Local building contractor R Falla, appointed by developers Comprop for the ‘soft strip’ and demolition at the former Brewery site, have enabled the public to see the work progressing on site, through a site visit by the local press.
The soft strip, which started in August and is now complete, involved the removal of all internal finishes, fixtures and fittings before the demolition work could begin. All of the old Brewery machinery and materials were taken out, as well as the complete removal of all furnishings and office furniture. Following the soft strip, some other materials including a limited amount of asbestos, which are common to buildings of a certain age, were removed under carefully controlled conditions.
Work began on the demolition itself on 02 September. This now involves the complete demolition of the Brewery building as well as various other buildings and commercial properties on the Strand and on Havelet road, all of which comprise the site.
In terms of the future residential redevelopment, the historical aspects of the site are being preserved as far as is possible. As well as the replication of the 18th Century Brewery Façade, all of the significant features of the building have been recorded and salvaged. These granite lintels, pillars and arches, together with balconies, railings and render features, will be incorporated as features into the new residential development.
As well as the preservation of the key historical feature elements, the demolition works have uncovered various underground cisterns, cellars and wells. These are being investigated and recorded very carefully for historical purposes.
The demolition will continue for some months yet, with completion not anticipated until the end of the year. As the contractors are maintaining access for the public to Havelet road, South Esplanade and Val de Terres at all times, access to the site is somewhat restricted for the 35 tonne excavators and cranes that are being used for the majority of the demolition works. The size and dynamics of both the building and the site also make the demolition complicated.
To provide added protection to the public, a scaffold with protective cover has been erected around most of the building for the duration of the demolition phase. This will offer added protection against dust and debris, in addition to a high tech ‘dust suppression unit’ that has been imported from the UK to help cut down airborne dust.
Commenting on the work to date, RG Falla’s Project Director Graham Brook, said:
“We are delighted with progress thus far. We have not met with any issues that have caused us particular concern, and which would be expected with buildings of a certain age. Our expert team is working well within the particular challenges of the site, due predominantly to the steep terracing of the hillside.
“We are taking every available measure in terms of safe removal of materials from the site and, where possible, will reuse materials, provided of course they meet appropriate standards and specifications.
“As well as the replication of the Brewery façade, we are pleased to be able to preserve some historical aspects of the main building. Albeit a former industrial site, the Brewery is a significant part of Island history, which we respect and hope to preserve where possible by incorporation into the new residential environment.
“We are also making every effort to minimise disruption in the area, which is inevitable from such a large scale redevelopment; but which we are managing well, in order to enable on-going public access to the area and the containment of the work within the site itself.”