D-Drill demolish a blast-proof building
John Emberson, the North East branch manager of nationally-acclaimed diamond drilling and concrete sawing company D-Drill, was called in to demolish a structure based on the side of the university’s iconic Armstrong Building.
It is the university’s oldest building which was constructed in three stages and dates back to 1888, and the company was required to work carefully to avoid damaging the original structure.
Not only were the skilled D-Drill operatives up against the blast-proof building with thick concrete walls and a 1.2 metre thick roof, a narrow courtyard meant they had limited access to the site.
John said: “I was delighted to receive the call – it’s not every day you are asked to demolish a blast-proof building.
“It was built onto the outside wall of the main Armstrong Building, situated in a small courtyard. This was probably built for a horse and cart to go through, which meant we had very limited access.
“The biggest part of the job was to remove the structure without damaging part of the original building which required our skills and experience.
“I decided that we would need to start by drilling and hydraulic bursting the roof, then as the roof was removed we drilled and burst the walls as we progressed.”
After cracking the concrete walls, the company used a BROKK 90 – the latest technology in remote controlled demolition machines – to break the concrete down to floor level before it was safely removed.
John added: “Of course, we always take great care to work in a very safe and controlled way but as the Armstrong Building is such an iconic building steeped in history, this was of paramount importance.
“We were very pleased with how smoothly the demolition went. We completed the job very safely in a quick time and this has been recognised by the university and the main contractor who have given us a lot more work as a result of this.
“We now look forward to working with the main contractor and Newcastle University on future projects.”