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How to keep the peace with the neighbours

DEMOLISHING an office block which fronts onto the busy St James' Street in London is always likely to present PR challenges as well as the usual technical ones. But for Henry Demolition it is business as usual since the firm worked on an adjacent building just last year.

As the first contractor on the Metro House site, it fell to Henry Demolition to let the neighbouring businesses know about the project and reassure them that disruption would be kept to a minimum.

A mailshot went to all the neighbouring businesses to explain the project and list site contacts. Henry had to negotiate working hours with all its neighbours which are a diverse bunch: a bank, Brooks gentlemen's club, The Ritz, pubs, restaurants and houses.

Loud works are usually carried out during a series of two-hour slots: 8am to 10am; 12 noon to 2pm; and 4pm to 6pm. Henry is willing to flex these hours to accommodate the neighbours' special requirements, but because of the number of surrounding businesses this is not always possible.

'We do tend to annoy them sometimes,' admits Tom Henry, pictured right, contracts manager for Henry.