Cinema falls on busy road during demolition

Grant Prior 12 years ago

A Liverpool demolition contractor has been fined after poor work saw a disused cinema collapse onto a dual carriageway in Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire.

Gaskells Demolition Services Ltd of Bootle was prosecuted after part of the Orion building fell onto the A587 during rush hour on Thursday 17 June 2010.

The art-deco building opened as a cinema on 24 November 1934, with more than 1,000 seats. It closed in 1961 and was used as a theatre before being converted into the Orion bingo hall in 1965. It was eventually shut for good in October 2009.

Gaskells was hired to demolish the building on Crescent West ahead of a supermarket being built on the site.

During the work, part of the building and scaffolding collapsed, blocking the two northbound lanes of the dual carriageway and the entire width of Runneymede Avenue for several hours.

No one was injured in the collapse but one pedestrian suffered a near-miss and a car was also damaged.

The HSE investigation found that, although the company had taken some precautions, it had failed to set up safe arrangements for the demolition such as an exclusion zone around the building.

It also failed to apply to the council for temporary road closures while the work took place.

The scaffolding put up along the front of the building was to allow workers to access it, rather than to support it.

Gaskells Demolition Services Ltd admitted safety breaches and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Anthony Polec said: “The risk of buildings unexpectedly collapsing is well known in the demolition industry but Gaskells failed to take adequate action to prevent lives being put in danger.

“The company should have put suitable measures in place to protect the public, such as applying to close the roads while the demolition work took place and setting up an exclusion zone to keep the public away.

“It could also have erected facade retention scaffolding that could support the building, rather than relying on employees to keep a lookout for passers-by.

“This was entirely inappropriate given the demolition work was taking place next to a busy dual carriageway on a weekday morning. It’s only luck that no one was seriously injured.”

Latest news

John Lewis £500m funding deal to build 1,000 rental homes

Deal to advance BTR flats at store sites in Bromley, West Ealing and Reading
2 hours ago

Eric Wright wins tricky £52m Liverpool transformation

Contractor working with engineers at Ridge and Partners on "challenging" Stanley Lock Flight site
2 days ago

Investment giant buys Bristol M&E contractor

RDCP Infrastructure acquires Avon Combined Electrical Services
3 days ago

Demolition start for £50m Farnworth town centre rebuild

Caddick Construction is tipped for main works due to start in the spring
3 days ago

L&G Modular strikes deal to build 1,000 affordable homes

Modular homes business teams up with Hampshire's Vivid housing association
3 days ago

Former Erith operations director joins John F Hunt

Scott Exell named new operations director at demolition specialist John F Hunt
3 days ago

Green light for £135m Leeds twin tower resi scheme

Construction to start in New Year on 500 build-to-rent apartments
3 days ago

Mace hits 1m tonnes carbon saving target for clients

Present work pipeline betters 2026 carbon emission saving target
3 days ago

Plans in for £40m surf park at former Kent colliery

Seahive surf lagoon and health resort will be built near Deal
4 days ago

Crushed demolition worker vows to return to industry

Shannon Brasier hoping to return to construction following horror accident
4 days ago

Mount Anvil to start 900-home North London estate rebuild

Planning approval paves way for Barnsbury Estate rebuild in Islington
4 days ago

Green light for major laboratory campus in Cambridge

Developer BioMed to tender first building on 600,000 sq ft lab complex in the New Year
4 days ago

Belfast firm signs the biggest work deal yet under Project Gigabit

Fibrus to hook-up rural Cumbria to lightning-fast broadband under £108m deal
3 days ago

McLaren wins Leeds logistics park contract

Work to start imminently on warehouse complex for Firethorn Trust
4 days ago

Work restarts on £683m waste power plant after site death

Construction suspended for a week of investigations following fatality
4 days ago

Demolition starts on £135m Wigan Galleries scheme

Contractor BCEGI starts work on project to redevelop Wigan town centre
5 days ago

Amey CEO to step down following private equity buyout

Amanda Fisher to leave once business is transferred to new owners
5 days ago

New body set up to vet plant operator card schemes

Contractor trades bodies unite to tackle competency concerns over plant operator skills cards
5 days ago

Kier leads switch to hybrid battery generators

Battery units work alongside smaller generators cutting run times by nearly 60%
4 days ago

Plans in for first Leeds co-living scheme

Watkin Jones submits plan to convert old Direct Line HQ into 230 studio flats
5 days ago

Demolition worker crushed by excavator

Court hears 20-year-old woman was left with "life changing injuries"
5 days ago

Government pays £700m for 50% stake in Sizewell C

New body, Great British Nuclear, will be set up to develop pipeline of nuclear projects
5 days ago

Costain wins Heathrow Airport asset renewal deal

Firm takes early contractor involvement role in Terminal 2 baggage handling upgrade
6 days ago

Worker killed on £683m waste power plant site

Fatal collision involving heavy goods vehicle on giant north London site
6 days ago

HS2 JV shifts four Wembley Stadiums of earth in record time

EKFB team digs and hauls 15 million cu m of muck in 20 months
6 days ago

Milestone wins £300m Wiltshire highways upkeep

Ringway will hand over to Milestone in March next year
5 days ago

Low-risk business model helps Renew post record results

Renew reveals latest acquisition with £15.6m purchase of water specialist Enisca
6 days ago

London Albert Embankment hotel towers approved

Two separate hotels rising to 26 and 29 storeys approved
6 days ago

Keltbray names new director of strategic engineering

Tim Lohmann takes up newly-formed role to drive innovative engineering solutions
6 days ago

Go-ahead for £200m lithium refinery on Teesside

Work to start next year on Europe's first lithium hydroxide processing plant
7 days ago

Contractor services