UK contractor Lawson Group has made a substantial fleet investment to assist it in the demolition of the former GCHQ in Cheltenham to make way for a major residential development. Supplied by UK Cat dealer Finning, the new fleet deal consists of a Cat 374DL, two Cat 336ELs, a MP30 work tool and the Finning Finsight equipment monitoring service. The 374DL, complete with a 3.8 cubic metre (135 cubic foot) heavily modified bucket, is being used to rip apart the vast network of reinforced concrete tunnels and data cabling.
In addition to the new equipment, the business has also opted for a complete engine change out for its existing Cat 365CL excavator. These new and refurbished machines have been joined on the site by two Cat 323DL excavators and a Cat 962H wheel loader.
Commenting on the deal and the GCHQ project, Martin Wilson, managing director of Lawson Group said: “This is a particularly challenging project, as it was not the above ground buildings we had to worry about, it was what awaited us below the ground. This is why we opted to add the Cat 374DL to our fleet, as we required a really powerful piece of equipment to cope with this and additional secured work.”
“With our new additions, we have now grown our Caterpillar fleet to 14 units, strengthening our capabilities to offer customers not just demolition services, but complete site remediation, including material re-handling and recycling. We now have an 11 year ongoing relationship with Finning and Caterpillar and with sustainability now so important in our industry, it is vital that our suppliers become an integral part of our business.”
Previously GCHQ was based at Bletchley Park, the home of the codebreakers who cracked the German military Enigma code. The move to Cheltenham’s Oakley Park site was prompted after GCHQ’s location was picked up at the end of the 1940s and concerns were raised about the security of Bletchley Park.
Cheltenham hosted a range of positive opportunities that contributed to the move. While the current Headquarters is now based at the Benhall Cheltenham site in the building nicknamed “The Doughnut”, their former home has lain vacant since 2004 on the opposite side of town. As the Oakley Site developed it comprised of over 30 buildings with the most recognisable being the “Green Monster” building visible from most of the town.