Marks & Spencers – Manchester a ‘World First’

The Project involved the demolition of bomb-damaged structures, which included a nine-storey building comprising of a two-storey retail Marks & Spencer store, with Michael House, a six-storey office block, located on the podium above the Plant Room.

Michael House was supported by five pre-stressed post-tensioned beams, which in turn were supported on columns passing through the two storeys of the store to sub-basement level. Particular attention to detail was required with the specialist techniques involved in the de-stressing/dismantling of the post-tensioned beams. The Project also called for the demolition of retail units along St. Mary’s Way and an office block (Macintosh House) to the northern elevation of the busy Shambles Square Plazza.

Once the structures were demolished, the entire area of the site was to be brought down to sub-basement level (two storeys below ground), involving fabrication and installation of specialist propping, to undercroft areas and demolition of below ground car park areas.

Connell Brothers adopted an innovative approach from early Tender Stage of the Project and throughout the execution of the works.

Due to the location of the site and building construction, Connell Brothers appointed Dr. John Roberts of Allott & Lomax Consulting Engineers, to deal with aspects of the structural tower, and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology to carry out monitoring for the de-stressing of post tensioned beams.

As the Project proceeded, Connell Brothers had to also adopt innovative and flexible methods of demolition in restricted times during the working day, employing percussion and non-percussion procedures to minimise noise and vibration, etc, to high street retail operators, telephone call centres and which remained open whilst the works proceeded.

The Management of the Project was carried out in close liaison with Bovis Construction Ltd. The Project was headed by Mr. B. Connell, Projects Director, with Site Supervisors, Foremen, Safety Advisor, Structural Consultants, Monitoring Consultants and a team of highly trained (CITB) demolition Operatives and machine Operators.

The Management called for regular Safety Audits of the site, weekly Tool Box Talks with regards to safety, regular Method Statement Induction courses for all Operatives on site, weekly Safety Meetings with Bovis Construction and weekly Progress Meetings with Bovis Construction. Regular auditing was undertaken by Bovis Construction to ensure that the Project Management procedures were followed.
Because of the specialist nature of the Project, Connell Brothers had budgeted within their Tender Costs for an amount of additional investment for plant/equipment for a specialist long reach excavator capable of reaching 30 metres, executing the works. The investment also included for procurement of city hammers, concrete cutter crunchers and specialist hand held silent concrete crushing, cutting and bursting, equipment.

A flexible approach to working was adopted in conjunction with Bovis Construction as the works proceeded. The site was bordered by high street retail operators, hotels, office blocks, tele-sales offices. Varying methods of operation were adopted at various times of the day, in order not to cause disruption to a densely populated retail/commercial centre, which was recovering from the effects of the bomb damage.

The Project, as described in the introduction, took seventeen months to complete, with a value in excess of 2.5million pounds. The Project works were phased, with set completion times, dates and costs for each stage and were completed according to time and cost.

Due to the densely populated commercial location of the site, Connell Brothers were keenly aware of the environmental awareness required on a Project of this size and nature. Detailed noise assessments were implemented, coupled with out-of-hours working, to ensure none or very little disruption.

Dust arising from the operation was also a main factor for consideration and the Project included regular suppression of dust, by hosing techniques and the installation of wheel washing facilities for all vehicles leaving the site. In addition, all vehicles leaving the site with debris were fully sheeted, as part of the suppression procedures.

Throughout the works, safety to all Personnel on site and the General Public was of paramount importance. A strict regime of safety procedures was implemented and Connell Brothers can report that no notifiable incidents occurred from commencement in November 1996 to completion in March 1998.

The Project has been acclaimed by leading engineers in the industry as a ‘world first’ and we attach photographic and editorial material detailing the stages of demolition

Key Facts

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