Manchester City Council – Demolition of Offices

Belle Vue Leisure Centre, Pink Bank Lane
Connell Brothers were appointed to carry out the demolition of an office block at the front of a leisure complex on Pink bank lane in Manchester. The building consisted of a four storey steel framed building with block and beam flooring and composite cladding to the external walls.

Adjacent to the main office building was a single storey structure with a basement plant room. The office was connected to the leisure complex by a lightweight steel framed single storey link.

Opposite the site was a school that required access to the leisure centre at all times.

During the course of the works it was essential that access to the leisure centre was not interrupted and that all activities could carry on as normal.

Asbestos was present throughout the main building and within the boiler house. This was removed under fully controlled conditions in a pre-determined sequence to enable soft strip to be carried out at the same time. The lift was removed and utilised as a drop chute for the removal of the soft strip materials.

In addition, preliminary works consisting of the erection of a temporary waterproof screen, removal of part of the link structure and the erection of a new block wall to separate the demolition site from the working leisure centre was carried out. Following the erection of the new dividing wall the remaining link section was removed by hand to fully separate the main building.

Following the erection of the new partition wall to the link and the separation of the link scaffold protection deck was erected to the remaining link structure.

In order to maintain full vehicular access to the leisure complex a temporary access was formed for the use of site traffic onto the main road at the front of the site. This access was also required as the pupils from the school adjacent to the site needed to cross the adjacent road to access the leisure centre and the new access resulted in no additional traffic on this road.

Road plates and non-slip surfacing were used to cross the pavement and a temporary roadway formed using hardcore. Fencing was erected to ensure segregation from the users of the leisure centre.
Once all the preliminary works were completed the demolition of the main office building could commence.

Asbestos containing materials were present throughout the building and a co-ordinated programme of works was set in place to ensure the removal was carried out ahead of the soft stripping. During this time those areas were asbestos was not present could be safely soft stripped in order to maintain the programme.

Operatives equipped with hand tools removed items such as ceiling finishes, partitions, doors and door frames, carpets and the like and removed them from the building via the drop chute. From here they were placed in skips by an excavator. Operatives segregated the materials prior to removing them from the building in order to minimise the amount going to landfill.

At the same time the asbestos material were removed by fully trained operatives working in fully controlled conditions. A separate transit route utilising the internal staircase was formed and the double bagged material was carried manually to lockable skips for disposal off site.

Once the soft strip and asbestos removal works had been completed the main structural demolition could commence. Mini excavators were placed on the top floor of the building and, working in close co-ordination with operatives on the external scaffold, the roof of the building adjacent to the link structure was removed. The section of wall above the link was then removed and the building worked down floor by floor in this section.

During the course of these works the single storey boiler-house at the end of the building was demolished and the basement backfilled to give access to the gable wall.

In this way the section of the building to the rear in close proximity to the link could be removed enabling larger demolition plant to be utilised in the main demolition works. These were carried out using a high reach excavator assisted by smaller ground based demolition excavators.

Demolition of the main building was carried out on two fronts. A traditional ground based demolition excavator together with a high reach excavator removed the external cladding to the building prior to structural demolition commencing. A section of roof was then removed to the gable end by the high reach excavator to allow the remaining floor to be removed by a traditional excavator.

Whilst the lower levels were being demolished to the gable end the high reach excavator commenced demolition to the middle of the building, opposite the link. Working in this manner to the centre of the building enabled all materials to be removed to the front, away from the link structure. As the middle of the building was removed the rear scaffold was also removed.
The remaining building was demolished in a piecemeal manner working along the length of the building bay by bay.

Following the removal of the superstructure the ground floor slab and foundations were removed. As this commenced asbestos cement was found below the slab and all work ceased. Further investigations were carried out by breaking out areas of slab and further asbestos materials were discovered in these locations.

Following consultation with the client a scheme was put in place to allow the slab and asbestos materials to be removed.
The area of the slab was fenced off and the slab was broken out in small sections working systematically across the site. As each section of the slab was being removed the asbestos operatives damped the area down using a water spray to surpass any possible fibre release. Once an area had been removed the excavator stopped work and the operatives hand picked the asbestos cement from beneath the slab. Working in this manner enabled the asbestos to be safely removed from the entire slab area.

Following the completion of the demolition works the site was graded level and finished with a stone covering and a timber knee rail. Selected areas were reinstated with tarmac and new paving slabs to provide access and the temporary site access reinstated.

Key Facts

The project presented a number of challenges throughout its duration. Close liaison was required with the leisure centre to maintain access at all times and to ensure the works did not interrupt daily activities. The requirement to maintain a safe access across the side road for the pupils of the adjacent school was achieved by installing the temporary access away from the school on the adjacent road and deliveries of large plant were scheduled for out of hours times to minimise disruption. The unexpected presence of asbestos below the slab required close liasion with the client in order to formulate a safe removal strategy. These challenges were overcome by Connell Brothers maintaining a close working relationship with the Client and the leisure centre management to ensure works were completed on time with minimum disruption.
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