Landmark building set to be demolished

Caterpillar human resources manager Chris Fairs outside the former office block
Caterpillar human resources manager Chris Fairs outside the former office block

AN iconic building – seen by millions of motorists – is to disappear from the skyline.

The office block at Caterpillar, in Peterlee, will be demolished this month 40 years after it was built.

The three-storey building stands near the entrance at Caterpillar’s North West Industrial Estate site and could be seen by drivers travelling up and down the nearby A19.

It housed 65 office workers including the finance and IT sections, as well as the boardroom and managing director’s office.

But it will be gone forever once the six-week demolition programme starts on Monday, October 31.

Caterpillar senior facility manager Tony Whittle said: “I have been at this place for 25 years and I have always had that tower block around. It’s a shame to see it go but it is exciting at the same time.”

Bosses have put in place one of the greenest demolition programmes ever seen.

Every bit of the concrete and glass will be ground up and re-used on construction projects planned at Caterpillar later this year, including an extension to the car park.

All the steel, metal and wood is being locally recycled and most of the furnishing is being re-used. The rest has been donated to Caterpillar’s business partners.

Once the building has gone, a new building could be built on the site such as a visitor centre with conference and meeting facilities.

Caterpillar has already prepared a new £1.5m state-of-the-art 1,400 sq metre office block and learning centre elsewhere on its complex, complete with rainwater harvesting, climate control, and the latest light dimmers.

It proved to be a more viable alternative to refurbishing the existing tower block which would have cost £9m.

Human resources manager Chris Fairs said: “This is an iconic building but it is not the most efficient, not the warmest and it only had one stairwell.”