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University of Manchester – Demolition of Moberly Tower

Back to Uni for Connell Brothers!
The Demolition of Moberly Tower, Oxford Road, Manchester

 – University of Manchester

“It’s back to Uni” for Connell Brothers and their demolition team for yet another term at the UK’s largest University, – The University of Manchester.

Having successfully completed the demolition of the former 21 storey Maths Tower in March 2006, Connell Brothers Ltd have returned and are currently carrying out the demolition of the former 14-storey Moberly Tower and Refectory as part of the development of 21st century facilities on site. The University is host to approximately 35,000 students from all over the world and employs in excess of 11,000 personnel.

The demolition project is situated at the heart of the campus, and is surrounded by iconic historical buildings – in close proximity to the “world famous” John Rylands University Library, the Samuel Alexander Building, the Students’ Union and fronting the busy city centre arterial route of Oxford Road.

The 32 week demolition project forms part of the University’s plans for a new ‘Learning Commons’ at the heart of the campus to meet the needs of 21st century students.

Connell Brothers have adopted a flexible approach to the planning of the works and any items that have an impact on noise, vibration and vehicle movements are scheduled for completion out of normal University operating hours. (Nights & weekends)

‘Learning Commons’ facilities are being developed at a growing number of universities around the world and they typically include PC terminals, interactive learning facilities, quiet study areas and social learning spaces forming the hub for student-centered activities.

The demolition of the tower and refectory will open up the area allowing for the planning and future creation of a flexible learning space that will provide integrated learning environments supported by advanced technologies.

The project is contained within a restricted footprint and is now at the stage were the 14 storey tower and refectory building have been encased to three elevations by full height scaffold. The tower is currently being de-constructed floor by floor, employing the use of specially equipped mini-excavators working at roof height.

The west refectory building demolition has commenced, high reach machines have opened up the site for access to the tower. In opening up the site the side walls of the structure and scaffolded elevations have been retained as a protective barrier. Once the tower has been deconstructed to a suitable height employing the floor by floor method, the high reach ground based machines will carry out the remaining demolition.

Students and other campus users continue with their daily business as the works proceed with a minimal amount of disruption.

Connell Brothers are monitoring the level of noise and vibration resulting from the work to ensure no adverse effects arising from the works.

The health, safety and welfare of students, campus users and members of the public is of paramount importance to the management team. Therefore a weekly meeting/forum has been established to address any concerns that may be raised. The meeting/forum is attended by the University’s appointed Project Managers (AA Projects) and to date no major concerns have been reported.

Connell Brothers have adopted a flexible approach to the planning of the works and any items that have an impact on noise, vibration and vehicle movements are scheduled for completion out of normal University operating hours. (Nights & weekends)

Furthermore Connell Brothers have made every attempt to employ experienced personnel who are sympathetic and fully conversant with the needs of the University of Manchester.

Every effort has been made to bring together the former members of the Maths Tower “demolition team” including the management and site personnel. Valuable lessons were learned on the Maths Tower project which will add value to the current demolition of Moberly Tower and Refectory.

The work is carefully progressing without incident toward the targeted date for completion at the end of March 2010.

For further information, please contact Steve Balyski on 0161 925 0606 or