Safe, healthy and sustainable demolition
2011-11-03T15:02:57Z (GMT) by
The £198M demolition industry sector is part of the construction industry, worth approximately £2.2bn in the UK p.a albeit such a small fraction it is nevertheless the largest provider of secondary building products, handles 32 million tonnes (approximately) of waste each year and is principally responsible for clearing brownfield sites in readiness for new build. Sustainable demolition activities are at the forefront of the UK Government and many NGO s policies on waste reduction, increased recycling and reclamation of waste building products at the end of life cycle. However, there are problems in developing more sustainable demolition processes based on historical methods of working, in particular, those involving manual handling activities. Whilst the UK construction industry boasts reduced accident and incident rates the demolition sectors rates are in the ascendency, rising by 43% overall from 1996 to 2009. That said, it would appear that those working within the sector are unaware of the rise in accidents which has steadily increased by 100% since 2000. Despite the demolition sector s increased use of mechanical applications for structural demolition, the prolonged and prolific method of stripping out buildings by hand remains a major risk and causal factor for injuries. The results of this research have identified the causation of such an increase in accident occurrence and has offered an insight into how the reduction of accident and incident may be accomplished. This research is unique in that practising exponents of the demolition sector have participated in providing exclusive evidence of methodology, accident reporting and waste handling protocols that give clear indications of a gulf in current thinking by government, NGO s and the enforcing authorities. The research has also identified failings in product and building design that create unsustainable conditions for safe, efficient and cost effective demolition, dismantling and handling of materials at end of life. This realisation also opens up the debate on the role of designers and their contribution to a safe and sustainable demolition process.