There have been plenty of demolition failures in history, no matter how easy strapping a bunch of explosives to an empty building may seem. This demolition might just break the record for delayed collapse, however.
Two vacant high rise buildings in Seaforth, Merseyside, England were schedule for implosion on Sunday morning, but after several booms from the first round of explosives, both buildings still stood. Frighteningly, one of the buildings decided to collapse unexpectedly 2 hours later. It’s probably embarrassing for the company in charge of the demolition, but the nearby residents are feeling the brunt of the failure, as they cannot go back into their homes until the second building finally falls. Most were only anticipating a two hour event, so they were woefully unprepared for a long delay.
The second building, dubbed the Montgomery House, was still standing on Monday, even after a partial collapse around 3:00pm local time, a video of which was tweeted by a Liverpool News reporter. There’s some strong language in the video, so it’s not safe for work.
As of Tuesday evening, residents have still not been able to return to their homes, according to the Liverpool Echo, as the building is still partially standing. Many have been forced to stay with family or at nearby hotels until crews can finally knock the building down. Their plan is to bring it down in “phases,” and the company has vowed to make the affected residents as comfortable as possible with hotel accommodations, food, drinks, and other amenities. Even though there’s now a plan, there’s still not a clear timetable for the work to be completed.
For the most up-to-date information, the Liverpool Echo has some great coverage on the developments.
Early this year, a landslide caused catastrophic failure to the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge along California’s famous Highway 1. California Transit officials closed the bridge on February 21st and announced it would be demolished and replaced. Time is of the essence as US News reports that over 400 residents are stranded on one side of the bridge and helicopters have had to bring in food for them. The residents are still able to use the footpaths in the area to cross the canyon.
There’s no doubt that bridge demolitions by implosion are extremely fun to watch, but the fireworks show and big splash into the water below can sometimes overshadow other demolition projects that don’t allow implosion. Priestly Demolition Inc. (PDI) recently won two 2016 World Demolition Awards for one of those projects where implosion was not an option and they have also produced an incredibly detailed video of how they did it.
Since Construction Junkie was conceived in 2015, we’ve seen a lot of construction equipment flip for some really stupid reasons. Like this crane, this other crane, and this third crane dropping a bulldozer. Those are just some of the ones caught on video and they should be enough to convince you not to go out of your way to do dangerous things with a crane.
Rowlett, Texas was hit hard by a tornado in 2015 and the city is still dealing with the effects of it. In the horrible storm, 13 people were killed and over 400 buildings were damaged or destroyed, according to CBS DFW. In a story we covered last year, one Rowlett woman also had her house mistakenly knocked down by a demolition company when addresses got mixed up after the tornado.
We saw some pretty awesome demolition videos in 2016, like this super slow motion bridge demolition and this video of 116 excavators working side by side to demolish an overpass overnight, but this new video is already on top of the leaderboard for best demolitions of 2017.
No matter how fun demolitions and demolition videos might be, there’s an inherent danger to performing them that cannot be overlooked. Just last year, a different parking garage collapsed during a demolition in Houston, Texas, which landed on one of the excavators performing the work. Thankfully, no one was injured in that collapse, but it could have been much worse.
We here at Construction Junkie headquarters enjoy a good demolition video. We’ve shared implosion videos, timelapse videos, and even demolition fails, but since our inception, we have yet to share a wrecking ball demolition video. Growing up, I thought my adult life was going to be littered with wrecking balls (and anvils, for that matter), because of all the cartoons I watched, but as our industry’s heavy machinery and explosives have become more precise, the need for wrecking balls has slowly diminished.
Not all demolition videos can be implosions and that’s OK, because each type of demolition is its own art form. Sometimes contractors are bound by the constraints of the job, especially when located in an area with a large concentration of pedestrians and other public areas. That was the case for the construction site of the future One Vanderbilt Tower in New York City, which just completed the demolition of five different buildings covering an entire city block.
“They don’t build ‘em like they used to,” as people love to say. That phrase could definitely be applicable to the 93 year old Broadway Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas, that refused to fall even after it was lined with explosives. This certainly isn’t the first time a demolition has failed and it’s probably not the last.
Last year, we shared a video of 6 Scottish high rise buildings that were imploded simultaneously, which was one of our favorite demolition videos of 2015. The problem, however, was that only 4 of them actually fell completely, causing delays as crews had to use high reach machinery to complete the job.