Case Study

St James House, Colchester

Project timescale:
5 Months

A project on the main high street to demolish a five-storey building with methods of top down and high reach demolition, which included removal of licenced asbestos, soft-strip throughout, full building scaffold, propping with archaeology watch and brief during slab removal.

St. James House, which was previously insurance offices and shoe world store, was situated on a busy one-way street that was one of the main roads that passed through Colchester town centre. It had been an empty eye sore to the residents of Colchester for the past 20-years until Colchester Borough Council (CBC) got Anglian Demolition and Asbestos Ltd to safely and quickly demolish it.

With a busy road across the front of St. James House and the adjoining building, Roman House, just have been refurbished protection to the public, adjoining and nearby building was paramount. Having a scaffold division within Anglian Demolition the building was scaffolded and wrapped in monoflex. Asbestos removal had already started along with the internal soft-strip from top to bottom and propping installed under each floor slab in preparation for a crane to arrive to site to for the machine’s to be lifted to the roof to start the top-down demolition method. All lift mechanics, cart and motors to the rear of the building were removed with the aid of oxy/propane hot cutting equipment to utilise the shaft for a drop zone. The lift shaft being the full height and strongest structural part of the building, aided us to drop all rubble materials down, using a skid-steer, into an exclusion zone on the ground floor where we had implemented dust cannons, for an 8-ton excavator to then shift and load lorries to dispose of rubble materials at a suitably licenced facility.

Having the building fully stripped of Asbestos and all internal general sorts soft-stripped two 3.5-ton 360 machines a skid-steer and a Brokk-90 was lifted to the roof to start demolition of the plantroom and roof leaving ring beams in situ to avoid building sway. As each level was demolished and carefully separated from Roman House the propping was being continually re-positioned on each floor and the scaffold was being struck to suit the direction of demolition. The top-down method was used for the top 2 ½ levels to reduce the height of the building for the introduction of our high-reach machine.

All plant and propping were removed from the building, again with the aid of a crane and a section of scaffold struck from top to bottom to make way for the 40-ton high-reach machine to the side of St. James House. Working through the building in a systematic direction the front “cheese wedge” was demolished with the aid of a 24-ton machine. Four banksmen with constant radio communication lined Queen street to the front elevation during this very fragile and complex part of the works.

With only the rear section of building left standing the demolition continued to slab level where we had a watch and brief during the slab removal in which Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT) were in attendance for. The final task was to temporary weather proof the exposed party wall from the elements.

This was a great project for Anglian Demolition to have undertaken with our client CBC being very impressed with our approach in tender stage and on site throughout the project. Credit to everyone involved from the management to the guys on site.

Project Summary

  • 145.24 Tons of General Waste removed from site
  • 95.37 Tons of Scrap Metal removed from site
  • 3,386.94 Tons of Hardcore removed from site
  • 10,500L of Red Diesel was used
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