NFDC president on the importance of sustainability for growth


Martin Wilson is thinking green and seeing growth as he takes on the role as president of the National Federation of Demolition contractors. Having been in the industry for decades, he has certainly seen its ups and downs. When Finning News caught up with him at the old GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham, Martin makes no secret of his ambition to grow the influence of the NFDC in the UK and beyond.

Martin: “The demolition sector is a real bellwether for the rest of the industry, it was the first to go into the recession and the first to climb out. Put simply, you have to take down the old before you build the new.

“It does makes me laugh when people unfamiliar with our sector come onto a demolition site and are shocked to see just how modern demolition works. I think there are still a lot of preconceived ideas about demolition and the people who work within it. This is why it excites me to be able to play a key role in promoting the sector, as I believe we have some of the most talented and skilled individuals in the whole construction industry.

“Our operators are highly trained, we work with some of the best plant and specialist equipment in the world. Our site teams have to engineer solutions to make sure that what has gone up, will come down safely and efficiently. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t get a kick out of seeing a building or structure demolished.

“There is much more to the demolition sector than the name suggests and this is what excites me about the future. Clients and the industry at large have changed in the recession and there is now more of a focus on sustainability.

“This plays right into the hands of NFDC members. Going green, understanding how to recycle and reclaim materials is in our DNA. More customers are asking for a complete service offering, that incorporates demolition, recycling and remediation. They want a ‘ready to build’ site, delivered in the most sustainable way.

“This has been partly driven by the Governments 2025 construction strategy that has targeted a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the build environment. But as construction costs rise, it also pays to have a joined up approach to site clearance and preparation, with as much material recycled or reused as possible.

“We now need to work incredibly hard to attract the talent and skills to grow. This is not going to be easy, but if we invest in innovative technology and equipment, we can also become more efficient and cost effective.

“I truly believe NFDC members can become leaders, not just in the UK, but throughout Europe and for those who focus on sustainability, growth won’t be far away. 2015 is definitely going to be an interesting year.”