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November 29th 2018

Four of our JCB excavators demonstrate Northeast Demolitions Teamwork perfectly at one of our most recent demolitions. Team work that ensures your job is carried out with efficiency and with safety always at the top of the list.

Our company is proud of our fleet of JCBs and the skill of our operators that do the work to make way for new development throughout the UK.

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November 1st 2018

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November 1st 2018





The 77th annual AGM and Awards ceremony was recently held at The Rosewood Hotel in Holborn, Central London.

The afternoon's awards ceremony was hosted by comedian Jon Culshaw who entertained with a series of impressions before hosting and presenting the awards to the winners.

Year on year, the quality of the candidates puts the team of judges under pressure when it comes to their final decisions.

Seven awards categories were up for grabs along with the annual, Man of the Year Award.

Our own Danielle Harvey was nominated for the Demolition Supervisor Award and she was joined by family and directors of the company who waited with bated breath as the envelope was opened. And the winner is.........?

Congratulations Danielle Harvey who was applauded loudly onto the stage where she was awarded with the award and a cheque for £1000 by NDFC Vice-President Martin O'Donnell.

Where next for Danielle? Maybe they may need to change the title of the Man of the Year Award in the very near future.





The East End of London has played a major role in the success of the City whilst still being one of the most deprived areas in the country. The area was notorious for its deep poverty, overcrowding and associated social problems which has led to the East End’s history of intense political activism and association with some of the country’s most influential social reformers.
The closure of the last of the East End docks in the Port of London in 1980 created further challenges and led to attempts at regeneration and the formation of the London Docklands Development Corporation. The Canary Wharf development, improved infrastructure, and the Olympic Park mean that the East End is undergoing further change, but some parts continue to contain some of the worst poverty in Britain.
A redevelopment scheme, known as Blackwall Reach involves the demolition of Robin Hood Gardens; as part of a wider local regeneration project that was approved in 2012. The demolition of the western block began in December 2017 whilst he eastern block, still with tenants in November 2017, is to be demolished later. Once finally redeveloped, the site will contain over 1500 residences.

The construction work is being undertaken by Swan Housing with Hills as the main contractor for the project. Essex based Northeast Demolition have been tasked with demolishing the two large concrete structures remaining on site at Robin Hood Gardens.
Whilst the demolition of such “past its sell by date” housing stock would not usually raise an eyebrow, the two blocks which contained almost 130 flats were designed and constructed in the late 1960s by renowned “Brutalist” architects Alison and Peter Smithson and completed in 1972. It was built as a council housing estate with homes spread across 'streets in the sky': social housing characterised by broad aerial walkways in long concrete blocks, much like the Park Hill estate in Sheffield. The estate was built by the Greater London Council with Tower Hamlets Council subsequently becoming the estate’s final landlord. An attempt supported by a number of notable architects to head off redevelopment by securing listed status for the estate was rejected by the government in 2009.


The scheme which was the first major housing project built by the Smithsons, consisted of two blocks of 10 and 7 storeys and embodied ideas first published in their failed attempt to win the contract to build a scheme at Golden Lane Estate. The estate comprises two long curved blocks facing each other across a central green space, and in total covers 1.5 hectares. The 10-storey eastern block and 7-storey western block blocks are built from precast concrete slab blocks and at the time were considered to be constructed to the highest standards. Construction began in 1968, the first flats opened in 1971 and the scheme as a whole was completed in 1972 at a cost of £1,845,585. The flats themselves are a mixture of single-storey apartments and two-storey maisonettes, with two to six bedrooms. The maisonettes are designed with the bedrooms facing inwards shielding the residents from the traffic noise. A design feature was the wide balconies on every third floor. The concept is that they would become public space that would encourage interaction.
The eventual concession and approval to demolish the buildings saw Northeast start on site midway through 2017 with the demolition of a number of remaining terraced houses on the land. This early demolition work gave them the opportunity to install a hardstanding for site accommodation and much needed car parking space for the project. With the infrastructure works completed, the first phase of demolition works could be undertaken. As the properties had lain empty for a number of months they had attracted the usual attention of thieves and vandals who had incurred a major amount of damage to the structure including damage to asbestos cladding and insulation. The first task for the Northeast team was to undertake an environmental clean to remove any contaminants from the work areas before asbestos removal teams were able to commence their 4-month removal program.

It was during these initial works that Hills and Northeast were approached by the V&A museum with a rather strange request. The once much maligned Brutalist architecture is now being seen as a leading light in more modern forms of design and the V&A have decided to acknowledge this starting with Robin Hood Gardens.
The museum had originally asked Northeast for their assistance in removing 12 items of interest to which the demolition contractor was more than happy to oblige. This small amount was then raised to over 250 items with which the museum is looking at reinstating as a complete flat. Whilst the flats were in the control of the local authority, many tenants had undertaken various home improvement works over the lifespan of the buildings and the Northeast and Hills team were tasked with identifying original woodwork, doors and windows within the properties and removing them carefully for the museum to store.
With the asbestos strip out works completed, the soft strip teams embarked on the task of removing as much recyclable material from the properties as possible. Salvaging the soft-strip items required by the museum required slightly more finesse than most strip-out contracts but the team prevailed and have removed sufficient quantities of the uniquely moulded materials as possible. Whilst the internal items required for both the V&A in London and their counterpart in Venice were relatively simple to remove, the museums and the council also requested that some of the fabric of the building were to be retained with a view to the museum actually rebuilding a full, two storey maisonette at a later date.
The precast concrete frame of the buildings was in the main constructed at ground level before being craned into position. Unfortunately, a reversal of this process was not feasible and the demolition contractor was forced to look at alternative was of deconstructing a number of properties in a bid to salvage the concrete panels and fins. As many will know, the precast concrete of the late ‘60s and early 70’s hasn’t stood the test of time and many of the maisonettes panelling had suffered from water damage resulting in various points of the building having to be approached for the salvage. Using the services of a diamond driller, a hole was drilled to take a lifting eye and with the fins loosened from their retaining pins, they were removed from the panels using Northeast’s JCB JS360 high reach excavator equipped with short arm and check valves. The first attempt at removing a fin resulted in unwanted damage due to the fin being held into the panel recess with a large amount of polysulphide mastic which over the years had cured and formed an extremely strong bond between panel and fin. Subsequent fins were cleaned completely before any attempt at removal was undertaken with the results being ideal.
Whilst the time taken to remove the façade of the building impacted on the initial demolition program, the Northeast team commenced work on one end of the building to allow access for the high reach excavator once the salvage operation was completed. “We would have been much further along with the works if it wasn’t for the amount of salvage work we have had to carry out.” Explained Northeast’s Health and Safety Manager Ronnie Mould. “We have thought about a variety of methods for the removal of the fins and panels but the only logical one is this. There is very little weight in any of the materials with the heaviest being just 450kg.” Site Manager Mathew (Murf) Atkinson has been instrumental in the overseeing of the facade removal and it has been his knowledge and experience which has made the difficult task that little bit easier.
With the removal and storage of over 50 fins to undertake, the company will endeavour to remove them as quickly as possible to allow the remainder of their work to start. The inclusion of the re-built structure at the V&A will be an insight into what was deemed a successful social experiment in the 1960s. Northeast Demolition are rightly proud to be helping to save this little piece of history but are even happier that their work will allow residents of the East End to have more modern living accommodation.

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The Blackwall Reach Project on The One Show


London and Southern Members Northeast Demolition Ltd have been involved in a rather special project recently assisting two work colleagues "blow up" their boss' house.

The project in question was filmed for Amazon's new TV series starring the former Top Gear presenters; James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson for their Grand Tour series.
The story behind the project saw Clarkson wage a bet with his co­presenters that if they beat him in a race, they could blow his house up. Inevitably, they won and Clarkson stood by the bet. While the TV show depicted the pair of presenters "blowing up" the "former" home of Clarkson, there was a much more planned and detailed reason for dispatching the stone property.

Purchased as part of a larger small holding, the farmhouse was set for demolition to make way for a new
build home for the presenter. While the TV show claimed the home was still occupied, it was actually decorated prior to the Northeast crew coming to site and was laying empty as Clarkson had renovated one of the large barns on the complex and was living in that at the time.


Northeast's participation in the project came from their allegiance to JCB for their excavator fleet. Clarkson and his crew have been firm favourites of the Staffordshire brand and contacted their Marketing department to inquire as to their ability to help with the project. Not one for missing a marketing opportunity, JCB agreed to supply a pair of demolition spec JS370XD excavators for the crew to use. To assist in the project, JCB called on Northeast who were more than happy to not only supply a JS370, but to coordinate the demolition project alongside the pyrotechnic and film crews.

Health and Safety Director for Northeast, Ronnie Mould, takes up the story; "We were originally asked to come to site with our machine, attachments and
men the night before the filming was due. We decided to take a look at the job and decided we needed to be in a couple of days before to be sure of the layout and access to the site. Whilst not particularly required from the client, we prepared a full set of risk assessments and method statements along with
a Section 80, COSHH reports and a traffic management plan to ensure our requirements were met should the HSE become involved. The TM plan was called upon immediately as the access to the property was extremely tight for our and JCB's low loaders to get to site."


With the machines on site the Northeast team set about erecting signage and fencing to keep errant members of the crew away from the demolition site. Whilst having to work to the constraints of the film crew, Northeast also put their corporate head on and insisted on hi­viz, hard hats and boots during all the preparation works which included the digging out of a number of pits in which the pyrotechnics were to be placed.


With full planning granted and a bat survey undertaken, the presenters staged the stripping of the roof tiles to expose bat with May spending the night in the barn to entice them away from the house. fencing to keep errant members of the crew away from the demolition site. Whilst having to work to the constraints of the film crew, Northeast also put their corporate head on and insisted on hi­viz, hard hats and boots during all the preparation works which included the digging out of a number of pits in which the pyrotechnics were to be placed.
With full planning granted and a bat survey undertaken, the presenters staged the stripping of the roof tiles to expose bat with May spending the night in the barn to entice them away from the house.

Whilst the TV show portrayed May and Hammond taking to the levers and operating both machines, it was actually Ronnie and Site Supervisor Ross Harris who filmed a number of the scenes. Where the operators were shown, Ronnie and Ross had been on hand to give a crash course on the operation of the excavators. Both May and Hammond were said to be a pleasure to work with and both took instruction from the experienced operators well - although perhaps not clarifying exactly what they meant on some occasions did lead to a little unexpected damage on the JCB owned machine!

Hammond was tasked with pushing in a certain part of the building using the Rotar selector grab and asked "if it will go through there?" Yes, was the answer only to see Hammond track the machine through the back wall of the house ending up with a piece of timber through the front windscreen! While the program showed the presenters then getting fed up
with the time taken to knock the house down with the excavators and setting to blow it up, the truth was slightly different. "The pyro team set up their 'explosives' to the front elevation before setting of a typically Hollywood explosion." Explains Ronnie "We than had two hours to flatten the property leaving the timbers in place as if it had been demolished by an explosion. We only took 25 minutes to get the building into a respectable shape for the pyro crew to come back in and set another 'explosion'." With the second pyro shot going off, creative editing then allowed the viewers to see the building demolished due to the blast!


Once the smoke had cleared and everything was deemed safe, Ronnie and Ross moved in to complete the removal of what was left of the building, salvaging some building stone and infilling a basement before levelling the site in readiness for Clarkson's builders to commence work on his new home.


While not a typical demolition project, the Northeast team insisted that the crews adhered to their health and safety demands throughout their time on site. "It was great undertaking this project and seeing just how the TV show is filmed." Comments Ronnie.



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