Over 95% of concrete rubble from Ballymun flats to be reused


MORE THAN 95 per cent of the concrete rubble created by the demolition of flat blocks in Ballymun has been reused elsewhere, according to contractors working on the project.

To date, 14 of the 36 high-rise buildings have been razed to make way for new developments in the north Dublin suburb and new figures have indicated that by the end of the current phase of demolition about €15 million will have been spent on knocking down 20 of the condemned blocks.

A total of €32 million is expected to be spent levelling all the high-rise complexes as part of the massive rejuvenation of the district by Ballymun Regeneration Ltd (BRL), the Dublin City Council firm that is overseeing the works.

In recent days, demolition work has begun on a block of former homes on Balcurris Road with the use of a long-arm mechanical cruncher and most of the concrete waste is being taken to a processing facility at a site near Dublin airport.

Since the blocks were first levelled from July 2004, almost all the stone waste has been crushed and recycled.

Most notably, it has been used as bulk filling over the soil under the new car park at the Ikea store and for a new access road that leads into Ikea, off the M50.

Some of the concrete was used on other undisclosed construction jobs in place of quarried material.

Nearly 300,000 tonnes of concrete rubble from the walls and floors of the flats will be created during demolition, which is currently scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012.

The amount of concrete reused so far exceeds future government targets for construction and demolition (C&D) waste recycling, said a spokesman for Muir Associates, the consultant engineering company working on behalf of BRL.

He said the use of crushed concrete to help erect new replacement homes for residents in Ballymun was not economically viable and its use for individuals building home extensions was "fairly limited".

The latest data published by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that Ireland has a low recycling rate of core C&D waste and the national recovery rate for 2006 was 36 per cent.

The cost of dismantling one flat alone is €6,500, with an extra €4,000 added to that figure if the work involves the removal of textured asbestos.

Most of the other structures contained in the vacated flats in Ballymun were disposed off in an environmentally-friendly manner, said BRL. Hazardous materials such as asbestos are removed to a licensed facility, while white goods, steel sinks, steel doors, boilers and metal windows are taken to Hammond Lane for metal recycling.

Timber from doors or kitchen units have been shredded at a plant in Baldoyle Co Dublin for recycling as chipboard, while the toilets remain in the buildings and are processed with the concrete.

Most of the soft furnishings were sent to the dump.

Three experienced UK firms have been hired for the specialist demolition jobs for the initial phases, following a tender process.

The Government has set national targets of 85 per cent recovery for C&D waste by 2013.