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Explosive Demolition

Client: New Gorbals Housing Association Ltd Discipline(s): Soft strip, asbestos removal, explosive demolition, evacuation Location: 170 & 200 Sandiefield Road, Crown Street Regeneration Area, Gorbals, Glasgow
Programme: 34 weeks   


To make way for new redevelopment projects in the heart of the award winning Crown Street Regeneration Area in Glasgow, New Gorbals Housing Association appointed Coleman & Company to demolish two 24-storey tower blocks in Gorbals. Built in 1971, 170 and 200 Sandiefield Road were large panel blocks of flats, each standing at 69 metres tall and containing 394 dwellings. This explosive demolition project was to pave the way for a new Health Centre, social housing and office accommodation for the Housing Association.  

Scope of works

The blowdown was the culmination of months of detailed and meticulous planning by Coleman & Company with New Gorbals Housing Association and other stakeholders including Police Scotland, Glasgow City Council, the Highways Agency, Network Rail, Air Traffic Control, utilities providers and extensive engagement with the local community. Key works included:
  • Simultaneous, explosive demolition of two, 24-storey residential housing blocks each 69 metres tall
  • Blast design and sequencing
  • Soft strip of internal furnishings and fittings
  • Asbestos removal
  • Safe evacuation of 687 people from 355 properties
  • Pre-demolition preparation and drilling: Block 170 required 3,460 holes and block 200 required 3,420 holes to be drilled
  • Recycling and removal of 35,000 tonnes of concrete
  • Traffic management of road and rail provision in the surrounding areas
The project was completed together with colleagues from Coleman Specialist Cutting Services and Coleman Engineering Services.  

Project challenges

The original construction of the tower blocks, coupled with the residential location, posed a number of challenges within the project, including:
  • Several high voltage cables ran through the middle of the site and the public highway serving the blocks had to be maintained, just two metres from Block 170. A sequenced blast was designed to minimise damage or disruption
  • Various protection measures had to be designed to minimise debris from the large panel tower blocks and protect the electric cables
  • Mixed feelings about the controversial demolition of the tower blocks within the local community meant that emotions ran high and needed to be carefully managed
The blowdown delivered was a textbook operation and Coleman & Company received plaudits from New Gorbals Housing Association, Police Scotland, Network Rail, Crown Street Residents Association and many of the local residents.  


The site was located within the Gorbals area of Glasgow and is confined with a main arterial road and elevated rail track beyond immediately to the west. Commercial premises exist immediately to the north and the Public Highway with Gorbals’ new four storey housing development exists to the east and south.  

  • Coleman Engineering Services
  • Coleman & Company Specialist Cutting Services
  • Soft strip
  • Asbestos removal
  • Demolition specification excavators
  • Vibration monitoring
  • Heavy excavators
  • Crushing crew
  • Explosive engineering team
  • Blowdown team
  • 50 police officers and four police dogs
  Click on the links to view our video of the Gorbals blowdown demolition or an overview of the Gorbals Demolition project