Demolition and Coronavirus: looking ahead

30 July 2020

Steve Ducker (Editor, Demolition & Recycling International and webinar moderator)
How has Coronavirus affected the EDA?

Francisco Cobo (President, European Demolition Association)
We have had regular meetings of the EDA board to monitor the situation and provide support to members.

Paco_Cobo web FINAL

Francisco Cobo, president, European Demolition Association

In some countries such as the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, or Sweden government strategy on whether business stayed open had very little impact on the operations.

Another group of countries had some restrictions, but these were limited to one or two weeks, such as in Germany, Greece and Serbia.

And there was another group where 50% of companies had to close for between two weeks and two months.

Maybe not every company in the same country went through the same situation, but this was the scenario in countries such as Italy, Russia, Ireland and France.

Can you say when we can expect demolition and construction to get back to some sort of a normal position?

For the future, of course we want to always stay positive, we have to survive.

The year before we had a meeting of the EDA board and I also have to mention the regular meetings we have with the National Demolition Association of the USA to monitor the situation, and in all of these meetings we close with a positive message.

In many countries, the industry has been very positive. With demolition people, we face all kinds of unexpected difficulties every day and we will be ready to face this much more.

But even with a crystal ball I don’t think I could answer this question.

Is the likely economic contraction going to create a tightening of the demolition market in terms of cost, or a greater focus on quality safety and health, with the acceptance of potentially higher costs?

In most European countries, the social system was pushed to the limits, with many governments helping companies to gain access to regular cash flow and helping the companies to maintain employment.

Today, most demolition companies across Europe are active again but we are concerned about the last quarter of the year. We want to stay positive but we must be realistic.

How have businesses sought to innovate to reduce manpower on site and speed up project delivery times at the same time?

We started to compile answers at the end of February to have our industry report ready for June. But at the end of March we stopped the survey.

We have already had feedback from many members who were trying to reduce the workforce.

When there is no clear future everything stops.

What is the most important single, positive message in your particular sector?

The industry is more united than ever, associations have had a clear role, be that the NFDC or one of the national associations. This pandemic is not gone, it can come at any time and by staying together we will be stronger.

  • Interview based on the Demolition after Coronavirus webinar held online on June 3 also featuring David Darsey (Managing Director, Demolition Division, Erith Group) and Martin Krupicka (President and CEO, Brokk Group). More coverage is in the June-July issue, or to download the full 55-minute video please visit the premium content section of
  • The webinar sponsors were the National Federation of Demolition Contractors, Applied Science International, McCloskey International and Yantai Eddie. Our thanks to them all
  • Thank you to all the audience members who took the time to join us online and those who submitted questions for the panel on the day.


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