Industrial and commercial demolition is one of those jobs that seems like it should be simple, but in reality requires a detailed method and process. It takes expertise to make sure a building comes down safely, without injuring people or damaging other buildings, and without polluting the atmosphere with airborne particles or hazardous substances.
Every structure is different. The design, materials, location, age, and ever changing factors such as the weather conditions, all factor into planning and carrying out a demolition; pro-active problem solving is always an important part of the process.
Pre-demolition surveys, planning, and removal of hazardous materials
It is always best to involve your commercial demolition company in the process as early as possible, enabling a detailed pre-demolition survey where the team can look over the materials in the building, the construction method, and the current physical state of the structure. The surrounding area is also very important; a commercial demolition in built up central Chicago raises far more risks than one in rural Illinois.
At this stage identifying hazardous materials is also critical; asbestos is a well known example, but there are many other materials which must be professionally removed before demolition including chemicals and flammable materials.
A demolition plan is drawn up outlining the demolition method in detail, listing the equipment and people required, the plans for dealing with adverse weather conditions and for mitigating potential problems such as demolition dust. Safety measures are also included, considering risk assessments, potential hazards, regulatory permit requirements and needs such as blocking off streets or areas during the demolition itself.
Finally, a clear process is outlined for post-demolition activities cleaning up debris and other material, and organising recycling or sales to companies like steel buyers.
The commercial demolition, through manual excavators or building implosion
Balancing the many factors of the building and site, the demolition contractor will select a manual or implosion method, and each requires a slightly different process.
For a building implosion, qualified industrial and commercial demolition crews will work through the building removing non-load bearing walls and weakening support columns. Various explosives may be used, each effective at destroying different materials, such as concrete supports or steel beams, and the explosives are placed into holes drilled in support beams at various points through the structure.
Time sequencing is crucial here, setting up the explosives so they detonate in a particular order, which affects how the structure falls. Finally, the site is cleared, all safety measures put in place, and an electric charge detonates the explosives to collapse the building in on itself.
Sometimes a building implosion is impractical and instead the site will be prepared for manual demolition, which typically creates less dust and flying debris, so reducing some of the safety risks. The site is prepared with trash chutes and temporary lighting, and non-structural elements like glass windows are removed.
Often, temporary supports will be added to ensure the building only collapses as desired, and enabling industrial demolition teams to pull down the building from the top, without worrying about a collapse underneath them. Whether using an excavator or wrecking ball, floor by floor the building is knocked, cut and pulled down with most debris collecting within the lower outer walls.
Commercial demolition ends with the clean up, disposal and recycling
The final stage of any industrial or commercial demolition is the tidy up, as the debris is managed and sorted into piles for effective and maximised recycling, marketing and resale, or disposal as required by environmental regulations.
Every project is a challenge with problems to solve, but success always lies in great planning and preparation by an experienced commercial demolition company.