Monday, October 6, 2008

Lawson Demolition insists on the best quick hitch advice

Lawson Demolition is working closely with quick hitch manufacturer, Finning UK, to ensure all their plant operators and fitters adhere to Finning's own safety recommendations.

Since 1st October 2008, manufacturers of many quick hitch attachments have found that their products no longer meet design and safety standards. Investigation into a series of fatal accidents revealed that of the quick hitch designs (manual, automatic and semi-automatic) the semi-automatic was responsible for most accidents. This has prompted a ban on the import of semi-automatic quick hitches into the UK, although they will still be available second hand or for hire.

Lawson Demolition believes in rigorous training for its operators and is pleased to have the opportunity to work with Finning UK. Finning has developed its own assessment and certification, covering familiarisation with and awareness of all aspects of quick hitch use and pre-useage.

Martin Wilson, MD of Lawson Demolition, welcomes HSE's review and the implementation of the new legislation: 'Safety on site is paramount. Greater plant automation means less risk and less chance of human error. Our plant operatives already have excellent quick hitch safety awareness, but working to a manufacturer's own safety guidelines has helped cement that awareness even further.'

Friday, June 20, 2008

Viewpoint June 2008 - New rates on vacant buildings

The introduction of new rates on vacant buildings is causing owners to rethink and in many cases, fast forward their development plans.

Previously, empty commercial spaces were given 100% relief from business rates for the first three months and 50% relief thereafter. Since the introduction of the new rules on 1st April this year, there is now no relief after six months. And industrial premises such as factories, which formerly attracted ongoing 100% relief, will are now liable to rates after six months.

The rules are aimed to increase the use of available properties and net an extra £1 billion per year for the Treasury. But this has disappointed many business groups. It will mean much higher charges for the owners of unoccupied buildings. What was previously a long-term investment or quietly decaying asset, is now a financial burden for developers and landlords who can expect significant cost increases for not using vacant commercial buildings.

Martin Wilson, Managing Director of Lawson Group says,‘these rates are going to impact significantly on anyone leasing or owning an empty building. Few developers are going to let property stand empty.

So do new rates offer new opportunities for the demolition industry?

Martin Wilson thinks so. ‘In many cases it will not be commercially viable to maintain the building. Owners don’t want an expensive white elephant on their hands.

Many of buildings are simply ‘on hold’ until someone decides what to do with them. Old, unlisted buildings are invariably demolished to make way for new developments. The introduction of rates will simply spur owners to speed up the process.’

Heavy rates are not the only incentive. Empty buildings quickly become targets for squatters, intruders and vandals. Strict health and safety legislation can be a headache to enforce and often require costly security measures.

Martin Wilson says: ‘The new rates are forcing owners to focus and make decisions. This could mean early demolition of a site, or even demolition as a more profitable alternative to maintaining a building. A clear, level site is going to be of more interest to a developer than an empty building. From the owner’s point of view, he does not have to worry about building rates or security costs; security is far less of an issue on levelled land. Overall the site owner will have gained a more profitable asset and offloaded the burden of a heavily-taxed, derelict building.