Norfolk Court

Safedem has succesfully demolished Norfolk Court, a 24 storey tower block in Glasgow”s City Centre with absolute precision.

Just a quarter of a mile from Glasgow’s City Centre, Norfolk Court sat just 6 metres from Gorbals Street on a corner of a busy crossroads. With neighbours including the Sheriff Court and Procurator Fiscal, the Citizens Theatre and finally Scotlands largest Mosque and Islamic Centre on the other 3 corners of the crossroads Safedem’s engineers had to design a collapse mechanism which ensured the 22000 tonnes of hardcore landed precisely within the confined site limits. Scaffold screens with debris netting were erected around the glass canopies and entrance ways to the Citizens Theatre and Procurator Fiscals Offices as an added contingency and protection.

Operatives with security clearance worked through the preceding nights to tape up window seals , air intakes and vents to ensure that sensitive computer equipment was free of dust. Dust Boss water cannons were applied to create a water screen in front of sensitive locations. The 190 metre exclusion zone required the evacuation of over 300 properties many from within a neighbouring tower block. Safedem’s Community Liaison Team had a massive challenge having to ensure they communicated effectively with residents to coordinate the evacuation. This was especially difficult on this occassion as the nearby tower block has been utilised to house asylum seekers.

Safedems newsletters and resident questionnaires had to be translated into 9 different languages to ensure the message was clear and concise. Also in the exclusion zone was a seldom used rail track which by-passes Glasgow’s Central Station which required a possession from Network Rail. At one of the Planning and Coordination meetings leading up to the blowdown members of the Network Rail team in attendance advised that although seldom used there was now a Royal Train scheduled to use the track and pass through the exclusion zone at approximately 11:15 on the morning of blowdown.

On the day the Royal Train passed through on time and Safedem personnel worked closely with Network Rail Engineers to apply the possession quickly and efficiently. With the evacuation complete, the protection in place and the final connections checked , Safedems, William Sinclair pushed the button that brought the structures down exactly as planned. Sinclair explains, ‘we applied a delay pattern throughout the structure which would minimise ground vibration and introduce high degrees of shear through the collapse to maximise break up’, he continues, ‘when you drop a structure you often get an element of run- off from the debris pile as the momentum of 24 storeys comes down to ground level – at Norfolk Court we wanted to bias the structure away from nearby Gorbals Street but we also wanted the material to hit the brakes at ground level rather than rolling away from us – this was achieved by getting the structure to gently tilt then be controlled by a diagonal delay pattern – it was just about as perfect as it gets’

The Norfolk Court demolition sees the 14th tower block demolished by Safedem utilising explosives for Glasgow Housing Association (GHA).

The project marks the start of a major regeneration project in the area with all the hardcore being crushed and re-used on site. GHA’s new Chairman of the Board, Gordon Sloan was in attendance at the blowdown. He said ‘this demolition has been a fantastic success, thanks to Safedem and all who have been involved’