Engaging with local community groups well in advance of explosive demolition projects is just as important as the technical aspects of such projects, said William Sinclair, managing director of UK demolition contractor Safedem.
Mr Sinclair, whose company has used explosive demolition techniques on 100 high rise structures in the UK, told delegates to the World Demolition Summit; “The key issue is not the proximity of homes and businesses. The key issue is the thousands of former occupants, the general public [who often have pre-conceived ideas about demolition].”
He said Safedem had developed a dedicated community liaison team to engage with local occupants and offices in advance of projects. It conducts community meetings, makes door to door calls, publishes newsletters in up to 20 languages, produces mini project websites and visits schools and colleges.
“We have to keep local people and local businesses very close during planning”, he said, “so that we can keep them at a distance during the actual demolition project.”
Mr Sinclair said that the use of explosives on inner city high rise demolition projects offered many advantages; “It can be cost-effective and competitive. Most of the preparatory work is not intrusive, with little external impact.”
Safedem’s next major project will be the explosive demolition of eight high rise blocks in Glasgow, UK.