An 18-storey derelict tower block in Birmingham has been demolished using explosives, with 80 homes in the surrounding area evacuated as a precautionary measure.
Normansell Tower, on Waterworks Street in Aston, was demolished early on Sunday morning by DSM Demoltion Group, after Birmingham City Council hired the firm to clear the site.
The process will take 30 weeks, but the demolition itself lasted just 4.5 seconds. The team is expected to spend a further eight weeks processing and clearing the rubble. (continued below)
There is no plan currently adopted for the post-demolition site, spanning 21,527 square feet, but the council pledged that it would become “part of a wider development of the area”.
After test blasts, pre-weakening of the structure and other preparatory measures, a workforce of 60 people were on hand on the day, including sentries and traffic management teams.
DSM contract manager Billy Young explained: “The building was constructed using large concrete panels that are interlocking, which would make a manual or mechanical take down expensive and very time consuming.”
“The use of explosives is a much quicker, economical and safer way of demolishing the tower block.”
Mr. Young added: “Every demolition project brings its own challenges as it is a very complex and potentially dangerous operation. We need to ensure that there is no collateral damage as a result of the blow down and controlling the spread of debris is a prime consideration, particularly as Normansell Tower is being demolished in such a tight space.
“Also, before we can set off the explosives we need to make sure that all residents within the exclusion zone have left their homes. This can be problematic for people who have a disability or when English isn’t their first language, as it can be difficult to convey the seriousness of the operation to them.”
Birmingham City Council project manager Dave Samrai said: “The former residential building has been derelict for the past five years and had become an eyesore for the town. We know that local residents are pleased to see it has been demolished.”