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?

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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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Our first explosive demolition project

The new Millennium, bought further change to our `Scope of Work`. We were successful in securing the high rise demolitions of the 1960s Lea Bank Estate Birmingham. The first item was for the demolition of two, 20 storey tower blocks. One block was only six metres from an occupied property that was to remain. This meant it was a complex demolition project for the time.  It was decided and agreed to demolish the structures by the use of `controlled explosives`, to engineer the collapse of the structures away from the retained buildings. This was to be the first explosive demolition of its kind within the City of Birmingham. Mark organised and controlled the tower block demolition works, liaising with all of the authorities, The City Council Building Consultancy, City Highways, Police, H.S.E. and Utilities.

explosive demolition, Birmingham, England

Two twenty storey towers, Lee Bank, Birmingham being blown down…….

explosive demolition, Birmingham, England

explosive demolition, Birmingham, England


explosive demolition, Birmingham, England

explosive demolition, Birmingham, EnglandDemolition Day soon arrived. Early morning start, to create and establish an exclusion zone, evacuate many hundreds of residents from within the exclusion zone, continual radio checks, everyone was extremely nervous. This was the most complex demolition project we had completed to date. A large gathering of V.I.P.s, a large crowd, the presence of television and radio all added to the tension. The designated time had arrived; the Police helicopter scanned the exclusion zone to ensure that no attention seekers remained within the zone. The ALL CLEAR was given, the excitement of the countdown, the big bang, a cloud of dust, screams and cheers from the watching crowds rang out as the massive concrete structures collapsed and turned to rubble. To our delight all went well, no damage to any of the adjacent property, a couple of hours to tidy the debris pile, clean up the surrounding areas, to allow residents to return to their homes, then remove the exclusion zone. A well deserved beer was the order of the day to celebrate yet another extremely successful first for Coleman & Company.

The Lea Bank Development continued for a period of ten years, following on from the explosive demolitions of six 20 storey high blocks there were many 14, 6, 4 and 2 storey structures to be cleared, as well as a variety of public houses, community halls and social welfare buildings. This required a mixture of technical demolition and explosive demolition competence.

As the demolitions progressed, the Lea Bank site needed to be re engineered to allow for what is now a new award winning mixed occupancy residential estate. Site Investigations proved the entire site to be contaminated with various chemical and metal materials from the pre 60s era. A Land Fill Tax Exemption was applied for but refused; the result of that decision would cause a serious strain on viability of the project. We were asked to price for the land remediation and excavation works; we carefully considered and developed a process that was highly cost effective benefiting all concerned.

We commissioned the design and build of specific item of plant to deal with the material contamination problems. Our employers won an award for the sustainable approach that we adopted on the contract, of 400,000 tonnes of what was contaminated materials for disposal off site, less than 400 tonnes went to Land Fill, the remainder was fully recovered, tested, proved to be suitable for reuse on other projects. All aggregates required for the new build were manufactured from site won materials.

Why not learn more about our tower block demolition, explosive demolition and land remediation services? We’ve come a long way since a ball and chain. That makes me very proud.

Posted in Complex Demolition, Demolition, Explosive Demolition, High Rise Demolition, Land Reclamation, Land Remediation | Leave a comment

Our largest land reclamation and remediation contract to date

During this time we were awarded a twenty week contract with Laing for Land Reclamation and Remediation works at the previously demolished Hams Hall Power Station. The works were to excavate demolition arisings that had been indiscriminately deposited in the old abandoned fly ash lagoons, crush and process same that were then to be reused as fill and capping materials. The demolition arisings were mainly heavy reinforced concrete, some lumps weighing upto 20 tonnes. We recovered in excess of 3000 tonnes of steel reinforcement from the materials recovery and processing with our crushing plant which paved the way for our state of the art recycling facility at Shady Lane.

land reclamation and remediation at Ham's Hall, West Midlands

An ariel view of our land reclamation and remediation contract at Ham’s Hall Power Station, West Midlands.

The plan was to then obtain suitable P.F.A. from stockpiles, haul to the excavated lagoons, deposit and compact to levels to receive processed demolition arisings as specified capping. We devised a method of work that would eliminate all the “double handling” of materials, saving both time and money. Our contract was being continually extended to include additional land reclamation of areas of the site that had been used to deposit and bury fibrous asbestos materials, to pump out and reclaim old abandoned lagoons and settlement tanks. One variation was to excavate and remove 110,000m3, a distance of 1km spread and level to new contours within 30 days, which was during November 1996. Such was our flexibility; we were both confident and positive in our capabilities of meeting and delivering our commitments.

We also created new roads and hard standings; we demolished many varying forms of buildings and underground structures. We remained on site for a period in excess of two years; nothing was ever too much trouble, as we continued to offer a one stop comprehensive demolition, excavation, reclamation and remediation service.

Towards the end of the decade, we won a fairly innocuous industrial demolition of Victorian one and two storey buildings, followed by the site remediation in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. Once we had taken possession of the site we discovered dipping tanks, within the buildings, some full of acid, others cyanide, on closer examination of the structure we discovered, to our horror that, there was a thick layer of cyanide dust on the steelwork and timber joists, the whole works area was to be subject of a thorough environmental clean prior to any demolition works starting. The client was not happy at the additional costs and delays that were going to be involved, as only three weeks previous the factory had been in full production!!! We insisted that we wanted the site to be a safe place of work for our personnel. This was not the only difficulty that we came across, there were hidden asbestos covered boilers, sealed pits full of toxins, our experience soon demonstrated that we knew what to look for and where to find the dangers. The project was completed a week late, without incident or accident.

Why not learn more about our specialist reclamation and remediation services in addition to our asbestos removal services?

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Demolition Waste Recycling – Another fulfilling idea

In 1996 Coleman & Company bought Meriden Quarry, a site of some 26 Acres. We completed the purchase within 28 days of reaching an Agreement on price with the Vendor. We bought the site, a poorly fenced, dangerous flooded quarry, without any planning permission. It was our plan to reclaim the site, gradually filling the void with suitable materials to meet the end use.

Meriden Quarry in Operation

Coleman & Company’s quarry producing a high quality product from recycled materials

Our Planning Application was granted, in that application we had incorporated a plan to recycle and reclaim materials arising from our own activities. We did not want a licence to create a “tip” to reap a short term return on our investment; we were looking positively towards the long term sustainable future for the company. We set about making the site safe and secure, reducing the water levels to see what lay beneath, to create a good working area, hard standing and haul roads. To our delight we discovered and recovered abandoned sands and gravels. In accord with our Planning Consent we set up a crushing and recycling plant to manufacture and recover D.O.T. Specification materials from the materials arising from our demolition and excavation works.

We imported materials from contracts that we had with Laing for additional Exhibition Halls at the N.E.C., Birmingham, also with Bovis at Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull. Very soon, the Environment Agency informed us that we were operating illegally by “depositing waste on land not licensed to receive such materials”. We argued our case, on TWO occasions we were “Interviewed under Caution” over the “Definition of Waste” and were delighted to have been successful in proving our case. Later the E.A. used our Meriden site as an “exemplar site” an example for others to follow.

high quality gravel

Some of the high quality gravel we produce from recycled materials.

The policy of owning good reliable plant and equipment continued, we added the first Cat 350 High Reach, we later designed and added a 4m boom extension to this machine, also added to the fleet were Cat 330 demolition specification machines.

To learn more about our recycling and materials recovery operations please click here.

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Third Generation joins the Family Business

Coleman & Company (Plant Hire) Ltd. was admitted as Members of The National Federation of Demolition Contractors, in 1991, (the N.F.D.C.) recognised as “The Voice of the Demolition Industry”. Then in 2000 I was voted to be Midland & Welsh Region Vice Chairman, a position that was to last for two years before progressing to Chairman for two years and then finally to be Council Representative for two years. At the second meeting as Vice Chair, I was informed that the Chairs Company had gone into Administration and therefore I was to be Acting Chairman for twenty months when I would then become Regional Chair. The six year period was informative and enjoyable. I actively represented the N.F.D.C. on committees with H.S.E., D.E.F.R.A., W.R.A.P., local Regional Sub Committees and Working Parties.

NFDC Chairman David Coleman

It was both a pleasure and a privilege to be a Chairman at the NFDC

We won a Tender from Birmingham City Council, in late 1992, for the industrial demolition and remediation of the old derelict King Dick Spanner Works, Tyseley, as overgrowth was being cleared of briars and general debris, our trained and vigilant supervisor noted a number of very old rusted drums, full of liquid, some of the drums had the tops rotted through. The area was immediately quarantined as out of bounds to everyone; chemists soon identified the contents of the drums as neat cyanide and arsenic. We stopped work until all toxins had been removed, the City was grateful as a less careful or competent contractor could have caused a fatality and /or an expensive and major environmental cleanup, as no one was aware of the existence of the hidden, undisturbed potent cocktail, it was, after all, part of the service that we offer.

mark and joining C&C picture

My eldest son, Mark Coleman, during his formative years at Coleman & Company

On completion his full time education, then trying other forms of occupation, my eldest son, Mark Coleman began work with Henry Boot Construction Ltd., that period saw him develop to become very competent in Planning, Programming and Controlling Projects. Henry Boot introduced Mark to the C.I.O.B. (Chartered Institute of Building) as part of his Construction Training; he is now a full Member of this elite organisation. Mark Coleman joined the Company on 18th October 1993. Mark`s early days with the Company were difficult for both of us, each trying to understand the other. Mark trying to understand what gave people like me and my Father the drive and determination to do what we do and more importantly succeed! I was trying to answer his queries whilst incorporating some of his ideas into our business. As time progressed, we developed a good understanding of each other; we priced and planned work together. The day came when Mark had been successful in pricing and securing his first serious contract, to dismantle then remove a warehouse full of industrial racking and shelving, just like my Father I thought “he got it, let him carry on and do it”, a valuable experience for Mark, he soon realised that the credit value was not as he had envisaged, but he completed the works well, gaining valuable experience whilst building his confidence.

To learn more about the Coleman & Company team please click here.

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Benefits of television

Towards the end of 1990, we secured a contract, for the earthworks for the widening of all of the merges and diverges at the juncture of the M40/42 motorways. The contract with Monk Construction, was short and very intense, our works were to be completed within one month, finishing at Christmas that year. We were to work 7 days a week 24 hours a day from start to finish, so therefore one payment to us would be made on completion as agreed with Project Manager Tim Sharples. Despite some very bad weather things were going as planned, we received and laid the last load of stone early on Friday 21st December 1990, the blacktop then was laid; we then removed all our plant from site highly satisfied that a difficult job had been finished on programme, looking forward to the Christmas break followed by a very good payment in the New Year.


Leigh Lawson, who played maverick Lawyer Kinsey, brought an unconventional approach to dealing with his clients’ cases in the programme the BBC filmed at Stetchford

During the month of November, we had agreed with the BBC for sections of a series named Kinsey to be filmed in our Depot over the Christmas shut down. On the night of the 21st we had a moderate snow fall that caused delays to the filming which was to have started on Saturday 22nd December. Kinsey, played by Leigh Lawson, Twiggy`s husband, was a Birmingham Solicitor, one of his clients was a local contractor, of ill repute, named Schofield. In preparation for filming, as agreed, BBC engineers put the name Schofield over the Coleman name on our work shop also on some of the plant and vehicles that were to be parked over the coming Christmas shut down. The snowfall did not thaw to allow filming, so that day’s production was aborted. As we were to be closed for two weeks we saw no reason not to agree to the BBCs request to defer filming, leaving things as they were until immediately after Christmas Bank Holiday, the 27th or 28th. On the set date filming started but could not be completed, not to be awkward we again agreed to leave things `as they were`, as we were not returning for work until 7th January 1991.  The BBC completed all the external filming by the 7th but the name Schofield was still on our workshop, also on some of our plant and vehicles. This oversight caused Colemans problems because, unbeknown to us, Monk Construction had gone into administration, owing us a significant amount of money for the works that we had carried out on the M40/42. Word soon spread that “Monk`s have gone broke and taken Colemans with them, who is Schofield?” The following days saw many vehicles enter our Depot, the occupants looking around then drive back out, many people asked many questions about our financial stability, until we could eventually get the BBC to remove the Schofield name! During the ensuing days Monk`s were acquired by Trafalgar House, who after a short meeting agreed to pay our account in full, we then continued to work for Trafalgar House on many projects thereafter.

The 1990`s also saw the start of the Black Country Redevelopment, a new road, The Black Country Route was  to create a new spine road to open up the Development Areas in and around Wolverhampton. We won the contract for the removal of contaminated spoil from site. We also supplied Plant and Equipment to the Main Contractor Miller Civil Engineering Ltd., at times to meet demand our fleet needed to be supplemented by tippers from our old friends at Foundry Services. The works lasted for about 2 years, employing upto twenty tippers a day, we were always honest, open and accommodating in carrying out our works, confrontation was not a way of life for us. Our works were as usual those of Site Clearance, Demolition, Land Reclamation, Bulk Excavations, Mobile Crushing, Waste Disposal, Plant Hire and Heavy Haulage. All activities that we were well acquainted with, that our employees fully understood, with the variety of works offering employment security. We were considered to be fair and good employers, a fact proven in the past also over the next decade, with six long service employees receiving Gold Watches for 25 and 30 years service. Training and proof of skills was becoming a necessity of any form of employment. Safety Awareness Courses were commonplace.

To learn more about our demolition, land reclamation, excavation and other specialist services please click here.

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There is nothing easy

The company continued to grow and expand the business activities, we changed the fuel hungry Maggies for a fleet of MAN and Foden 32 tonne, 8 wheel tippers, we standardised on Caterpillar equipment, developing a recognised competence and being well established fields of Site Clearance, Demolition, Excavation, Land Reclamation, Waste Recovery and Disposal, now Mobile Crushing.


The inside of the Birmingham Hippodrome. It certainly didnt’ look like that when we were working inside it!

Also about this time we secured the very difficult and challenging contract to remove the complete roof assembly, over the stage at Birmingham Hippodrome, to eve level, including the high level beam that spanned the stage at eve’s level. The ridge was some sixty foot above the eve level, which in turn was approximately eighty five foot above stage level; the double stage, which had been removed, was forty foot above basement level. All was going well; the roof coverings were removed, the purlins removed, steel trusses all dismantled and craned off, the gable wall apex to eave was safely reduced, all arisings had been carefully lowered and taken off site, all as per programme. When we set about main the beam, we assumed it would be of steel construction, as was the roof support structure, we anticipated cleaning off to expose the steel beam then releasing both ends to crane off, Job done. We were in for a nasty surprise when we discovered that the beam was in fact heavily reinforced mass concrete. There were no Mini Breakers at that time; it was a jack hammer job, 24 hours a day, after a week little impression had been made. We decided to use a minimal amount of explosives, placed into strategically placed pilot drill holes, to assist with the breaking and weakening of the beam. Once again our plan worked, the beam had been successfully popped and weakened, the breaking and removal took another two weeks, still finishing a week early, even making a “few bob” in the deal, happy days.

Swindon Iron works was soon to be cleared and the site reclaimed for housing, we put innovative proposals forward that won us the Contract completed under the watchful eye of Johnson Poole and Bloomer, Consultant Engineers. Similarly, we did likewise at the Chance Brothers Glass Works in Oldbury; this site was controlled by Davis Langdon and Everest. Once the demolition had been completed, we removed the over site slabs to expose substantial foundations, all of which were to be removed on a re measure basis. In doing so we came across large underground brick and concrete ducts full of molten glass that had solidified, some were at depths of upto 8 metres.  As at the Swindon Steel Works, where we had come across a similar duct problem, but there it was for ventilation and extraction purposes.

As before, we would secure the area, with full cab protection fitted to the machines that were to be employed on breaking out the unusual and irregular obstructions, always allowing plenty of working space. All the materials recovered, processed, crushed then placed back into the voids, compacted and tested, back to finished levels. The volumes of materials excavated were far more than previously envisaged, the deeper we got, financially the better it became. The works were so successful, our transparency in costing extras led to our being awarded further phases of the development by responsible negotiation.

To learn more about our materials recycling and recovery services click here.

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