Demolishing without disturbing
“The Volvo line of excavators delivers maximum reach and
stability with no vibration and very little noise. Now, that’s a
killer combination for demolitions.”
Mohan Ramanathan
Managing Director, Advanced Construction Technologies (P) Ltd, Chennai
It is never easy to introduce modernity in
places rich in history. In a city like Chennai
which has a history of 350 years, great
architectural heritage and is so full of ‘oldworld’ charm, the problem gets further
compounded. So, when the Metro Rail
Project in the city - the largest public project
in Tamil Nadu - got underway, the authorities
of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) knew
they had quite a challenge ahead. And they
knew it had to do with demolitions - they had
to get that right first before anything else.
“You see, Chennai is home to hundreds of
heritage structures, quite a few of them in the
congested heart of the city along the alignment
of the Metro,” says Mohan Ramanathan,
Managing Director, Advanced Construction
Technologies Ltd (ACT). “And you don’t mess
around with Chennai’s architectural heritage
- not the slightest bit.” ACT and VolvoCE
are in the forefront of demolitions for the
Chennai Metro Project. Together, they have
been clearing up the ground for the laying
of tracks in Phase 1 of the Project. So far,
they have got their act absolutely right in the
station locations at Mannady, Central Station,
Thirumangalam and Washermanpet. “We are
talking about text-book demolitions, really,”
says Mohan Ramanathan. “It’s been swift,
silent, smooth… with no untoward incidents
and without disturbing day-to-day activity.”
Tearing them down with ease
Starting with the razing of the Police Quarters
at Mannady Station in the very busy Broadway
Street through to the pulling down of the multistoried Hotel Picnic sandwiched between
two famous heritage structures near Central
Station, the demolitions have proceeded
with minimum fuss and stress. “The tearing
down of Hotel Picnic was a particularly tricky
one,” says Mohan Ramanathan. “We had
to ensure zero-damage to the landmark
structures on either side - Ripon Building
& Victoria Public Hall. The clearance area
available was just 5m on both sides. But
our Volvos pulled it off with ease!”
Volvo Construction Equipment
The Volvo line of Excavators have paved the way for Chennai’s dream metro project without disturbing the city’s architectural heritage
For the demolition of the 30m-high Hotel
Picnic building and other structures, four
Volvo machines were deployed - one each
EC210, EC240, EC360 & EC460BLC
excavators. The EC460BLC excavator was
fitted with a 26m triple demolition boom and
hydraulic crusher to tear down the reinforced
concrete structure. No damage was caused
to the heritage structures, notwithstanding the
fact they were over 100 years old and made
of masonry in lime mortar. “The Volvo line of
excavators delivers maximum reach and
stability with no vibration and very little
noise. Now, that’s a killer combination for
demolitions,” says Mohan Ramanathan.
According to him, Volvos are real workhorses
with robust under-carriage system and
demolition-grade hydraulics that ensure
power and control are never compromised.
The operators really enjoy working in the cool,
comfortable Volvo cabins, he adds.
This is the first time in Chennai that such a
high-reach demolition machine has been
used. And it has won instant approval from CMRL
Project Managers. They find Volvo demolition
equipment absolutely safe and recommend them
for all future high-rise demolitions in the Project.
“Well, Chennai has always been a ‘city of firsts’,”
says Mohan Ramanathan. “We are sure glad to
be in the list.”
The demolition industry in India is currently
pegged at about Rs 1,000 crore. With urban
infrastructure set to boom across the country,
the growth potential for the industry is huge.
“But it needs to get a lot more organized first,”
says Mohan Ramanathan. “Demolitions are all
about bringing it down quickly, efficiently…
and as quietly as possible. And you can’t do
that unless you have the finest people and
equipment around - like Volvo.”
A Volvo excavator pulling down a structure along the alignment
ACT and VolvoCE - one big demolition army