The global demolition industry finds itself on the cusp of the most monumental and fundamental period of change in its illustrious history; an age when evolution will give way to revolution. Mark Anthony reports.
Has there ever been a period in which the global demolition industry was confronted with the level of monumental and fundamental change as that which faces it today? Certainly not in my lifetime, and I am so old that I had graduated by the time Methuselah started school.
I will accept that WWII, a period that spawned the creation of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors, was intense. But, in truth, even that was just making safe or removing bomb-damaged buildings using proven methods only with a workforce cruelly decimated by a prolonged, global conflict.
Even the gradual move from crawler crane and wrecking ball to hydraulic and subsequently high reach excavators today seems about as swift and as straightforward as the switch from regular coffee to decaf.
The changes facing the industry today, however, have the potential to redraw the very landscape of the industry; to render obsolete much of what we today consider the industry norm within just a few short years.
Unrest & Upheaval
We find ourselves in an age in which there is political unrest and upheaval on both sides of the Atlantic and pretty much everywhere else besides. Even setting aside political allegiances and beliefs, it now seems clear that there is a widespread dissatisfaction with the way in which nations are governed and how those nations interact with one another. If, as the song suggests “the children are our future”, then we must surely be approaching a period in which division and conflict will finally be set aside once and for all.
What that will mean for global demolition practitioners, frankly, is impossible to tell. But if future generations can break with traditional politics and end racial, national and gender division, then surely it is not beyond them to finally end the peaks and troughs cycle of demolition and construction demand. Perhaps if we ever reach a time in which infrastructure decision making is driven by the needs of the people rather than by political expediency and the need to win the next election, demolition firms might be able to plan more than a week or two in advance and to invest accordingly.
And, make no bones about it, they will need to invest, because the future will not come cheap. In fact, in many ways, it will require starting over, almost from scratch.