Long-awaited work to finally demolish what is left of Aberdeen’s St Nicholas House has been halted on safety grounds, the Press and Journal can reveal.
It is understood that the contractors were told by the Health and Safety Executive that they could not continue with the next stage of the operation due to fears that the remaining four floors could collapse.
Dundee-based demolition firm Safedem had been scheduled to start setting up machinery to level the building for good on Monday evening.
Finance convener councillor Willie Young said last night: “It is true to say that the HSE has thrown a spanner in the works.
“Safety is of paramount importance to us, and it is our number one priority to make sure everyone involved in the demolition is safe.
“However, this decision by the HSE is disappointing, because they have been consulted throughout the process, and all the work that we have already carried out.
“My understanding is that there is to be a meeting with the HSE to make sure that we can proceed with the demolition as soon as possible.”
A spokeswoman for the city council said: “Work on the final phase of the demolition of the St Nicholas House tower has been postponed for operational reasons.
“Demolition contractor Safedem had been due to begin demolishing the side elevations and breaking the building into two sections, on Monday, but work has been postponed.
“Safedem and Aberdeen City Council are confident that the identified method is the safest way to take down the building, and are committed to working with the HSE to deliver the final stages of this complex project in a safe and controlled manner.
“We are unable to say when work will resume, but are seeking a speedy resolution. The works will proceed once all parties are satisfied.”
An HSE spokesman last night insisted that Safedem had voluntarily stopped work at the site.
He said: “As would be routine for a project of such complexity, we have been working with the contractor to ensure safe demolition.
“They have voluntarily stopped work until we meet them next week to discuss the way they propose to carry out the remaining floors of the demolition.”
Broad Street will remain open until the work is rescheduled.