Marmion, Heriot & Montrose Courts, Paisley

These three 15 storey tower blocks had originally been tendered as a long reach demolition project.

However having carefully examined the site, the programme, and the costs, explosives experts at Safedem were called in to explore the possibility of demolishing the structures by explosives.

Each of the three buildings had a restriction on at least one elevation. Nearby housing just 10m away, live roads and retaining walls just 5m away and live services and high voltage cables that looped around the blocks just 3m from the buildings in places.
The greatest concern was a live sub station located 2m from the west elevation of the centre building. Scottish Power’s field engineer made one warning regarding the sub-station “…if you hit that, you cut off the supply to half of Paisley.” A detailed risk assessment and cost comparison was carried out and with Safedem’s assurance, the blocks were to be demolished b y explosives. There was a massive evacuation and security operation implemented for this project. Over 600 residents were evacuated from their homes which included intensive planning for the evacuation of the only remaining tower block- Oliphant Court.

Precisely on schedule on Sunday 12th December, 2004, the tower blocks were demolished with more than 3,000 strategically placed detonators controlling the direction and rate of collapse exactly as planned into the designed drop areas. The post blowdown inspection immediately focussed on the live sub station. The delays had done their job with no kickback whatsoever leaving a clear path between the substation and debris pile. Further inspection confirmed the other buildings behaved as anticipated and designed with the line of live underground services and the retaining wall free of debris and surcharge.