Work has started on the demolition of the multi-storey Liverpool Waterfront Car Park which was destroyed by fire on New Year’s Eve.
The process of removing the first vehicles from the seven-storey car park, which has almost 1,200 vehicles inside – of which over 1,000 are completely burnt out, will begin tomorrow (Thursday, 22 November).
It is anticipated that the majority of the demolition will be complete before Christmas and prior to the first anniversary of the fire.
The demolition follows an agreement with insurance companies and liaison with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) including the process and the procedure for the removal of the vehicles not burnt out. These vehicles will be taken to a secure compound and the relevant insurance companies will be liaising with the owners regarding the removal of any belongings from these vehicles.
Many of these vehicles will have suffered water, heat and smoke damage during the blaze, which at its height had 21 fire appliances tackling it, protecting the surrounding buildings.
No vehicles could be removed prior to the demolition process commencing due to safety concerns regarding the fragile nature of the building.
Mersey Fire and Rescue Service recently concluded that temperatures during the blaze reached over 1,000 degree Celsius, far higher than the previous estimate of 600 degrees, which has caused extreme internal damage to the integrity of the structure.
Safety has been of paramount concern regarding the planning of demolition and the engineers have discussed all matters with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
During the first five months following the fire, there were detailed discussions with insurers of both the building and vehicles alongside a series of detailed structural assessments and reports. More recently, a series of enabling works have been completed to ensure the site continues to operate and is open for business during the demolition process.
Planning permission for a new, nine-floor car park for 1,650 vehicles at Monarch’s Quay was recently approved. The new car park at ACC Liverpool will be fitted with CCTV, electric vehicle charging points, sprinkler system, 15 motorcycle spaces and 50 cycle spaces. It will also have 100 disabled parking bays and fully accessible fire evacuation lifts.
A series of highway changes are also being proposed to improve access into and out of the new car park, especially after sell-out events.
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “Establishing a series of plans and procedures to dismantle the existing car park has been a hugely complex and detailed piece of work which has prioritised the safety of people. We have been in a constant dialogue with insurers and have been carrying out a robust set of enabling works that will ensure we can minimise disruption to the site during the demolition.
“An incredible amount of hard work has gone in to coming up with a temporary facility to enable ACC Liverpool to continue functioning as normal but also designing and submitting plans for a new car park.
“We must not forget that it has been a traumatic process for those whose cars were inside and have had to go through the process of negotiating an insurance claim.
“The new car park will be built to latest specifications and will give ACC Liverpool a facility that will more than meet its growing needs.”
The new car park will be built in front of Exhibition Centre Liverpool by contractor Willmott Dixon, which recently built Victoria Street car park alongside a hub for a new fruit, vegetable and flower market in Gillmoss. Work is planned for completion by summer 2020.
As a temporary measure the council is also erecting a four floor, 550 space car park on the site to support events at the waterfront venues. This will be completed and ready for operation in December.
Once demolished, the previous car park site will be levelled and made safe before being incorporated into a wider masterplan for Kings Dock.