Pontypridd Retail Complex Demolition & Associated Temporary Works

Demolition engineering to demolish a large waterfront retail structure located on a live high street with significant space and access constraints.

Principal Contractor: Walters

Client: Pontypridd Council

Project Scope

This project was to demolish a large retail building complex in Pontypridd as part of a wider redevelopment project within the town.

The building, which included the former home of Dorothy Perkins and M&S retail outlets, had been suffering from a lack of maintenance and was in poor condition with structural surveys deeming that the building was beyond economic repair.

The scope of the work included the demolition methodology and associated temporary works, such as plant load assessments, weights for lifting, crane positions, and party wall support schemes. 

In addition, we designed flood wall propping systems and an interesting hoarding/vehicle barrier. 

The council wanted to preserve a portion of an adjacent building, necessitating a thorough assessment to determine the structural support required. A party wall support system was designed to ensure this part of the structure remained stable throughout the demolition process.

Project Constraints

The building’s location created several project constraints that impacted on the demolition methodology and scope of associated temporary works.

The building is located at the point where the rivers Rhonda and Taff converge. The structure sits above the river Rhonda, reducing access to the works. 

The requirement that the high street remained open, limited access to the site and demolition methodology. It also necessitated the design of a steel frame to support the hoarding, which was designed to protect against potential vehicle impact.

The access constraints significantly impacted the demolition methodology and complicated temporary works such as load assessments and crane positioning.

These constraints also meant that some stages of the demolition had to be undertaken by hand.

Demolition Methodology

The demolition process began by mechanically taking down the loading bay to allow access for the remaining demolition work.

A high-reach excavator, working from the site of the old access bay, was used to demolish as much of the structure as possible. This still left over 75% of the structure remaining.  

Once the high reach was demobilised, the works were undertaken using a combination of hand and small machines, in combination with a mobile crane. As the structure spanned the river, there were some significant steel beams to lift out.

Hand Demolition

Buildings on the high street side were demolished by hand to prevent damage to adjacent structures. This involved physically removing timber floors and dragging out debris with machines.

High Street Propping System

The street-facing façade was propped during the demolition to maintain structural stability. The design included the steel frame support for the hoardings against vehicle impact loadings.

Party Wall Support

The party wall support system involved the design of steel props and braces to maintain the integrity of the remaining structure.

The party walls to the other side of the site were assessed, and it was confirmed that no propping was required. 

The works were successfully completed in 2024.