Structures demolished by the controlled use of explosives have become an inherent part of services offered by demolition contractors.

This is particularly the case when working on urban regeneration projects confined to a small footprint or in the power generation and heavy industrial sectors where the structures’ more complex nature and size requires demolition contractors to assess the safety risk to employees working at height for long periods of time.

Brown and Mason demolition project at  Rugeley 'B' power station

February 13, 2020, the latest major explosive event at Rugeley ‘B’ power station, United Kingdom, for Brown and Mason

Structures demolished by the controlled use of explosives have become an inherent part of services offered by demolition contractors, particularly when working on urban regeneration projects that are confined to a small footprint or in the power generation and heavy industrial sectors where the structures’ more complex nature and size requires demolition contractors to assess the safety risk to employees working at height for long periods of time.

Brown and Mason has been involved in the heavy industrial demolition sector for over five decades and have been responsible for the clearance of almost 60 power stations in the United Kingdom.

Bunker bay demolition
The design, planning and execution of all controlled explosives tasks on these contracts are carried out by BAM’s in-house engineering team and they have generated some iconic images during that time.

Brown and Mason secured the contract to demolish Rugeley ‘B’ in April 2018.

The power station comprises two 500 MW coal-fired generating units commissioned in the early 1970s.

To date, six major explosive events have taken place with the most recent being the bunker bay, which was demolished on the morning of February 13, 2020. The structure was 112 m (367 ft) long, 11.6 m (38 ft) wide and 42 m (137 ft) high.

The power station is situated next to a major National Grid sub-station, the boundary of which is less than 40 m (131 ft) from the external wall of the now demolished turbine hall wall.

Each of the explosive demolition activities have been designed and conducted with precision to ensure there has been no disruption to the National Grid facility or any impact on the local environment.

Projects undertaken during the past decade have included:

  • Inverkip Power Station chimney - the tallest free-standing structure in Scotland
  • Cockenzie Power Station chimneys – due to lack of space available on site due to the station’s proximity to the Firth of Forth as well as the neighbouring village, the team designed a demolition operation with the two chimneys directly striking each other on their downward trajectory
  • Grain Power Station chimney – vertical demolition of the second tallest chimney in Britain and the tallest concrete structure ever demolished in the United Kingdom
  • Longannet Power Station – a mega blow down of turbine hall, deaerator bay and boiler house.

BAM said that while the visual spectacle of chimneys and cooling towers being demolished is likely to bring more appreciation from members of the general public for its “wow factor”, the more technically challenging projects are the structures that provide a challenge for both the design team and the highly skilled enabling works teams of operatives who spend many hours preparing the steel structures for demolition.

  • Article first published in the March 2020 issue of Demolition & Recycling International

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