Natwest Tower Demolition

Principal contractor: H Smith Engineers Ltd

Location: Birmingham

Project: Nat West Tower - demolition project

Service: Access

Scaffold Erection Services Ltd (SES) - A Denholm Industrial Group Company



Extensive and innovative scaffolding was designed and installed for a major demolition project at one of the tallest buildings in Birmingham City Centre: the Nat West Tower.  


The Challenge

Principal contractor H Smith Engineers Ltd appointed SES to design and construct scaffold solutions to enable access for this complex project. The building was in a very confined city-centre environment with numerous obstacles to overcome including difficult access, podium roofs and adjacent property roofs. In addition, four basement levels required extensive back-propping solutions to allow a 250 feet high scaffold to be constructed to the office tower. The task was far from straight forward.

The Nat West tower was initially constructed in 1975 to a design by John Maddin.  Maddin also designed the original Birmingham Central Library and both buildings were among the most iconic buildings in the city. Occupying a prominent position on Colmore Row - the most prestigious address in the city's business district - the building sat unused since 2003 until planning permission was granted for a new 35-storey modern office and retail building.



Scaffold Erection Services (SES) is a part of Denholm Industrial Services Ltd.  Managing Director Phil Heffernan highlighted that “among the access problems to overcome, not least was the need to build a 250 feet high scaffold above adjacent pedestrian streets, busy city-centre roads and lower level roofs."


The Solution

Heavy duty designed street gantries and protection fans were installed progressively at several levels as the scaffold was constructed. In addition, SES designed and erected primary truss out beam work from high level floors to support secondary prefabricated beam spans over adjacent property roofs.

The intensive scaffold leg loads clustered through trebled standards were transferred through the four basement levels.  Installation of extensively designed back propping systems gave an overall scaffold height of just under 290 feet.

H Smith Project Manager Nick Francis has many years’ experience with specialist demolition projects. “This project is by far one of the most complex demolition works I have been involved in to date. The access works are one of the most difficult aspects to overcome. Having worked with SES we are grateful that they have brought us their vast scaffolding experience and their steadfast commitment to delivering the highest levels of service and quality, complemented by a safety culture that always supports their operations on site.”