02 December 2020 5 min read

Overcoming Challenges in the Demolition Market with a Human and Vanguard Approach


Following all the new safety measures is a matter of care for people and business resilience based on practical decisions. Check our interview with Westley Squibb Operations director at Squibb Group to find the inspiring key points for a successful demolition company during Covid-19 crises or any moment in history.

Talking to Westley Squibb in the middle of Covid-19 crises and business challenges is surprisingly refreshing. Aside from all the problems they face, you can feel the smile and energy on Squibb’s voice when talking about his business and the demolition market. He runs his family business with human values, lots of respect and appreciation for his team, clients and partners, literally creating a safety. Following all the new safety measures is a huge challenge as it is a demonstration of how deeply they care about the people around them.

Moreover, it is also about business resilience based on practical decisions to make their business stronger with the best technology to serve them as well as with clear communication among all. Check our interview to find the key points for a successful demolition company during Covid-19 crises or any moment in history.

  • 1. The Demolition sector plays a huge role as a part of the Construction Industry. As with the whole industry, it faces general as well as sector-specific challenges all the time. What would you say are the most common and constant challenges for demolition type companies in the UK?

The most common challenge that we have at the moment is to keep everybody safe and number two is [keep everybody] away from the workplace. On our logistics, transportation to the workplace is a key point for this safety. To avoid exposing our workers on the public transportation used before, we bought minibuses to pick up and safely deliver them back home. Our team has been with us for 23 - 40 years. They are like part of the family.

  • 2. Is there anything the demolition sector can start doing right now - to improve its state and overcome those challenges in the long run?

We all want to change, evolve. We do what we do well until we see the need for change. With the safety measures, this is where we are working now. We are ok for things to take a little bit longer to be able to follow the procedures as we also see the costs are rising. We can not afford to shut down our business so good relationships are a key vital point for the construction market right now. Building strong partnerships based on clear communication about the goals has played a good part for us. Not only taking good care of our team but also taking equal care of our customers.

Almost all our clients have been very good to us by understanding the new needs and the longer delivery deadlines as well as the higher prices. Their mindset has also changed keeping goals aligned, they are buying in our ideas and suggestions to overcome these challenges with us. Some of them are absolutely superb!

  • 3. What is the new technology impact on your sector (if there is any)?

Technology itself did not change much during Covid-19 time. It has to evolve obviously, but it takes time, especially on the demolition market. What we see now is a different use of the technologies that we already have at hand to keep our team safe. For instance, the use of Robotics excavators that can be used up to 100 metres high [in this case down!]. Modern machinery that is all computerised has been very supportive to avoid putting our staff in the dangerous zone.

  • 4. How does the demolition sector support environmental change, recycling, sustainability within the industry?

The demolition sector is at the forefront of recycling and sustainability. We are able to recycle about 90-97% of all materials. The more we recycle, the better the job, the cheaper for the client and the last waste for the planet [and our society!]. We are working to increase this to 98% of recycling all the materials at all of our projects.

  • 5. We are approaching the end of a very stressful and challenging year, the covid-19 outbreak changed the way we work, think and live, not only as businesses but also personally - the construction industry was not an exception here. What are the most crucial challenges the demolition sector faces now due to the virus outbreak? Are they different from the ones the sector faced before?

The safety aspect is THE MOST important thing, we want everyone to go home safely in the evening, ensuring there is enough work going on for us all to keep going forward and flourishing. This is the paramount for everybody in the construction industry right now. We need the volume of work coming in and, personally, I believe there will be [for all]. We [Squibb Group] are receiving tenders, so that’s a good thing, but there are some concerns if this is enough for our market and all the companies to survive.
This is a niche sector with a lot of family-run communities with smaller margins, less than they were 20 years ago meanwhile the costs went up. Most are set up from HQ, managing budget review meetings. We use Sage, Easybob, mobile tracking devices, lorries are being tracked to see how far they travel. We use that to collect data and gather more project information [that will help for better future tenders precision].

  • 6. What can we do to ensure business continuity then and emerge from this challenging time stronger?

Points I just described and, mainly, the quality of the job delivery. This is all about providing good work.

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2023-12-06 14:59:12