Brunel Centre, Swindon


Lawson Group were awarded the contract for the soft strip and cladding Removal of units at the Brunel Shopping Centre, Swindon.


The site was located within the Brunel Shopping Centre in Swindon, the works included the soft strip of units 37,15,39,40,41,20,19 and 18. This would be phase one of the works, these units were located on the 1st floor of the shopping centre located on both sides of a link bridge.

As part of the strip out works the external cladding to the link bridge would also need to be removed along with a vegetation feature. Access across the link bridge would need to remain open to the public at all times, with a minimum width of three metres to be maintained. Out of hours working would be required in order to safely carry out some of the works such as the link bridge floor covering and ceiling removal.

Daily meetings with the Brunel Centre staff would need to be held to ensure they were kept informed of details, such as site deliveries and plant movements.

All site staff would be made aware of the busy public areas they would be working in, there were to be no radios, bad language or loud noises created during the works. The site supervisor was to carry out noise monitoring at designated points around the site, with records kept.

All vehicles entering the site would be pre-planned and controlled by the appointed banksman.


Before any work started, a letter drop to all the surrounding shops took place, the wording was pre-approved by the Brunel Centre Management team before it was issued. All doors and shop fronts were kept closed and locked for as long as possible, this was to reduce noise and allow any dust generated to be contained.

Hoarding was also erected around the working areas; this would be required to be moved at times in order to access ceilings and floor coverings. Each unit was checked for the presence of sharps by the site supervisor.

All the required permits to work were acquired including: Electrical and Mechanical isolation permit and Hot works permit.

Prior to the initial soft strip taking place, a CAT scan for live services was undertaken. A drop zone was created using Heras fencing with signage attached. Lawson Group’s operatives, tasked with carrying out soft stripping, worked in teams of not less than two operatives at any one time. Loose contents from within the structure, including furniture, appliances, loose waste etc. were removed by hand in a controlled manner and arising’s managed in accordance with the Site Waste Management Plan. Door frames and skirting boards were removed by using bar and sledgehammers – all nails and fixings were removed from the walls.

As the above process got under way, all waste generated was progressively removed using wheeled bins and trolleys. The waste was taken to the goods lift and lowered to the ground level service yard. The bins and trolleys were then taken to the compound. Each bin was then unloaded by hand; all waste was stacked into the designated forty-yard bin for removal from site. All the soft stripped material was removed each day to ensure a build-up of combustible material could not occur. Next, our teams had to remove the floor and ceiling to the link bridge. At all times the walkway was left open to the public with a minimum of a three-metre walkway across. Using floor scrapers, the floor tiles were quietly lifted. As each section was removed, they were loaded into a wheelbarrow and removed via the goods lift.

A handheld water sprayer was used to ensure any dust generated was kept to a minimum. Once the floor tiles had been removed the area was inspected to see if it could be opened to the public. All trip hazards were removed, and a temporary floor covering was put in place.

A tower scaffold was used to access the underside of the ceiling. The plaster board was lightly wetted to minimise any dust generated, the ceiling was then removed and lowered to ground level. All M&E was cut out and removed, as each area of work was completed it was inspected by the site supervisor to ensure all loose material had been removed.

Due to the location of the external cladding and vegetation feature, this was removed out of working hours as agreed with the Brunel Centre management beforehand.

All fencing carried signage warning of the dangers that would affect others entering the demolition zone during this stage of the works. All entrances to each building were securely fenced off to ensure no entry could be made into the building. A drop zone was set up around the link bridge using Heras fencing and signage attached.

The site supervisor and banksman were located at ground level in the working area for the duration of the work. A scissor lift was utilised for access to the top of the cladding, vegetation and sign. Using a battery powered impact drill, the screws were removed. As each panel was unscrewed, a second operative supported each panel, once it is free from the building it was lowered to ground level in the MEWP. This process was repeated until both sides of cladding had been removed.

A brush was used to ensure all reaming walls and steel work were free from dust. As the cladding was removed the waste was taken to the loading area and placed into the designated waste bins. All plant, fencing and waste were removed before 6am the following day. The working area was then swept clean and inspected.


The soft stripping and cladding removal works were completed on time ready for the next stage of the development.

To find out more on how Lawson Group can help with your next demolition or asbestos removal project, call 01793 782000, email