Site Demolition and Site Clearance Issues Faced When Clearing the Land for ‘The Shard’ in London

Preparing to build a tall, beautifully designed sky scraper in London is difficult at best, but when site demolition involves the removal of a large block of concrete by way of a controlled implosion, when a hospital is a neighbor, when an underground station must be protected and when all of the waste must be hauled away through cramped and busy city streets site clearance can become a time consuming and difficult process. All of these complications were faced as the demo team prepared the site on which “The Shard” would be built.The Big BlockOriginally it was thought that no explosives would be needed in removing the old Southwark Towers building in order to clear the way for building The Shard. As the building was being torn down a large block of concrete that could only be removed via controlled use of explosives was discovered. The proximity of the location to both Guys Hospital and an underground station caused deep concern with this situation. The demolition company would need to take care to use explosives in such a way as to cause no damage to these other structures.

Protecting the SurroundingsWhen demolition started the site was covered with a white cloth and care had to be taken to keep debris, chemicals and their residues and equipment and techniques used in the process from damaging the nearby hospital, other buildings and the underground station. Because of the close proximity to these other structures, demolition experts had to plan well and take care to be adaptable as situations arose in order to keep the surrounding area intact and to avoid added expense to the demolition process that might arise if damages occurred. In addition the safety of the people in the area had to be of utmost concern at all times.Removing DebrisTwenty four stories worth of building materials, underground structures and all debris from the site would have to be hauled through the streets of London and be properly disposed of as quickly as possible. The logistics of navigating the busy London streets with all of this material is a transit feat in and of itself. The demolition company had to take special care to not shut down access to the hospital and other structures in the area while still managing to carefully remove all waste and debris as soon as possible so that the site could be prepared for the new skyscraper that was going to be built.

When site clearance must be done safely and efficiently in a crowded city setting a site demolition company has to make plans ahead of time and has to be concerned with the safety of people who must be in the area, the protection of nearby structures and infrastructure and cost containment, logistics and practicality of removing a great deal of debris through the streets of a dense, busy urban environment.