A specialist North East demolition firm has won a major international award for its work to clear the BOS plant at the former Redcar Steelworks site.

Thompsons of Prudhoe, a long-established family business and one of Northumberland’s best-known companies, scooped the Contractor of the Year award at the prestigious World Demolition Awards held in Toronto, Canada.

One of the largest explosive blowdowns in the UK over the last 75 years, the multi-million-pound project was delivered ahead of schedule, within budget and with zero accidents.  The Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant was the biggest of the structures making up the iconic steelworks that, in its 170 -year history, produced steel for the likes of Sydney Harbour Bridge, Wembley Stadium and The Shard.

“Our team delivered one of Europe’s largest-ever demolition schemes with incredible skill, quality service and attention to detail at every stage –and we’re all so proud to see this work recognised on a global scale,” said operations director Tom Koerner.

Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, added: “Clearing the Redcar Steelworks site has been a mammoth task and one that required the best of the best, which is why we brought in Thompsons of Prudhoe. This award is a testament to their tireless work on the site to help us make progress.

“Our plan is to transform the Teesworks site at pace, but we want it to be done to the highest standards to attract the biggest and best investment from across the world.

“A huge well-done to Thompsons who truly deserve this international award for their incredible work in delivering a demolition that was on time and on budget and – most importantly – was done safely for both workers and the public.”

Tom continued: “It’s been fantastic to have played a part in a regeneration project of this scale and significance for the Teesside region.  Seeing 105,000 tonnes of steel brought down within 30 seconds as part of the planned explosive element on this job was quite the event.

“We are also proud that we were able to offer local employment opportunities as part of this project, as well as recycling more than 98% of the site-won materials – an incredible environmental achievement.”

Demolishing the Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant was the largest single project across the 4,500 acre site.  It now enables the next phase of works to begin at Teesworks, supporting the 25-year vision to build a world-class industrial site creating thousands of jobs.

The destruction, which took place 1st October 2022 required 1,680kg of explosive charges, 3,800 metres of charge line and took a team of 20 people more than 18 months to plan.

Teesworks CEO, Martin Corney, said: “Thompsons of Prudhoe has been outstanding to work with over the over the last few years and supported us from the very beginning.  The sheer volume of work achieved in the shortest of timescales is quite remarkable.

“To witness the impressive 105,000 tonne BOS plant cathedral structure being brought down to the ground in one of the UK’s biggest-ever demolition explosions was quite something!

“We thank Thompsons for the hard work, effort and professionalism shown throughout the project.  We quite simply could not have achieved the same successful outcomes without them.”

Founded in 1948, Thompsons is a family-owned business with more than 330 directly-employed staff.  It specialises in construction demolition and deconstruction, asbestos removal, earthworks, site clearance and reclamation, quarries, aggregates and agricultural lime.

It is also well-known in the offshore sector for Its Battleship Wharf facility – a multi-million-pound joint venture with Port of Blyth that is winning significant numbers of oil and gas decommissioning contracts as North Sea assets reach the end of their operating life.