Environment and quality secure a high reach in Geneva 

The first ever full factory specification Volvo EC480D HR D-Series high reach demolition excavator has started work in Geneva, Switzerland.

Demolishing a block of former administrative offices overlooking the Rhone River in the heart of the city, the Volvo EC480D HR was ordered last year by excavation and demolition specialist HTP before it even became reality.

Founder and Managing Director at HTP, Yves Huguenin explains: When we made the decision to invest in the Volvo EC480D HR it didn’t actually exist – It was just information on paper so we didn’t have the possibility to see it with our own eyes.”

“Importantly, the engine was new and where we wanted to be in terms of emissions, the hydraulics had been optimized; everything was new and we felt it was a good machine for us and of the right size. Furthermore we knew and trusted Volvo … Even our cars feature the iron mark! Now we have the machine on site I would say I am delighted with our decision.”

The former government offices front the busy Rue du Stand with its tramline, pedestrian pathways and road traffic, so it is a challenging project and requires very careful attention. Thierry Truffat, Site Manager for HTP said: “There is a protective screen along the front of the four storey building but this is only really for small fragments and dust and certainly wouldn’t contain any large scale debris. As such this is a highly controlled demolition requiring precision and great care. The Volvo EC480D HR is enabling us to conduct a safe deconstruction with real efficiency and high productivity.”

Mr Hugenin added that while he currently has five people working on the site, after one week’s operation it was already evident that the operation could be conducted with less people thanks to the Volvo high reach machine.

Referring to the operator of the company’s newest acquisition Mr Hugenin said: “He has worked in Switzerland for over 15 years and was one of our first employees. He is very calm and works with his mind and this makes him different.”

“Just watching him in the EC480D HR you can see it’s a good and operator friendly machine. You only need to look at his eyes and you can see that he’s comfortable and calm. The machine is not stressing him or presenting unexpected surprises.”


The demolition will create some 2,000m3 of material. Some 900 m3 of this will be crushed on site and re-used for site preparation and construction of the new building. The remainder will be taken away for recycling with only a small percentage going to waste.

The environment, both in terms of waste and also exhaust emissions is at the forefront of contract awards in Geneva, so companies such as HTP take it extremely seriously. In this regard the Volvo D-Series EC480D HR is a rare gem in the high reach demolition sector as it is Stage IIIB compliant and meets the stringent emissions requirements without additional exhaust gas filtration having to be fitted as an aftermarket extra.

Mr Huguenin said: “For me the deciders in choosing the Volvo EC480D HR were that it’s a brand new machine with a new engine that’s Stage IIIB compliant. The machine is also strong and it has sufficient reach in terms of height. When making this investment we looked at several brands and while the pricing was not that different the Volvo stood apart in regard configuration and in terms of emissions. Furthermore, we have a long history with Volvo and the dealer here in Geneva, Robert Aebi, and we are very happy with the level of support we receive.”

Once the demolition is completed the generous site in the heart of Geneva will have a development value of tens of millions of Swiss Francs. The demolition project in itself has a value in the range of CHF 500,000 (SEK 3.5 million).

HTP’s site manager Thierry Truffat said: “On this site noise restrictions mean we are able to work from 07:00 through to 19:00 with a one hour shut down from 12:00 to 13:00. Mind you; this is much less of an issue with the Volvo high reach unit nibbling away at the building than with breakers, which are much noisier.”

HTP started on site on 2nd April taking out windows, electrical cabling and insulation. “During this phase we had to deal with some asbestos contamination, which required special attention and took a little extra time, but thanks to the productivity of the Volvo high reach the delay has already been caught up,” said Mr Truffat.

“At this early stage we are very happy with the EC480D HR and it certainly meets our requirements. Of course, we will learn more as time goes by and the machine works on more sites. We anticipate that it will suit the confined conditions that we often face in Geneva and believe it is of the correct capacity and specification to handle the type of buildings with which we generally work.”

Existing city plans show that Geneva will see a great many buildings demolished in the coming years and with the Volvo EC480D HR now heading its fleet HTP is optimistic that it can be at the forefront of this redevelopment process in the city.

“The Volvo EC480D HR also opens the door to selective demolition, which again will be important going forwards as a number of buildings in Geneva are constructed to such a high standard and are in such tight confines that only this type of work will be possible,” said Mr Truffat.

“Certainly with the Volvo high reach unit I believe we have greater potential to work on more sites – We now have the capability to work on projects that were previously beyond our reach because the buildings were too high,” he enthused.

About HTP

This year HTP celebrates 15 years. The company started out in February 1998 and its first big project was a demolition job in Geneva, where a crane was used to raise a corner house to the ground.

After 10 years in business the company had grown to a staff of 45 and now it employees some 75 personnel.

In terms of equipment HTP operates 25 excavators, one Rubble Master RM80 crusher equipped with a noise absorber, a small 30 tonne high reach excavator and now the new Volvo EC480D HR high reach demolition excavator. A majority of the company’s fleet is Volvo (18 units). “We trust and like Volvo products,” said Mr Huguenin.

HTP works basically in Geneva because its customers are from there and to date the company has won sufficient work in the city. Mr Huguenin said: “Maybe with the Volvo EC480D HR we may travel a little further afield but I believe we can keep it properly utilized just here in Geneva.”

“Historically we have worked in both excavation and demolition but I believe the future will be more about demolition. With this in mind the Volvo EC480D HR high reach demolition excavator sets us apart as not everyone can make this type of investment. With this machine and with the level of specialist demolition attachments and tools that we have I believe we are now very strong in this sector,” he concluded.