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All About Demolition

Demolition is the tearing down and dismantling of a building structure or some of its parts, and it is often the most fun, fast and messy part of any new construction project. But, keep in mind, fun does not equal easy. Demolition requires detailed planning and considerations: A proper plan helps to avoid delays, blows to the budget, and, most importantly, injuries to construction workers or bystanders.

To avoid danger, construction supervisors and personnel typically take these steps before the start of any demolition:

  • Identify the hazards: Evaluate the structure and its surroundings to look for potential hazards that could arise during demolition (e.g., structure collapse, exposure to chemicals or falling objects).
  • Assess the risks: A thorough risk assessment takes everything from structure layout to demolition method to weather conditions into consideration.
  • Control the risks: A hierarchy of control is created to minimize or eliminate the risks that were determined during Step 2. Some risks require more protection and precaution than others.
  • Review the risks: All determinations and controls in place must be regularly reviewed.

Once the planning phase is complete, it’s time to begin to demolition! Demolition methods vary based on many factors, including the size, material and location of the structure. One of the Here are just some of the demolition methods in use today:

  • Manual: In our case, a lot of demolition is manual and requires good ol’ fashioned elbow grease! Think swinging sledge hammers, chiseling masonry and jack hammering concrete.
  • Implosion: Explosives are strategically placed within the structure and detonated in sequence. This method is ideal for large structures located in urban areas.
  • High arm excavator: Excavators are equipped with special arms and attachments that “chew” the building apart, piece by piece. This method is used on concrete, masonry, steel and mixed-material buildings.
  • Wrecking ball: A steel ball that weighs up to 13,500 pounds is suspended from a crane and is dropped or swung into the structure. This method is ideal for concrete or masonry structures.

Demolition is not required by every project. When it is, however, no shortcuts should be taken during this vital step.