European Good Practice Award 2006

European Agency for Occupational Safety and Health OSH


Demolition of 8storey building, on the onshore road at the city center of Thessaloniki, Greece.

DEMCON Demolition

It was September 2005 when engineers of a greek technical company GETEM SA visited us at our stand in the 23rd International Exhibition of Construction and Technology in Thessaloniki. They asked for a bid to demolish an 8storey building on the onshore road at the city center of Thessaloniki, they also wanted to begin the demolition in October, meaning next month.

We managed to organize our plan of the project in a few days with difficult and many hours working and matching tasks and responsibilities. We were all set to begin at October 1st, 2005.

The building needed scaffolding and extra props for the protection of the buildings which were abut on the structure to be demolished. The scaffold included 250m2 extra strong sackcloth of polythene with extra density 100non piercing. The location was very difficult to do anything because, apart form the other buildings that were very close, the 8storey construction was very old particularly it was built up in 1935, in the city center, in front of the onshore road with very much traffic and many people crossing the pavements the most of the day. Warning signs all over the place and supervisors were absolutely necessary to keep the order and prevent accidents with civilians. DEMCON is proud to demonstrate ?0? industrial accidents for 1500 days of work.

Of course there was a staircase which was too old, like all the building, and very possible to collapse at any minute because of the vibrations the compressors were producing. With safety nets, special props and skilled professionals we stabilized the staircase and brought it down with undisturbed cutting.

The safety measures are the first and the last thing that DEMCON observes. The workers did their best to keep all the surrounding untouched. The demolition started with air compressors used by hand to detach the structure from the other buildings carefully. We worked on each floor for the dismantlement and to do the floor openings using intercommunication devices for the best results. We did the dismantlement from the upper levels to the 3rd floor, all with air compressors manually by specialized and certified crew. At the level of the 3rd floor we put the trail hoe LIEBHER 942 with pulverizer to do the demolition. When the hoe entered the project we applied a complete Program of Vibration Monitoring with special seismographs, to record and control the speed of nutations.

There was nobody not one person to say that in winter in 70 days this building would be brought down. The weather did not help us at all. It was raining all the time especially in November. And then Christmas came along. Holidays, extra traffic, people shopping, and of course the vacation of our crew. Nevertheless, we were able to program our work and finish the project in due time.

When we reached the foundation the job was even more difficult because of the squashy ground. We knew that the base of the structure was fluid and unstable since it was 10 meters away from the sea. From the beginning when we were working on great height and using the compressors we had indications about the underground condition. To do the excavation we put special girderage δοκοί against the walls of the foundation and we did cement injections ενέσεις τσιμέντου to prevent the soil from falling down on us and the water from entering the pit. The emergency stuff was ready all the time to step in or pull out everyone. When we did the emergency drill we had audience and tv channels to show how is it done and how safely and effectively we do our job. We think the excavation was the most dangerous part of the project.

Do you realize how difficult was for the trucks to come to the place, load debris or soil and leave? We had to obtain a permit from the local authorities to stop the traffic on the roads around the project for 10 hours a day for almost 5 days each time. The trucks had to be there twice, first for the debris removal and second for the soil removal. And I call attention to the location, city center with narrow traditional roads and neo-classical buildings, also shops and cafeterias all around.

DEMCON has established a partnership with Advanced Explosives Demolition Inc, USA, Eric and Lisa Kelly at the year 2000. This cooperation gave us great knowledge about safety in either conventional or explosive demolitions. Through this kind of collaborations and the necessary certifications we have obtained the real know ? how of handling explosives not only safely but also artfully and actively. We started to associate with AED for the projects in Europe and we created the Advanced Explosives Demolition Europe which we represent in Europe. We jointly apply methods to complete projects such as the explosive demolition of 56 meters Silos in Kavala, North Greece. Another project we did together is the explosive demolition in industrial area of Kozani, North Greece, demolishing a 5 floor building in the facilities of a factory. We also have cooperated in a conventional demolition of the Research Institute JAMES K. DOBBS in Memphis Tennessee, USA.

Conventional demolition of Research Institute JAMES K. DOBBS Memphis Tennessee USA

At these projects and many others, one of the reasons DEMCON was chosen to do the demolition was our membership in NADC. The safety measures, we observe and show to our employers all the time, are part of our knowledge from NADC which is always ready to support our strategic movements. Here in Greece and generally in Europe, things are not the same as in USA. Culture is different, the way companies do jobs is different, the law for observing safety is not specific or non existent in some European countries, so NADC tried to adjust into this and give us a consequential advantage.

We try to establish the Safety measures in the workplace although the greek law does not help us very much. We have translated the Safety Manual of NADC into greek language so

as to give some knowledge to others and awake them. We are very grateful to Mr. Mike Taylor Executive Director, NADC for the help he provided us to all our efforts and for his immediate response to our requests no matter how laboured they were. DEMCON tries to show its solidity with one more way, by being the only company in Greece with agreements for recycling debris to protect the environment and the welfare of people.

DEMCON is really proud of being a member of NADC this membership helped us to gain many projects of great importance. The reputation of NADC all around the world and its credibility give us prestige and a considerable advantage to promote our work. The most important benefit is the knowledge of safety conditions for our workers, the environment and the rest of the people who involve with demolition with one or another way (suppliers, civilians etc).

We would also like to thank all the board of directors of GETEM SA and the managing director Mr Tsoukala for giving us one more opportunity to proove our skills and expertise in demolition.

Here are the DEMCON technicians and their assistants who make us able to boast about our work.