When I met up with Robert Young, he had just been promoted to the position of development director at Downwell Group; so he had every right to be positive, upbeat and even ecstatic.
But he wasn’t.
In fact, as you will hear from the conversation that follows, Robert has some very serious concerns about the state of the UK demolition industry; about the procurement process; and about pricing.
And we would urge you to stick around to the very end of this show because Robert Young concludes with a truly stark message for the sector.
An extended interview with Holly Price, newly-elected president of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors that covers everything from Brexit and mental health awareness to industry diversity and training.
Regular readers of the Demolition magazine will know that, earlier this year, I was at Caterpillar’s training and demonstration area in Malaga, Spain for a major international press launch of a number of new products including the new Cat 340 SB straight boom demolition excavator.
As ever, Caterpillar was the consummate host. The equipment was impressive, the weather was warm and the hospitality was even warmer still. But for all that, my lasting memory of that trip was not of machines or of sardines in the sunshine but of the work Caterpillar is doing behind the scenes to combat the perennial but potentially deadly issue of operator fatigue, alertness, vigilance and distraction.
This is an issue that is addressed in this exclusive and extended episode of Demolition News Radio by Mitch Cowart of the Caterpillar Safety Technology team.
Telematics don’t get a bad press. In fact, in many instances, it gets no press at all.
You see, the problem is, advances in this area tend to get lost amongst details of new machine launches.
Which is a shame, because telematics is perhaps the most dynamic part of the demolition and construction equipment market right now.
It is developing faster than any other aspect of the plant industry, and it holds the potential to enhance safety, reduce fuel consumption, reduce emissions and make the entire industry safer, more productive and more profitable.
So we caught up with three key members of the JCB team to find out more about the advances in its LiveLink product offering.
A joint venture between C&D Consultancy and Prosafe Consultants Limited recently delivered an important new demolition training course targeting the delicate and often overlooked issue of adult mental health awareness.
In this episode of Training Talk, we speak to Prosafe's Danny Kearney, one of the driving forces behind the new training course and a vocal advocate for greater mental health awareness across the industry.
So, an Englishman joined a party of Europeans in Japan to record an interview with an American...!
During the recent European Demolition Association Study Tour to Japan, Demolition News Radio caught up with Christopher (Chris) Godek, the new president of the National Demolition Association in the US.
Godek gave a memorable speech to mark the official end of the formal part of that tour, and so I grabbed him as he came off stage to capture just some of the flavour of that speech and to find out more about the hopes and ambitions of an outgoing, forward-looking and statesmanlike NDA president.
This extended episode of Demolition News Radio was recorded almost entirely in Japan during the European Demolition Association Study Tour to the country.
Unscripted and largely unedited, this episode has been recorded to capture some of the sights, sounds and even smells that I encountered during a truly memorable trip to a truly remarkable country.
My thanks to Caterpillar and to Finning UK for making the trip and this podcast possible.
Against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, the UK construction industry continues to confound and confuse.
Builders' Conference CEO Neil Edwards attempts to make sense of an industry that is seemingly rewriting the rule book.
This is the pilot episode of what we hope will evolve to become the latest series on the Demolition News Radio network.
The basic premise of this show is very simple. Take a dozen or so standard questions, and ask individuals from across the demolition spectrum to answer them as honestly and comprehensively as possible. Over time, we are hoping this will give us all a unique insight into the industry, hence the name of the show.
So, in our pilot show, we have set our dozen questions and asked Chris Charlton of CJ Charlton Group to share his insights.
In this episode, we feature an exclusive interview with Dr Terry Quarmby, former president of the Institute of Demolition Engineers and driving force/lead lecturer behind the IDE's Foundation Degree Course that is currently underway at Wolverhampton University.
What if there came a time when demolition companies found themselves being prosecuted retrospectively and fined for their role in causing issues with the mental health of their workers? What if those prosecutions mirrored those handed down for physical problems such as asbestos-related diseases or conditions caused by excessive hand arm vibration? And what if those prosecutions could be effectively back-dated to cover those effected by stress or post-traumatic stress disorders today, last year or 10 or 20 years ago?
Am I right to worry? Are you worried with me?
On a day upon which I find myself once again taking Citalopram tablets to help with my ongoing bout of depression, here's another quick insight into my current bout of depression.
I don't normally say this but can I please urge you to listen to the very end, particularly if you know someone that you think might be struggling at present.
Has the demolition industry placed too much faith in certificates, competence cards and insurance policies? Is the sector guilty of a creeping complacency? And were we better (and safer) whe company management took a more "hands-on" role?
This is the second part of our exclusive interview with Howard Button and Lesley Ransome of the National Demolition Training Group. If you didn't catch the first episode, we strongly suggest that you check that out. Just search for Demolition News Radio on the podcast platform of your choosing.
Training Talk is a new show that is dedicated to the subject of demolition training, a sector that moves almost as fast as the industry it serves.
In this launch episode, we are delighted to bring you the first part of a two-part interview with Howard Button and Lesley Ransome of the National Demolition Training Group.
We sincerely hope you enjoy this launch episode and that you will check back soon for the second instalment.
The problem with talking about mental health issues is that it is generally done in retrospect; looking back at a period of intense negativity whilst wrapped in a blanket of renewed positivity. That's like asking an alcoholic to explain their addiction after they've been sober for 20 years. I am not sure that helps anyone.
As someone that has suffered from mental health issues in the past, I know the signs. And I promised that the next time I encountered that dreaded black dog of depression that I would write or record something while I was still in the midst of that encounter.
And so here it is. This is how I feel today. Right now.
To have moved an industry on is itself worthy of applause. To have helped shape that industry long after you have ceased to be a part of it is surely the ultimate accolade; one that is worth way more than any upward career move or positive profit report.
February is the shortest month of the year so, traditionally, it has served up some of the lowest monthly totals on the BCLive league table. It does not enjoy the post-festive period upswing that characterises January and, this year, February serves as the beginning of the final countdown to Brexit and all the uncertainty that brings with it.
But the UK construction sector is notorious for ploughing its own furrow whilst marching to the beat of its own distinctive drum. So wouldn’t you just know that the UK construction sector would fly in the face of tradition and expectation by enjoying one of the biggest months since the BCLive league table was created?
The annual general meeting of the UK's National Demolition Training Group took place in London on Friday last week. But, at a time when the future of demolition training in the UK is at a crossroads, non-NFDC members were grossly under-represented. Yet these same companies will be the first to complain if there is a hike in training costs.
After 11 consecutive months in which the value of new construction contract awards did not once dip below the £4.0 billion mark, the £2.7 billion posted in December 2018 was a bitter disappointment filled with ominous portent.
So was this merely a seasonal glitch or was it a sign that the pre-Brexit jitters have finally taken hold?
We spoke to Builders Conference CEO Neil Edwards to find out.
The digger driver that rampaged through a Travelodge hotel lobby earlier this week throws a spotlight onto the evergreen issue of non and late payments in the UK construction sector. In fact, this one man's actions were almost inevitable in a sector in which late payment by larger contractors is worn as a badge of honour; something to be proud of.
To post or not to post, that is the question. Yesterday, we posted a 1987 BBC documentary on DemolitionNews.com. It provided a fascinating insight into the demolition industry some three decades ago. But it also featured a man that has subsequently been convicted of child sex crimes. So should we have posted it or not? Can we rewrite history by glossing over unpalatable events? And if we can't post this video, should we continue to feature demolition firms that have been found guilty in the injury or death of a demolition worker?
After 11 consecutive months during which the BCLive league table of new contract awards never ONCE dipped below the £4 billion monthly total, could the industry achieve a full year of unsurpassed positivity and stability?
An object lesson in why I should practice what I preach; and how a single comment on LinkedIn might just have saved my son's life.
Our thanks to Mavis Nye for inspiring this episode. Contributions to her charitable foundation can be made here: https://www.mavisnyefoundation.com/
Clocking up a massive £6.0 billion in new contract awards during October 2018, it seems that the UK construction industry has no truck with talk of Brexit-led crises.
But there is concern that the continued strength of the housing sector might ultimately prove to be to the industry's detriment.
In this Halloween special, Demolition News Radio brings you what we believe to be the world's first demolition ghost story.
Our thanks to Safedem's William Sinclair for his help and inspiration in the creation of this short story.
What would happen if you lost everything? Could you recover? Could you bounce back? Would you?
Having recently (though, thankfully, temporarily) lost more than five years' worth of data, I have stared into the abyss. And this time, I managed to step back from the edge. Could you?
After eight consecutive months in which the UK construction has achieved a new contracts award total of £4 billion, the BCLive league table held its breath for the outcome of the September countdown. And it wasn't disappointed.
The Builders' Conference CEO Neil Edwards looks over the figures.
Demolition is an industry of borrowers. The industry appropriated explosive technology developed for the quarry industry. It adopted hydraulic excavators from the construction sector. And it embraced hydraulic attachments.
So is there anything we might learn from the crane sector; anything that heavy lifting specialists might teach us; anything that we might apply to make the demolition industry safer or more efficient?
Cuddy Group accomplished so much over so many years. It carried out literally hundreds of successful demolition contracts. It employed and trained thousands of men and women; men and women that would help nourish the UK demolition gene pool for many years to come. It helped raise the standards for demolition in their native Wales and beyond.
But at the final reckoning, Cuddy Group's legacy is 68 slightly dog-eared A4 pages.
In the social media age, the ability to tell consistent, memorable and engaging stories is a key consideration across all aspects of the demolition business.
Don't believe me? Listen to this episode and see if you can remember the key facts afterwards.
The demolition industry has made huge strides in safeguarding the physical health and well-being of its workers. But the time has come for the industry to unite and take similarly good care of their mental health too.
Further falls in scrap prices; scrap pirates target sunken Royal Navy ships; and ScrapsAway focuses on trust within the industry. All this and more in the second episode of ScrapChat, exclusive to Demolition News Radio.
The relationship between the Health & Safety Executive and the demolition industry should be a two-way street.
But that relationship is undermined by the HSE's eagerness to enforce, and its reluctance to endorse.
Every major development in the demolition business in the last 20, 30 or 40 years has made the practice of demolition – actually getting a structure on the ground – easier, faster and safer.
And yet, during that same period, actually running a demolition business has grown progressively and inexorably harder.
In this launch episode, we look at how a growing trade war between China and the US is impacting on global scrap prices; how some recent rationalisation within the UK scrap sector has fallen foul of the Competition and Markets Authority.
But we start by addressing the large metal elephant in the room – The ongoing fall in scrap prices.
Long overdue, this episode is dedicated to all the under-appreciated people that have helped make Demolition News the global force that it is today; the people who have supported me personally over the years; the demolition and construction people that brighten my day.
A man called Samuel Landis is currently in a Miami hospital as a result of a demolition accident earlier this week. I don't know Samuel or his family. But my thoughts, and those of the global demolition brotherhood, are with him and his family and friends right now.
The purchase of a Bentley might be a sign that a demolition director is doing well. Equally, it could be an indicator that the demolition director has lost focus and that a financial crisis might just lurk on the horizon.
When the reaction to the publication of a rainbow-coloured digger is "get that gay shit off my Instagram feed", it is clear that the industry still has a long way to go till it achieves anything even approaching inclusivity.
For the next year, we will be following the fortunes of a new demolition company called b-line. In this pilot episode, we lay out the intentions of the show which will also appear on our Demolition TV YouTube channel AND in the Demolition magazine.
A diagram tracking construction workload over a year generally looks like the wave patterns experienced in the North Atlantic with perilous peaks and bottomless falls.
But since the beginning of 2018, that chart has looked as calm as the most serene of mill-ponds.
And that continued in May as the industry delivered a BCLive league table total of £4.34 billion, the fifth consecutive month in which the sector has topped the £4 billion monthly total that is rapidly becoming the accepted and expected norm.
With a potential financial bonanza from the decommissioning and dismantling of oil and gas platforms, there has never been a better time to pioneer and develop new equipment, new methods, and new techniques.
The National Federation of Demolition Contractors has less members than it had a decade ago, and yet it employs five times as many people and operates from about 20 times as much office space. How does that work?
The birth of a demolition company.
We follow a fledgling company as it takes its first tentative steps on the demolition ladder.
We will follow them as they recruit and train staff; as they purchase equipment; and as they win their first demolition projects.
And we plan to follow them throughout their first year in this rough, tough but ultimately rewarding business.
So check back soon for the first episode of:
Birth of a demolition company, exclusive to Demolition News Radio.
A mammoth framework project for the residential arm of Wates Group could mean a windfall for demolition contractors in the south of England.
This episode is sponsored by The Builders' Conference and the BCLive league table.
In our 100th episode, we look at three quarters of the UK's demolition contractors are abiding by the training rules and regulations laid down by the other quarter; and how they're paying handsomely to do so.
If you are a non-NFDC company that uses the NDTG's training services, we strongly recommend that you give this a listen.
Just days after Erith Group confirmed that it had won more work in a single month than construction behemoths Sir Robert McAlpine and Laing O'Rourke, we look at the dawning of a new era of super-sized demolition companies.
With the UK's National Federation of Demolition Contractors scheduled to meet soon for an extraordinary general meeting that MIGHT decide the fate of the incumbent Federation president, Demolition News Radio acts as soothsayer.
On Friday last week, I returned to the Didcot A Power Station, the scene of an accident that killed four demolition men on 23 February 2016.
I went primarily to pay my respects to those four men who were taken from the families and friends on that fateful day.
I went also to be a part of a BBC Radio show that looked back on the events that unfolded on that terrible day, and the events that have unfolded since.
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