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Manual techniques for commercial and industrial demolition projects

People tend to think of explosives and building implosions when you mention industrial demolition, but manual techniques are far more commonly used. Explosives tend to be saved for really large structures which are too tall for manual methods, or which are more cost effective to bring down as quickly as possible.


Manual demolition can be as straightforward as utilising a wrecking ball to knock down the primary structure, or much more advanced methods using tools such as hydraulic excavators to undermine and collapse the building in the desired direction, through careful planning and project engineering.


On all demolition projects, the desired outcome is simply to clear the site as quickly and safely as possible; razing the structure to the ground. This contrasts with deconstruction projects where things are more carefully taken apart with the aim of salvaging as many of the construction materials as possible.



Manual techniques for industrial demolition
Manual techniques for commercial and industrial demolition projects


Choosing manual demolition methods over controlled building implosion


Controlled explosives are a fast way to raze a building, however they come with extensive planning and safety requirements and can be very expensive as a result. Manual methods, applied mostly to smaller structures just a few stories high, create fewer safety risks on and around the site with cranes, bulldozers and excavators taking the place of the explosives.


After preparatory work such as asbestos removal, disconnecting utilities and obtaining permits and notifications, actual demolition can begin. Very small buildings can simply be knocked down with rake fitted bulldozers, but the hydraulic excavator method is the most widely used demolition method in the USA today, which carefully undermines the building so as to fall it in a desirable direction.


Wrecking balls can be used as a precursor to excavation, to bring taller buildings down to a more manageable height; the ball simply knocks the walls in on themselves so that the majority of building materials are caught within the lower structure. Using a large swinging ball can raise a number of risks in built up areas so high reach excavators are more common on modern demolition sites. Shear attachments are used to cut through structural steel and hydraulic hammer fittings are used to break up the structure of concrete buildings.


Sometimes the biggest buildings can require a manual demolition process


Size of building is often a deciding factor for whether to use manual demolition or controlled implosion, but sometimes on very tall concrete buildings, the inside-out manual demolition method is used. Mini excavators gradually demolish the interiors of the building, working down floor by floor from the top.


Knowing which method to use to maximise efficiency and safety is all part of the expertise you expect to draw from a professional US industrial demolition company. Successful projects grow from careful, expert preparation and a site managed and operated by an experienced demolitions team using modern, well maintained plant equipment.


If you have a building demolition or deconstruction planned, make sure you speak to the experts at US Industrial Demolition; contact us at any time to discuss your project requirements and start putting it into action.