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Harsh weather likely to delay Vauxhall crane wreckage removal

Continuing snow and freezing conditions are expected to delay the removal of crane wreckage from the Vauxhall tower, one of the firms working on site has told CN.

As snow continued to fall over the capital this morning, the owner and managing director of Skyline Tower Crane Services Darren Whitford said that the wintry conditions “will almost inevitably affect the job”.

“Clearly you only have to look out your window to realise the snow will have an affect,” he added. “It’s unlikely that we’re not going to see some sort of delay over the weekend.”

Skyline is working with main contractor Brookfield Multiplex to replace the wrecked crane, but the initial seven-day turnaround is likely to face delays as more snow is forecast to fall on the capital over the weekend.

“Any loose items have been made secure, any debris has been removed and the crane is in a safe condition,” said Mr Whitford. “In terms of the planning and the approach it’s a team effort with Brookfield Multiplex and Brookfield Plant.”

Main contractor Brookfield Multiplex last night revealed to CN its two-stage plan for removing the wreckage of the Comedil CTL180 Luffing Tower Crane, which is owned by Brookfield Multiplex Plant and Equipment Europe Ltd.

A 600 tonne Terex TC2800-1 mobile crane has arrived on site and was initially expected to take 30-36 hours to erect and start work, weather permitting.

The tower crane wreckage is tied into the permanent structure and all of the ties have been inspected and found to be “in good order with no damage”, added Brookfield, while no damage has been found to the permanent structure where the ties are connected.

The Health and Safety Execuive attended site yesterday and on Wednesday to provide assistance and advice, while Lambeth Building Control have also inspected the structure but have not reported any concerns, said the contractor.

In addition to using its own experts, Brookfield has sought advice from the crane manufacturer’s agent in the UK, Select Crane Services, Skyline and its independent engineers, Robert Bird Partnership and Ainscough Cranes. The mobile crane is owned by Ainscough.

The tower crane was hit by a helicopter at about 8am on Wednesday morning in an incident that killed two people. The building’s developer is St George, a subsidiary of Berkeley.

Metropolitan Police commander Neil Basu has said it was “probably miraculous” that the Vauxhall helicopter incident was not “many, many times worse”.

The pilot killed in the incident has been named as freelancer Captain Pete Barnes, a pilot with around 10,000 hours experience. He had reportedly taken off from Redhill Aerodrome and diverted to Battersea helipad before hitting the crane.

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