The Demolition of Building B403, Sellafield Image 1
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BNFL – Demolition of Building B403, Sellafield

The Sellafield skyline is never going to be quite the same again with the demolition of the seven-storey office building situated at the main gate by Connell Brothers. The old management centre, commonly known as building B403 had been the nerve centre for the site for more than thirty years.

Although the project did not involve the restraints involved with decommissioning a nuclear facility it did involve more conventional hazards including services isolation and asbestos removal. The building also contained paternoster and conventional lift shafts which required specialist demolition techniques.

The first stage of the demolition necessitated the stripping out of all timbers, ceiling and partitions. This was followed by the careful removal of asbestos which was done under the guidance of all current legislation. A high reach excavator equipped with a universal concrete processor conducted the main structural demolition. The building was reduced bay by bay in a pyramid fashion along the length as seen in the photograph below. Dust was suppressed using a jet powered fine water spray fitted to the boom of the machine. Demolition proceeded up to the lift shafts which were then carefully lowered to ground level by operatives working from the plant room securely harnessed in. The lift ropes were cut using long handled burning gear and the lifts were removed safely at ground level allowing the main structural demolition to continue.

One of the main challenges which faced Connell Brothers was the strict safety regime which exists on all BNFL sites which requires all contractors to work in accordance with the BNFL Sellafield site instructions, a complex set of 77 different safety instructions which must be adhered to at all times if work is going to be allowed to proceed. This meant Connell Operatives had to attend various safety courses and obtain various passes.

Nevertheless the works were completed safely, on time and without incident or accident.

Mr Tony Price, Head of Operations, plant and site services for BNFL praised Connell Brothers innovative approach to the demolition project and how it challenged the traditional ways of management, leading to a faster and more cost effective process.

For further information, please contact Steve Balyski on 0161 925 0606 or steve.b@connellbrothers.co.uk