Tall order for demolition job

THE UK’s - and possibly the world’s - tallest demolition machine went into action for the first time this week after it arrived in Glasgow to bring down two multi-storey flats.

It was built by Ipswich-based demolition machine makers Kocurek, whose 70-strong workforce was faced with a very tall order when it was asked to create the 67m giant by Birkenhead-based company, Technical Demolition Services (TDS).

The Liebherr 984C machine, which is taller than 15 double-decker buses placed on top of each other, was completed by Kocurek last month. A team of specialist workers travelled up with it from Ipswich.

Its first job will be to knock down 198 Glasgow Housing Association flats near the Ibrox stadium in Glasgow for TDS, which asked Kocurek to make it to its specifications.

The buildings are being flattened as part of a regeneration project for the area. The use of the long-reach machine is aimed at minimising any disruption to residents of nearby properties.

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Craig Wilson, commercial director at TDS, said the machine had gone straight to the Ibrox site after testing.

“It’s the UK’s tallest high-reach machine and it’s rumoured to be the highest in the world. It stands at 67m, which is high,” he said.

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Kocurek sales manager Ron Callan said some of the demolition machines tend to be used in high-profile jobs such as the one in Glasgow.

“This particular company, they have a number of contracts up in Scotland,” he said.

Kocurek created the machine by customising a standard piece of equipment to meet the needs of its client, he said.

“It came into us weighing 120 tonnes, and came out weighing 200 tonnes,” he explained. “We take in what we would call a standard machine from an original equipment manufacturer then we customise it. I would go so far as to say in this country we are the only one that would undertake this type of work, and there’s not many in the world.”

Kocurek spent something like 7,000 man hours building the machine, which was finished in September, he said.

“The equipment is what I would call a tall carrier. What I mean by that is the attachment we put on the end of the boom is what does the work in terms of breaking the building down,” he said.

This type of demolition is used instead of explosives in some types of jobs, he explained.

“As the environment becomes more of a concern these days, people are looking for less noise and less disruption,” he said.

Kocurek, which has a turnover of �6million to �7million, takes great pride in making a lot of the parts on site, he said. “The policy is we don’t like to sub-contract any work out. We would rather give it to our own guys,” he said. As well as demolition machines, the firm makes specialist long reach and material handling equipment.

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