CSDA Contractor Leads Demolition for Eight-Story Barbadian Government Building
Known for its lustrous white beaches, warm cerulean waters, extravagant shopping scene, exceptional food, relaxed atmosphere and lively nightlife, Barbados is one of the most sought-after destinations to live, do business and play. Under the leadership of the progressive Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Barbados is redeveloping its capital of Bridgetown, further increasing the interest of developers and investors to its shores.
Barbados’ Investment in Tourism
In 1998, The Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. was created to facilitate Barbados’ investment in tourism and urban regeneration. Led by Prime Minister Mia Mottley and her government, they have radically overhauled the Town and Country Development Planning Act, making their planning and construction process faster, more predictable and more transparent.
The Bridgetown Transformation Project is one of The Barbados Tourism Investment Inc.’s latest investments. With the Prime Minister’s vision, Bridgetown’s redevelopment will be the anchor for the complete restoration of the communities. This will produce livelihood, infrastructure and sustainable futures for all, while adding twelve new hotels and five sites for significant expansions. One site, the Fairchild Street Market, will include 100 new stores, updating the current vendor market that was a temporary tented area. Mottley says in a video on the Bridgetown Transformation’s Instagram, “The conditions under which we have made our vendors live for the last two decades are nothing short of awful, and it is this government’s intention to be able to not only make them better, but to make that location an area where all Barbadians and visitors will want to congregate.”
C.O. Williams Construction Ltd. of Barbados Calls Interstate Sawing & Demolition
C.O. Williams Construction Ltd. of Barbados is the biggest general construction contractor servicing Barbados, along with many other surrounding islands. As such, C.O. Williams and the Prime Minister are working closely during the phases of this project. In January 2020, Duke Long, owner of CSDA member Interstate Sawing & Demolition, of West Bend, Wisconsin, received a call from C.O. Williams and the Prime Minister regarding an eight-story government building, the former National Insurance and Social Security (NIS) Building in Bridgetown, that needed demolishing. “C.O. Williams is in every aspect of construction on Barbados and the surrounding islands, C.O. Williams tackles all concrete, quarries, carpentry, demolition and general contracting,” explains Long.
Because Barbados’s infrastructure is older, the major concern of the demolition was that the NIS Building was surrounded on three sides by businesses with very old and confined construction. There was no way to safely implode the building or get a high-reach excavator to complete the task without risking all adjacent properties. Long explained, “Knowing what my company does, C.O. Williams and the Prime Minister wanted my professional opinion.” When Long toured the site, he recommended two 4,500-pound Brokk 200 demolition robots for tearing down the challenging top four stories of the building, approximately 10,000-square feet on each floor. “They thought they needed 12,000-pound Brokk demolition robots when it would actually be overkill. Two 4,500-pound Brokk 200 robots with three crushers and four hammers would be more beneficial, especially since it was unclear how durable the floor structure was. It would eliminate the risk significantly if the smaller 4,500-pound Brokk robots were used,” says Long.
Interstate Sawing & Demolition estimated the job to take six weeks with the support of a 250-ton Crane Carriage and 20 operators. Since C.O. Williams wanted to purchase their own robots, they worked out a deal with Brokk and Interstate. Brokk would send the robots to Barbados for Interstate Sawing & Demolition to take care of the top four stories while simultaneously teaching C.O. Williams’s operators how to run the robots safely. In February 2020, all the supplies needed for the job were prepared in West Bend, Wisconsin, and shipped to Stanhope, New Jersey, where Brokk added their robots to the fleet and shipped everything to Miami, Florida. For the trip’s final stretch, the equipment was shipped to Bridgetown, Barbados, a journey that took two weeks.
Finishing Ahead of Schedule
Interstate Sawing & Demolition worked at a rate of five days per floor, completing the job three weeks ahead of schedule. To work more efficiently, Interstate Sawing & Demolition cut and broke a 12-foot by 12-foot elevator shaft on both sides of the building so that the robots could rip up the concrete and push the debris into the holes as they worked. The beams, which were 2 feet thick by 4 feet tall, were delaminated so that when the crane picked up the debris, it would be completely clean with the concrete separated from the steel. The robots added a level of safety for operators, and standard PPE was used. Since it was a demolition and air quality was a factor, air tank respirators were used as well as skin coverings.
Long admits, “At the end of the job, my wife, who was there the whole three weeks sitting on the beach as we worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week, told C.O Williams that next year we’re coming back and working for free. It was incredibly beautiful. Everything was so awesome, including the beaches, the food and the people.” As far as the project, Long explains, “I started my business in 1996 at a point when I was hoping I wouldn’t lose my home. Look at us now. We’re not only working in every corner of this country, but internationally too. It’s beyond my wildest dreams.”
Interstate is an accomplished company, which is made clear by the fact that they were chosen for a complex job almost 3,000-miles from home. Selective demolition is a delicate task, and in older and weaker infrastructures can be extremely dangerous. It takes knowledge, experience and creativity throughout an entire staff to accept these risky undertakings and complete them with sophistication. This job was particularly rewarding since the operators for Interstate were able to pass their expertise to the Barbadians and help them acquire Brokk robots that will certainly aid in the future phases of the restoration of their country.
The Bridgetown Transformation Project has just completed Phase 1 successfully and is continuing to transform Bridgetown into a better city for residents and tourists alike. More information can be found at barbadostourisminvestment.com or at instagram.com/bridgetowntransformationbti, where you can see detailed photos and videos of Interstate’s demolition of the NSI Building.
Interstate Sawing & Demolition has been the leader in concrete cutting, confined space and robotic demo, confined space lifting solutions, electric interior excavating, grinding and scanning since it was founded in 1996. Their vast knowledge of concrete renovation and removal, innovative ideas and continuing commitment to excellence has helped customers save time and money on their projects. Owner, Duke Long, is a working owner who has over 37 plus years of on the job experience. His “working hard in the field” ethics helps solidify Interstate Sawing & Demolition’s teamwork philosophy. Duke’s unique “on the job” work approach has helped keep the company and their 40 employees on the leading edge of industry trends and technology. Interstate Sawing & Demolition and its employees take pride in their professional artistry and performance. Their fully enclosed fleet of service trucks are self-contained and mobile-ready, and their box trucks are entirely equipped to act just like an actual on-site workshop. Interstate Sawing & Demolition brings a fully equipped and complete workshop right to your location while providing safe and reliable service for all of their customers.
General Contractor: C.O. Williams Construction Ltd.
CSDA Contractor: Interstate Sawing & Demolition, Duke Long
Methods Used: Robotic Demolition