidisciplinary Demolition Contractor

We won contracts for demolitions and land remediation at football stadia that were the homes of Coventry City, the complete demolition of the Highfield Road Stadium Coventry. For West Bromwich Albion for the demolition of the Rainbow Stand at the Hawthorns Stadium, West Bromwich, then most pleasing of all, my being a Birmingham City Supporter, was the demolition of the substantial Trinity Road Stand at Villa Park, home to Aston Villa.  This was our first move into more specialist and complex demolition.

demolition of Aston Villa football stadium in Birmingham

Blowing the final whistle of Aston Villa’s Trinity Road Stand. One of Coleman’s more satisfying projects. Good result.

We were also extensively involved with the early stages of the redevelopment of Warwickshire County Cricket Ground at Edgbaston. A successful contract for bulk excavation works and associated piling for the new Touchwood Court Shopping Centre, Solihull generated circa 80,000m3 of materials for disposal, this blended in with our activities. All materials generated by those works were recycled and reused on other construction projects.

We decided that the time was right to change the company name from Coleman & Company (Plant Hire) Ltd. to Coleman & Company Ltd., because the words `plant hire` were becoming restrictive in allowing opportunities to continue to expand into new areas. Unfortunately the name Coleman & Company Ltd was owned by Reckitt Benckiser Ltd. which was a hundred year old company. We could not get any response from the Reckitt Benckiser Company Secretary, so shares were purchased; the Company Secretary then had to speak to “a Shareholder”. We brokered a deal for the name but their price for the company number, we considered to be too high. The name change took place on 7th March 2002. (`Plant Hire` was transferred to another Coleman subsidiary.) We later sold the Reckitt Benckiser shares at a good profit, so it proved to be a `win win` situation.

The Company was by now extensively committed to recycling, producing approximately 350,000 tonnes of D.O.T Specification compliant aggregates per year. The contract for Sandwell, the Lea Bank demolitions and land reclamations, were a good base. In 2005 we won a major contract from Balfour Beatty for large volume earthmoving at the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital, also contracts for difficult excavation works for new office developments in Birmingham and the larger West Midlands area.  Our business was starting to grow.

Why not learn more about the demolition, earth works or recycling services we offer?

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