Site Clearance ~ Factory Structure and Effects
Recycling large assets is not always straightforward. As a provider of services to this sector, new opportunities sometimes take us in to situations which are both complex, and on the face of it, potentially highly risky and dangerous. Such was the case with this fire damaged factory.
Our major projects unit was requested to prepare proposals for clearing a factory with ancillary equipment which had suffered severe fire damage.
The structure was one of a series of buildings on an industrial site and formed the old boiler room facility. The facility was surrounded by fuel tanks nearly 9 metres in height . Additionally, the boilers were serviced by two 15 metre high chimney stacks constructed in heavy steel tubing and braced with steel rope guide lines. All of the fire damaged building’s structure was constructed with asbestos sheets, including the roof, and much of the pipe lagging feeding in to the area. The fire had created a toxic mess which clearly had to be dealt with before any site clearance could commence.
When dealing with any situation involving latent toxicity, health and safety can prove to be a guiding light. It can often help to form the orientation of the best direction forward. Following meetings between our specialist and the client, it was agreed, the entire venue must undergo a forensic level, clean.
Every trace of toxic asbestos material from dust to fragments must be removed. From each and every face and facet of the structure from floor to roof. In short, a massive undertaking, but a completely necessary one.
Further, it would need to be executed in such a way as to negate any impact on the local environment. I.E. No dust or debris can escape from the venue.
Enter the asbestos removal company. They built a scaffold inside the structure before completely sheeting it up so the area was quarantined from the world. They then proceeded to remove, piece by piece every last speck of asbestos in the area. When the pieces got too small to collect, they vacuumed them up, dust and all. This was all done with special vacuum technology that incorporates a filtered exhaust system. All of these works were undertaken by men wearing clean suits and respirators.
Legislation dealing with asbestos is very strictly controlled. Only appropriately qualified, licensed and insured organisations are allowed to handle such projects. They have a unique knowledge and specialised equipment which enable them to handle this material. Such was our concern for the environment in this particular project not to mention the unthinkable legal ramifications, the only real way to handle the problem was to clean it up completely. Following a fastidious post clean up inspection, permission was finally given to commence the main site clearance.
The entire structure was taken down using excavators equipped with cold shears, except for a few structural columns which had to remain due to guide lines bracing the chimneys being attached to them.
A Tale of Two Chimney’s
The chimneys proved to be quite a challenge – at over 50ft/15 metres in height – an incorrect approach to their demise could well have resulted in a collapse on to surrounding buildings. On the day of the project, all surrounding buildings were vacated. The chimneys were taken down in sections being chained to the site crane before each section was cut away from the one below. A plan which worked superbly on the day.
Even the weather was kind ~ a wind of more than a few knots on the ground can mean powerful gusts at 50 ft in the air! Each section weighed around 1000kg. Due to the large reach between crane and chimneys, a 70 ton Faun crane was deployed, which made the task effortless and incredibly precise.