Sheerness Steel Mill – Melt Shop Phase 1

Project Overview

Sheerness Steelworks opened in 1971 and closed permanently in 2012. Highly regarded within its home town on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, the Steel Mill provided great employment throughout its lifetime and as such, the heritage and warmth towards the looming site was unmistakable. Whether it be the last remaining and ever so knowledgeable employees or the local press, it was clear that all eyes were keen to watch the evolving project.

The Client had developed an intelligent masterplan for the reuse and redevelopment of the site and subsequently engaged DDS for the demolition of Phase 1 following our substantial experience with Mill and Industrial demolition projects.

Covering a 32 acre site, DDS systematically demolished all outbuildings, baghouses, silos and low level structures prior to the methodical demolition of the 32 metre high, 130 metre long Melt Shop.

This was no ordinary demolition however. The very nature of the Melt Shop – melting scrap metal into liquid steel – created a most unusual residual environment. Put into context, a simple bonfire in the garden will create a fine ash, the residual 45 year old ash within the Melt Shop was understandably on another scale all together.

This tends to be where DDS excels. We take stock and respect the history of a structure prior to demolition. It is not enough just to apply the textbook logic and structural calculations, the history of the site needs to be understood in order to devise an appropriate demolition plan that takes all factors and eventualities into account.

With this in mind, and acknowledging the accompanying challenges it would bring, DDS opted to demolish the structure from the inside out, whilst retaining the outer shell of the building to further act as barrier to the outside environment.

The interior of the Melt Shop was just as imposing as the exterior. Heavily and cleverly engineered for its purpose, composed of reinforced concrete mezzanine floors, layers and layers of steel pipework and huge overhead cranes, the methodical demolition needed to be executed to perfection.

Moving onto the external shell, alongside our in-house fleet of demolition machinery, DDS also employed a super high reach to access the 32m high roof. Following the steady removal of each sheet on the outer shell, we were then left with the steel skeleton of the building and cumbersome steel inner pipe sat on the final section.

Accurate structural calculations ensured the safe and specific pre-weakening of the remaining steel beams all leading to the final and heaviest section of the Melt Shop being demolished in one final coordinated pull.

The well-documented demolition went smoothly and professionally, leading the way for DDS to secure the demolition and groundwork package for Phase 2 – The Rod & Billet Bay.