Demolition of 7 Multi-Storey Tower Blocks

Hattersley Project – Demolition of 7 Multi-Storey Tower Blocks
Connell Brothers completed the demolition of 7 Multi-Storey 1960’s Tower blocks in Hattersley, Hyde. The Contract is the largest demolition project ever awarded by the City of Manchester.

The tower blocks form part of the Hattersley over spill estate owned by the City of Manchester, but located in the adjacent Metropolitan Borough of Tameside.

Connell Brothers adopted an innovative approach to the demolition of the seven blocks by employing varying methods of demolition.

Two blocks, Sandybank Court and Chapman Court were demolished using a specialist highreach excavator, capable of working to a height of 41 metres.

Due to the location of Fields Court, situated 25 metres from the main line Railway station and adjacent residential properties 8 metres away, Connell Brothers demolished the tower block employing the floor by floor deconstruction method.

With the remaining four tower blocks (Underwood, Honiton, Hattersley and Waterside Courts) Connell Brothers adopted the explosive method of demolition. Prior to commencement of any work on site, extensive preparatory works had to be carried out.

With the seven Multi-storey blocks being scattered over the estate, security fencing, 3.8 metres high and totalling 1200 metres in length was erected for protection of the public, 24hr patrols where implemented.

Having remained empty for some period of time, the blocks and had become the roost for pigeons and this therefore necessitated an environmental clean up and decontamination operation requiring the removal of extensive amounts of pigeon droppings.

Teams of Operatives equipped with full PPE including disposable overalls breathing apparatus and decontamination facilities, dampened down the droppings with a fine mist spray of “Ornikill” disinfectant to prevent the escape of airborne spores. The droppings were collected, and double bagged prior to disposal as special waste.

Once decontaminated, teams of operatives commenced the removal of Asbestos to all seven blocks. 

Representatives from Manchester City Council “Environmental Hazards Unit” carried out daily site monitoring ensuring compliance with legislation. Upon completion of Asbestos Removal works clean air certificates were issued which enabled the demolition to commence in earnest.

During the course of the works over 50 skilled operatives were employed on the project including 
5 explosive engineers.

The 4 blocks demolished by explosives were spread over a huge area of 1km by 0.5km with low-rise housing between. This necessitated the largest ever UK demolition evacuation, involving more than 1200 residents from 405 properties.

Close liaison was a key factor in ensuring the successful outcome of the project. Connell Brothers attended meetings with the Client, police, local Housing Dept, Statutory Authorities, Local steering groups and public meetings to keep all parties informed on the procedures, planning and phasing of the works and the sequence of events on the day of blowdown. Liaison also had to be carried out with numerous departments within Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, in whose authority the estate was located.

Further negotiations & approvals were also sought from the Civil Aviation Authority due to the site being located on the incoming flight path to Manchester International Airport.


Please click on the images below to view the videos.

On Sunday 22nd April 2001, with months of preparatory work completed, the area was evacuated, with 50 sentries and 26 police officers lining the perimeter. 12. noon saw the successful demolition of the four tower blocks.

Commencing at the North elevation of the site and with a 3-second delay between each block, Underwood, Honiton, Waterside and Hattersley Courts were successfully brought down in sequence.

The explosive demolition required the use of 80kg of explosive and 2400 non-electric detonating charges, reducing the four blocks to 32,000 tonnes of rubble.

Key Facts

Once the areas and adjacent properties had been inspected, clean up works were completed and residents were allowed to return to their homes. The debris arising from the demolition works was approximately 56,000 cubic metres, all of which was processed on site for re-cycling and re use. The project, which has taken over 26 weeks to complete, was carried out without injury to staff or members of the public.
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