Tag Archives: engineers

Getting to grips with demolition ‘waste’

Having amassed a wealth of experience in the the specialist arena of heavy-industrial plant decommissioning, RVA is well placed to comment on the ever-evolving level of waste management excellence in the field. This month RVA contributed to leading waste and recycling magazine Secondary Commodity Markets. Read on to find out more…..

“Since its inception the demolition industry has been a committed recycler, acknowledging the commodity value and demand for materials that can be salvaged during domestic, commercial and heavy industrial executions of work. In reality it was probably one of the first ‘green’ disciplines.

For decades, contractors have yielded a revenue stream from the recycling of materials such as bricks, slates, and copper nails and piping to name but a few. However, as environmental pressures mount and legislative developments continue apace, a greater number of contractors, consultants and clients have heightened their commitment to the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ mantra. Sustainable working practices have rocketed up the project agenda and as a result, organisations have experienced multi-faceted benefits from the careful and continuous management of demolition projects’ waste streams.

Even the soft-strip (internal clear out) and subsequent demolition of a small domestic building can enable recyclates to be recovered. Yet the larger and more industrial the programme of works is, the greater the scope for advanced salvaging methods and the wider the variety of materials that can be retained.

A vast number of processing plant owners throughout the UK and EU are closing their sites as they rationalise their activities, relocate their operations or prepare to upgrade their equipment. Consequently they face the predicament of determining the safest, most cost-effective and environmentally sound route for their plant.

Many variables affect the methodology adopted for a given site, but organisations’ commitment to EHS excellence often sees decommissioning projects excel in terms of material collection, processing and trade.

A fundamental driver is to reduce the amount of ‘waste’ going to landfill, which of course supports the country’s impending targets and reduces waste disposal costs. Concrete and brick for example can be crushed for use as backfill, road sub-base and levelling.

Elsewhere selected items of plant can be carefully salvaged for reuse. For instance I have overseen the meticulous disassembly of a 500m long, 6,500 tonne papermaking machine that was sold for re-erection overseas. Of course such an exercise is not without its complexities, but a comprehensive grasp of the commercial environment means that plant buyers can regularly be secured and income can be generated for the original asset owners, which contributes to the overall project cost. This is perhaps the ultimate in recycling and waste stream management.

The general recycling of project materials is also very prevalent in industrial demolition due to the commodity value of arisings such as scrap metals for instance. Process vessels are often made from exotic alloys and high-value metallurgy can generate a significant income stream. We have worked on projects in the past where the monies earned from scrap materials have not only covered the cost of the works; they’ve been cash generative for the client.

This is clearly not possible with every project but the sum that can be earned from recycling does frequently determine whether the works go ahead, or not. In every case it is a matter of achieving the ‘best value’ outcome for the client concerned. One customer, a cast iron foundry owner, sought the creation of a precisely-engineered salvaging system to enable the reclamation of timber, plastic and scrap metal and uphold the organisation’s ongoing environmental commitment. The resulting ‘production line’ saw suitable material graded and segregated according to whether it met the appropriate specification and should be retained for reuse on the client’s other sites, or whether it should be sold to the industry via the usual recycling channels in the UK.

The conclusion?

Many would wrongly perceive our industry as a somewhat grubby and unrefined engineering discipline that lacks scientific precision. But the better-informed people become, the more they realise that decommissioning, demolition and dismantling engineers are highly skilled professionals that display an unparalleled commitment to sustainability and environmental excellence. It therefore cannot be disputed that the future of recycling within this arena is bright.”

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RVA operations director to present at leading demolition event

RVA Group operations director Ian Wharton has been invited to deliver an educative presentation at the Institute of Demolition Engineers’ (IDE) autumn seminar in Westminster, London.

Echoing RVA Group’s mission statement, Ian’s ‘Process Plant Sector Decommissioning & Dismantling’ presentation is designed to:

• Help deliver totally safe, environmentally secure and legislatively compliant projects

• Nurture a learning event culture aligned with a zero tolerance approach to all incidents and injuries

• Encourage engineering excellence, innovation and best value for clients.

Speaking exclusively to members of the Institute on 29 September, Ian will then encourage questions from the floor, providing delegates with additional knowledge transfer opportunities.

Ian has worked with some of the world’s largest and most prestigious blue-chip organisations, in sectors including oil and gas, pharmaceutical, chemical and petrochemical, power and energy, manufacturing, local authority and housing. He is therefore an incredibly experienced and competent engineer who is well placed to offer best-practice advice for demolition professionals seeking to further develop their expertise.


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Invista (Germany)

RVA acted as project engineers and specialist demolition consulting engineers in our D&R project. They are one of the best, most professional companies we have dealt with and we would have no hesitation in recommending them.

RVA worked closely and collaboratively with our teams, paying attention to our interests and not losing focus on the overall target. We cannot recall a situation where RVA didn’t react flexibly or innovatively to adjust their work plans and resources to the benefit of our project. The team always provided us with a high quality service and fulfilled our safety, health and environmental expectations excellently.

(adjusted translation from German).

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Bayer CropScience

Regarding N51/51a demolition; RVA did a superb job and saved us a lot of time and money – no additional claims on a competitive bid package is not bad.

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ConocoPhillips Petroleum Company

The feed back from our site personnel is that this has been an extremely successful project in both execution and the relationships built with all who came in to contact with the project team.

This outcome is a testament to the work, effort and commitment shown by all involved in the project.

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…the role of planning supervisor proved an invaluable assistance to Novartis Grimsby. Attention to detail due to the contamination issues…and all associated health and safety issues …. in all cases carried out in full. One of the highlights was the close working relationship adopted between yourselves and the Novartis team… which had a hands on non-adversarial approach. The fees involved in employing RVA based on quality and content of the service provided were well justified………

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