Home: December / January 2012 › Highly commended
05/01/2012 | Channel:
Business Improvement, Station Development
Coleman & Company’s excellent work on the challenging Birmingham New Street station projecthas seen it gain notable recognition at a recent awards ceremony
It may have begun life in 1962 as an excavation business, but two generationson Coleman & Company has evolved into one of the UK’s leading specialist contractors in the specialised field of demolition, and associated services. These services have found applications in a variety of market sectors including city centre
redevelopment, housing renewal, public service modernisation, urban regeneration and industrial.
Coleman & Company also has a history in tackling the challenging railway sector – not least demonstrated by its recent work on the Birmingham New Street station development. A two-phase project, the redevelopment is designed to transform one of the UK’s busiest stations so that it can continue to serve passengers well into the future. Preparatory work began in September 2009, followed by the start of construction in April 2010, with the new station concourse expected to be open to the public in 2012, and the project itself completed in 2015.
Tasked with demolishing an existing 8000 tonne reinforced concrete mezzanine slab over a 5000 square metre area, the complexity of this work was heightened for
Coleman & Company as the station itself remains open during the redevelopment. As such innovative thinking was required to demolish and remove this slab, which was situated immediately above the 12 platforms of the bustling Birmingham New Street Station, whilst ensuring that the supporting columns for the eight storey car parks and three storeys of shops immediately above the work site remained in place.
The removal of this concrete then had to be co-ordinated within the centre of what is the UK’s second largest city. In the face of these constraints, Coleman & Company created a tailored demolition methodology, which centred around completing the works safely but without disturbing the normal operations of the surrounding live environments.
This included the use of diamond wire saw techniques to reduce noise, dust and vibrations to cut the slab and supporting beams into removable sections. These cut
sections were then supported by a variety of innovative temporary works gaining support back to strong points in the floor below, before being lifted by a bespoke craneage system specially designed for this project. All pieces were craned out, loaded directly onto roll on/off haulage and removed from the building piece by piece. The conventional approach was not suitable when it came to the equipment involved. These restraints prompted Coleman & Company to design and install purpose-made low headroom gantry cranes, which ran the entire 140-metre length of the building.
Other specifically designed tools included modular proprietary steel trusses, which ensured maximum flexibility and re-use to accommodate the variety of beam lengths and widths encountered throughout the project. At the same time the trusses had to fit within the 2.3 metre high gap between the mezzanine and concourse level and transfer the weight of the cut beams back into the concourse slab. Where this transfer of weight was not possible, Coleman & Company utilised the existing support trusses and suspended them from the adjacent mezzanine primary beams. This meant that the weight of the cut beam was simply transferred back into the structure to which it was originally connected, enabling even the most awkward beams to be safely removed.
In total, Coleman & Company instigated over 250 tonnes of temporary works throughout the course of the project – the design, delivery and installation of whichpresented a major logistical challenge. In addition, the work was subject to Network Rail’s stringent procedures, yet in many cases Coleman & Company far exceeded these requirements. One example is that over the course of the project Coleman & Company achieved an exceptionally low accident frequency rate of just 0.095, which was significantly below Network Rail’s target of 0.25. This performance saw Coleman & Company presented with the ‘Contractor of the Project Award for Safety’ twice.
Just last month Coleman & Company’s commitment on this high profile project was globally recognised at The World Demolition Summit 2011 in Amsterdam where it was presented with two awards. This includes the Summit’s most prestigious accolade of ‘Contract of the Year’ specifically for the work carried out at Birmingham New Street station. The second, for ‘Civil’s Demolition’, paid tribute to Coleman & Company’s other work in the rail industry, specifically on the A404 railway bridge in Maidenhead. Lindsay Gale, editor of Demolition and Recycling International notes: “The jurors were looking for the extraordinary and that is what Coleman & Company provided by making Birmingham New Street station, a very complicated job, look straightforward.”
Given that the shortlist included projects from the UK, Europe, the US, and South
America, this achievement is testament to the engineering expertise of Coleman & Company, which is competitive even in the global marketplace. The company also received a ‘Special Commendation’ for the Explosive Demolition Award for its work at Octavia Court, Greenock, Scotland. Mark Coleman, managing director of Coleman & Company notes: “I’m delighted to receive these awards. It’s nice when our team receives recognition for their hard work at such a high profile event. The incredibly complex nature of all three projects highlights how our business has changed and thrived during challenging economic conditions as we move towards our 50th year of trading in 2012.”
As the business looks ahead to this 50th anniversary, it does so in a stronger position having taken the time during the economic downturn to invest in its plant equipment, manpower and technical skills. The result is a company that has been able to complete even the most challenging engineering projects whilst remaining within the time and budget restraints – a legacy that Coleman & Company is keen to carry forward to its next milestone.