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I've been inspired by Gareth's appearance in the One Show


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#1 Gary_1323

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 06:57 PM

Hi all,

I watched the short video clip from the BBC One Show. The topic, themed on November the 5th, was about blackpowder and how its uses have changed over the years. Being an avid pyrotechnics enthusiast, I am intrigued by Gareth's line of work in the professional pyro industry. There was a short clip of a ball shell being constructed (well, I saw the two hemis put together). What I would like to know is this: how would I go about entering this particular area of the professional pyrotechnics/special effects industry? I am full-time (Mon-Fri, 9-5) chemist by profession, working in the specialism of synthetic organic chemistry, which is indeed very satisfying and lucrative in itself, but I would also like to dabble in professional pyrotechnics on a part-time/spare time basis (i.e. weekends, when I am not attending my main line of work in the chemical industry). Not only would the experience be enjoyable (as I am a keen pyro enthusiast), but it would also be a source of additional income, even if it is only a small one.

#2 Arthur Brown

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 07:40 PM

First have a few spare £million and a site with an explosives manufacturing licence from the HSE, Second there is almost no market to cover the costs.
http://www.movember.com/uk/home/

Keep mannequins and watermelons away from fireworks..they always get hurt..

#3 Guest_PyroPDC_*

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 08:47 PM

its actually quite easy if you can find a piece of land that nobody will object to you making explosives, Planning permission is the hardest part, once you have that everything else should be fine. though it helps if you have HSE on your side as they can cause a lot of grief if you don't comply.


cad's are the hardest thing as everything you make and want to transport (to sell) must have a cad and can be quite costly for the initial cost.

i know 1 British company in cambridgshire that make big shells but only for there own use when they need them, i suppose the costs to sell to other companies is not worth while when you can buy new 12" shell for £110 and not many companies use them much, we only used 8x 12" shells this November.

2 other companies i know have tried so hard to setup a manufacturing facility but been let down on planning permission or setup costs because of unreasonable requests from HSE

#4 Arthur Brown

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 09:06 PM

It helps immensely if you happen to own a retired armed forces base with the old bomb store and no proximate development to interfere with the separation distances. It also helps if you can own and control the surrounding 1000m radius so that you know what is going to be planned there.
http://www.movember.com/uk/home/

Keep mannequins and watermelons away from fireworks..they always get hurt..

#5 Gary_1323

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 10:42 PM

First have a few spare £million and a site with an explosives manufacturing licence from the HSE, Second there is almost no market to cover the costs.


A few million quid? Posted Image I wish I did have that sort of money!

#6 Gary_1323

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 10:57 PM

its actually quite easy if you can find a piece of land that nobody will object to you making explosives, Planning permission is the hardest part, once you have that everything else should be fine. though it helps if you have HSE on your side as they can cause a lot of grief if you don't comply.


cad's are the hardest thing as everything you make and want to transport (to sell) must have a cad and can be quite costly for the initial cost.

i know 1 British company in cambridgshire that make big shells but only for there own use when they need them, i suppose the costs to sell to other companies is not worth while when you can buy new 12" shell for £110 and not many companies use them much, we only used 8x 12" shells this November.

2 other companies i know have tried so hard to setup a manufacturing facility but been let down on planning permission or setup costs because of unreasonable requests from HSE



Most of the hobbyists among us, who keep to the 100g rule, and make small pyrotechnics (fountains and the like) for their own personal entertainment or research (immediate use, no storing of finished articles) are unlicensed, right?

Of course, a licencing and HSE approval is compulsory if one is to legally manufacture pyrotechnics for commerce or distribution. I can imagine that the start-up costs for a manufacturing facility are prohibitively expensive. Posted Image

How did Gareth get started up, if I may ask?

Considering that I do not have a few spare million on me right now, I am considering getting involved in more feasible areas of pyro, such as:

1.Training to become a part-time professional firer for displays.

2. Starting up a chemical supply company dealing with technical and reagent grade chemicals for the scientific, education (schools, colleges and unis) and hobbyist (pyro, pottery, home photography, home brewing, amateur chemistry/home science) markets. This is where my chemical knowledge comes in handy. For example, I have much experience with safe handling and correct storage of chemicals, incompatibilities, CHIP and MSDS.
There is a brilliant US-based company called united nuclear.com, (http://unitednuclear.com/ ), which sells chemicals to amateur chemistry/home science enthusiasts. I might consider starting up a similar sort of company. Of course, I will not neglect the needs of the pyro hobbyists - I would include a range of oxidisers, metallic and organic fuels, colour-producing agents and binders in my inventory.

It goes without saying that I will need to consider legal requirements relating to the supply of chemicals to individuals, labelling compliance, liability disclaimers, etc. To cover my backside, a customer agreement and a full set of T and C's relating to the sale and appropriate end-use of chemicals would need to be drafted up. No chemicals would be sold to under-18's.

Edited by Gary_1323, 11 November 2011 - 11:51 PM.


#7 Guest_PyroPDC_*

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 11:03 AM

I don't Think garth has spent a million lol his wife would kill him if he did lol

Putting aside the planning permission you probably talking less than 10 grand.

The licence it self only cost about a grand but it's the hse time per hour and any extra visits or extra requirements they may ask.

Edited by PyroPDC, 12 November 2011 - 11:04 AM.


#8 Night Owl

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 12:01 PM

A few million lol

First have a few spare £million and a site with an explosives manufacturing licence from the HSE, Second there is almost no market to cover the costs.



#9 Arthur Brown

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 12:50 PM

To have much certainty of a planning permission success you need to OWN the safety distance area, so you may need to OWN 500 acres - that's a BIG farm. Then you need to fit in with the Council's area structure plan and get consent to build a permanent building group in an open area.

500 acres currently will cost you 500 x £5000 and that's a LOT of money -but you can farm it -even rent the farm out, but you must OWN it to prevent buildings encroaching on your safety distances.

When you have your land and outline planning consent for an explosives factory without objections from the neighbours (!) then you can pay HSE about £200 an HOUR for their inspector's time to supervise your application so that's about a thousand pounds a DAY for HSE work -double if two HSE officers have to travel. Oh and you get regular bills from other authorities too!

Hardly surprising that 0.5g of slow flash prepared for retail sale (a small maroon) costs £5 - 10 according to supplier.
http://www.movember.com/uk/home/

Keep mannequins and watermelons away from fireworks..they always get hurt..

#10 phildunford

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 01:06 PM

It's a shame Gareth has not had time to chip in here, but he is a busy man.

Without giving too much away, that he may not want made general knowledge, he has gone into partnership with an existing company who had a lot of spare ground and are in a specialist market. Gareth is adding to the facility & increasing the range of goods they make.

I'm not sure about millions, but I'm sure he has invested 10's of thousands in the project - not for the faint hearted! On another post here somewhere, you can see the H&G explosives stores being craned into place - bet that cost a few bob on it's own...
Teaching moft plainly, and withall moft exactly, the composing of all manner of fire-works for tryumph and recreation (John Bate 1635)
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#11 crystal palace fireworks

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 02:10 PM

Hi all,

I watched the short video clip from the BBC One Show. The topic, themed on November the 5th, was about blackpowder and how its uses have changed over the years. Being an avid pyrotechnics enthusiast, I am intrigued by Gareth's line of work in the professional pyro industry. There was a short clip of a ball shell being constructed (well, I saw the two hemis put together). What I would like to know is this: how would I go about entering this particular area of the professional pyrotechnics/special effects industry? I am full-time (Mon-Fri, 9-5) chemist by profession, working in the specialism of synthetic organic chemistry, which is indeed very satisfying and lucrative in itself, but I would also like to dabble in professional pyrotechnics on a part-time/spare time basis (i.e. weekends, when I am not attending my main line of work in the chemical industry). Not only would the experience be enjoyable (as I am a keen pyro enthusiast), but it would also be a source of additional income, even if it is only a small one.


Hi Gary_1323,

Welcome to the UKPS forum,

No disrespect, but as a firework society we do get a few excited & enthusiastic enquires from the general public after much recent TV exposure (see our main society front page). If you are deadly serious about getting involved with fireworks in one capacity or another, then why not join the UKPS proper and become a member? = about £20 per year, its likely (if he is not too busy) you will meet Gareth in person and few other contacts if you attend our AGM`s (which are free to the general public), not only that, there are many voluntary projects we could do with some help with, plus your organic chemistry knowledge would be a great addition to our causes.

#12 maxman

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 02:46 PM

To have much certainty of a planning permission success you need to OWN the safety distance area, so you may need to OWN 500 acres - that's a BIG farm. Then you need to fit in with the Council's area structure plan and get consent to build a permanent building group in an open area.

500 acres currently will cost you 500 x £5000 and that's a LOT of money -but you can farm it -even rent the farm out, but you must OWN it to prevent buildings encroaching on your safety distances.


500 Acres!? I'm sure Peter stone of Dean fireworks didn't have 500 Acres! http://www.fireworks-mag.org/ issues 32 and 52 describe this small factory in an acre of land. Now maybe that's because its in the middle of a forest I don't know. Then there was Edwin Bailey Argos fireworks in a rural garden in Uplyme. Even then manufacture of rockets for the commercial market was to expensive and I think Peter was specialising in portfires and lances.

Fireworks is a fantastic hobby and interest but doing any job for a living can take the fun out of it. I live in hope that someday we can pursue our hobby legally and safely with small quantities or in a club situation.

Maxman

#13 Guest_PyroPDC_*

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 03:44 PM

i for one (as many members of the ukps) want to see a central club house where we can legally manufacture and use on site.

personally i think the staff of the ukps need to rethink if it would be possible as raising money for a ukps club base manufacturing site. would be quite easy and with all the connections we all have in the industry it is possible.

Edited by PyroPDC, 12 November 2011 - 03:44 PM.


#14 exat808

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 03:55 PM

500 Acres!? I'm sure Peter stone of Dean fireworks didn't have 500 Acres! http://www.fireworks-mag.org/ issues 32 and 52 describe this small factory in an acre of land. Now maybe that's because its in the middle of a forest I don't know. Then there was Edwin Bailey Argos fireworks in a rural garden in Uplyme. Even then manufacture of rockets for the commercial market was to expensive and I think Peter was specialising in portfires and lances.

Fireworks is a fantastic hobby and interest but doing any job for a living can take the fun out of it. I live in hope that someday we can pursue our hobby legally and safely with small quantities or in a club situation.

Maxman



The major issue with establishing a manufacturing site is that of "safeguarding". Basically on any site where explosives are to be made there will be distances prescribed on the licence that relate to how far away key features such as dwellings, roads, public areas etc have to be from the manufacturing buildings. If the manufacturer has not got complete control of all the land covered by his "safeguarding plan" then innocent development by other persons could bring the manufacturing process to an untimely halt.
Hence why Arthur has quoted a possible 500 acres for a moderate sized operation. The actual manufacturing site may not occupy more than 30 or 40 acres but to safeguard the site much more land must be controlled by the license holder.
The same problems hold true for those who only store explosives. If someone elses activities encroach on your separation distances then you have no choice but to reduce quantities or move the store.

#15 maxman

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 04:06 PM

Exat808 I understand what you are saying but 30-40 Acres or 500 Acres are vast plots of land. Is it because Peter stone is surrounded by forest? Were the criteria different for Edwin Bailey in the 80s I mean would that kind of set up not be posible now? I did google earth his house sometime ago and his plots was secluded but other houses were nearby. Also you say 500 Acres for a moderate operation. When I spoke to Ron he said his site was about 5 Acres. So does he own the road and layby just ouside his gate? I thought anyone could pull in there?

Maxman




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