Manchester Metropolitan University

The Demolition of Loxford Tower
Connell Brothers were appointed as demolition contractors for the demolition of Loxford Tower at the Manchester City Centre Campus on behalf of Manchester Metropolitan University. The University employs some 4,000 staff and is home to approximately 34,000 students.

Loxford Tower comprised an 11 storey brick clad accommodation/teaching block adjacent to the live Sandra Burslem Building (part of Manchester Metropolitan University), St Augustine’s Catholic Church and just to the south of the Mancunian Way, (A57M) an elevated 4 lane ring road with an exit slip road running along the north face of the building.

The 8 storey U-shaped accommodation tower sat on top of a square podium section which contained the lecture theatres/studios and a refractory. The main demolition processes included asbestos removal, soft stripping, removal of an existing sub-station to the basement and demolition and removal of foundations.

Prior to demolition commencing the asbestos materials were removed by our in-house ARCA trained asbestos operatives and due to the close proximity of the Sandra Burslem Building, full height scaffold was erected to the east side of the Tower and part way along the north side prior to demolition. This enabled access to be maintained throughout the works for students and staff accessing the Sandra Burslem Building.

The top section of the tower was demolished using the floor by floor technique utilising mini-excavators placed on the roof by crane and systematically demolishing each floor. There were no structural drawings available for the tower and therefore Connell Brothers were required to carry out a full site investigation and structural appraisal of the building in order to design a propping scheme to carry out the floor by floor demolition works.

The remainder of the building was demolished using a combination of specialist high reach and traditional demolition excavators. Three high reach excavators were utilised, a 120 T CAT 375 with a 40 m boom, a 50 T Case 460 with a 28 m boom and a 40 T Kobelco with a 20 m boom, all fully owned by Connell Brothers.

Connell Brothers were fully aware of the environmental impact of demolition works and fully committed to re-cycling in order to reduce the amount of material sent to landfill. Demolition materials were segregated at source and sent via various waste routes to be re-cycled.

For this project the hard demolition materials were crushed on site and used to form a piling mat to aid the succeeding development works. The crushed materials were subject to testing to confirm their suitability for this use, and having constructed the piling mat, the site was then subject to CBR testing to confirm the piling mats structural stability. The overall project achieved a recycling rate in excess of 90% of the total waste materials generated.

The works also required the removal of the piles to a depth of at least 2 metres below ground level. There were over 160 piles of various diameters and each pile location was recorded prior to its removal. All basement walls were also removed and the voids backfilled before the piling mat was constructed.

Supplementary to the demolition works, there were a number of services to be retained; this included the 600 mm diameter gas main adjacent to the building. This had to be located and protected by the use of Heras fencing, and a crossing point for plant provided by the use of steel plates and Navi mats. In addition other services in the area such as gas, water and electricity remained live in various areas and these were marked on site and barriered off to prevent accidental damage. Other services to the building were identified and exposed to enable them to be disconnected prior to the commencement of demolition works.


Throughout the works Connell Brothers carried out a strict regime of liaisons with the Stakeholders involved with the project including adjoining neighbours. Monthly liaison meetings took place to enable the work to be planned around the requirements of the campus and the local church. Traffic movements and demolition works were phased to take account of university open days, presentation days examination schedules and church services, weddings and funerals. Consideration was also given to the close proximity of student accommodation.

The liaison meetings resulted in great success with no complaints being received from any of the Stakeholders.


Key Facts

List of Stakeholders Father Christopher of St. Augustine’s Chaplaincy The following MMU faculties and departments: The School of Law The International Office Customer Services Reprographics Human Resources Communications Library Services Estates and Finances Student Resident Services CLIENT: Manchester Metropolitan University CONTRACT ADMINISTRATORS AND ENGINEERS: Scott Hughes Design COST CONSULTANTS: Turner Townsend 
CDM CO-ORDINATOR: Keelagher Okey Klein Associates Ltd
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