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Masterton looks north to boost growth

Masterton has increased turnover by 60 per cent in 2012 to £16 million and, as a significant portion of the new contracts it is working on are in the North of England, the company has also opened a new office in Leeds.

Its Yorkshire-based project teams are undertaking dismantling work at a number of sites across the North, including Runcorn and Hebburn. In Hebburn, Masterton is working for Siemens on a 22-week contract to dismantle the former Trench UK buildings in South Tyneside.

This is an unusual project for many reasons: the 80-year-old factory was one of the only high-voltage electrical testing facilities in the UK; the most prominent landmark on the site is the vast steel-framed Clothier Laboratories Building that made pop music history when it featured in a Gary Numan video; and for Masterton the scale of scrap materials to be processed is unprecedented.

The long list of items to be salvaged contains more than 2,000 tonnes of steel, 500 tonnes of machinery, 270 tonnes of sheet cladding and 35 tonnes of electrical cabling.

Asbestos hazard on power station project

Masterton’s current Runcorn project is for chemical company Ineos. The Chlor Vinyl manufacturer required assistance dismantling an extremely large, asbestos insulated flue duct at its Weston Point Power Station.

The 120 m flue duct poses a significant dismantling challenge because of its size, poor condition and location. The £1.3m project will take 28 weeks to complete.

The company has also recently completed some work for National Grid: a £4m contract involving the dismantling of four liquefied natural gas tanks and associated process plant at National Grid’s 195,000 sq m storage facility in Manchester.

“This meant that their unusual structure called for a highly innovative demolition solution”

This unusual project – the first of its kind in Europe – posed several challenges, and required the contractor to use a variety of new techniques. Each of the four 45 m-high and 135 m circumference double-skinned tanks had been used to safely store more than 21,000 tonnes of LNG at temperatures of -160 deg C.

The highly specialised nature of the tanks meant they had a very tall and solid tank-within-a-tank construction. This also meant that their unusual structure called for a highly innovative demolition solution.

Through rigorous preparation and site testing, the company designed a method using explosive charges to cut through the outer steel roof and ensure it dropped safely to the ground within the body of the gas holder. The approach proved very successful and has established a safe and effective way to deal with these unusual structures.

At some point fairly soon Masterton will be looking to open another operation further south too, as the firm has some particularly big projects commencing in London and the South-west.

Keith McDowall is operations director at Masterton

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