Qualified Removal by Demco in Verona
Published: 22/1, 2020
Removal of 580t Helicopter Platform.
When Italian company Finalfa decided that its old and dilapidated helicopter platform had to be demolished, it decided that the best option for a safe but yet efficient job was to ask Demco, one of Italy’s most prestigious controlled demolition and dismantling contractors, to take on the job.
Demco was founded in 1995 by Marchetti Giancarlo and Pierlugi Magri, both of whom have a long and proud history working with concrete cutting and controlled demolition techniques. Starting in a small workshop in the northern Italian city of Seriate, Giancarlo and Magri gradually built their business with more clients and larger projects. In 2003 the company acquired a new office and workshop in order to house more equipment and an increasing number of staff.
With a skilled workforce, the right equipment, and extensive knowledge concerning different demolition methods, Demco has been used on an increasing number of advanced projects, which often involved exporting the company’s expertise overseas. Demco today consists of a tight team of 15 trained operators and technicians and enjoys annual revenue of $2.5 million. Demco’s services include controlled demolition using hydraulic and high-cycle concrete cutting systems such as diamond wire sawing units, wall saws, concrete core drilling systems, and hydraulic demolition and cracking devices. When larger-diameter tools are needed, Demco is always ready secure the needed equipment and get to work.
The Demco team is constantly involved in projects that require working 24/7 as needed. While Italy remains the firm’s home market, Demco’s work is becoming increasingly pan-European with projects in France, Spain, and Serbia. They’ve also been called across the Atlantic to handle a project in Mexico.
Tough task in removing a helicopter platform
Because there’s no such thing as a “typical” job for Demco, thorough estimations and technical calculations are necessary in order to carry out the assignments properly, safely, and efficiently. Such was the case in July-August 2019, when Demco was called into remove Finalfa’s 580-ton, 69-ft (21m) wide, and 31.5-in (800mm) thick platform helicopter platform.
Located atop a 131-ft (40m) high main office building in Verona, Italy, the platform had deteriorated over the years and posed a threat to the safety of the building’s 200 occupants. What’s more, the platform no longer seismic regulations, increasing the risk of a potential hazard in a region that regularly experiences seismic activity.
Demco’s mission was to figure out the most secure method of demolishing and removing the helipad, mitigating the danger and allowing Finalfa to begin the process of securing a more modern replacement structure. Extensive planning work was initiated in order to find the best method to demolish the platform, with the planning done in cooperation with an engineering company. Several different methods were tested and modeled, accounting for all the potential risks to occupants and Demco workers, as well as cost, weather, logistics, and other factors.
The method chosen saw the platform being removed from the concrete columns it was resting on simultaneously by using two huge mobile cranes, both with a large lifting capacity. If the weight placed on the structure was unbalanced then it could damage the structural integrity of the building, so it was calculated exactly where on the platform surface the lifting handles had to be positioned. These consisted of eight heavy iron frames, with four located on the upper side and four under the platform, bolted together two by two, with the holes for the bolts being core drilled through the heavily reinforced concrete platform.
After the lifting frames were positioned, the lifting cables of the cranes could be attached. The two cranes then secured the platform, and wire sawing of the platform’s support columns got underway. The platform was then lifted down to the ground. For safety reasons, during the whole of the dismantling work and the platform lift, the building was evacuated. Once safely on the ground, the platform was broken up into 346 yd3 (265m3) of material and recycled.
Specialist knowledge gives more job options
Finalfa was amazed and quite satisfied with the work and how smooth and safe the whole project proceeded. For Demco’s Magri, the project couldn’t have gone better.
“Our goal and objectives with the whole project were fully achieved,” he says. “Everything went according to our plan.”
Magri adds that the project’s success will reinforce Demco’s standing as a leading problem-solver for advanced and specialized demolition projects in Europe.
“The demolition market can be rather difficult to work in at times, with a very hard price competition,” he explains. “But our specialized knowledge and equipment gives us a big competitive advantage for these kinds of projects. A traditional demolition contractor normally doesn’t have the knowledge. That is why we are quite busy with a lot of work.”
In the future, Demco plans to continue its growth track, and capitalize on its strengths. The company wants to become even more specialized in its field, and continue to increase the quality of its services, equipment, and expert personnel.