In construction projects, it’s sometimes required that we clear away, or demolish, existing structures so that we can utilize the space they currently occupy. That’s one common reason we work with demolition contractors.
Another point is safety. It’s sometimes the case that an existing structure presents a threat to community welfare – e.g. it’s unstable, the structure contains hazardous materials, etc.
It’s important to make sure that whoever you’ll be hiring is a certified contractor, and has a good grasp of the knowledge related to the industry. This is just to keep everyone protected while demolition is going on, and right after it has been accomplished.
What Is Demolition?
The act of demolishing a structure (or structures) involves a complex combination of tasks. It goes beyond structural dismantlement. When you talk to contractors, you can discuss with them auxiliary tasks, like recycling, salvage, environmental remediation, and site clearance.
Why Buildings Are Dismantled
We’ve already mentioned two reasons above. Other reasons are:
- Old buildings – The building is too old to maintain, or it’s a hindrance to plans of giving an area an improved look.
- Old residential houses – This is in relation to lack of space, and is more common in dealings with wealthy people, who want to build a mansion. A rich man buys a piece of land, tears down the old house that stands on it, and replaces it with the house of his dreams.
- Local government – Partial demolitions are common in places where the government prohibits complete demolition of a house. The wealthy get away with the regulation by doing part by part demolition and renovation.
You have at least 8 options for this:
- Hand demolition – Only hand tools are used, thus it’s a slow method. What they do here is demolish one storey at a time. So the roof goes first.
- Wrecking ball – Balling is preferred for most structures, but you have to bear with the noise.
- Pusher Arm – What they do here is fit attachments to hydraulically-operated loaders and excavators. Some advantages of this method include the ability to work on vertical faces and higher work outputs.
- Deliberate collapse – Key structural components are cut or removed to cause a collapse. It’s best for chimneys, bridges, silos, and isolated structures in a secured area. This method should be used only if there’s enough space on the ground to accommodate the falling structure.
- Wire rope pulling – another method of deliberate collapse. Wires are attached to key components, and then pulled by winches or tractors.
- Implosion or explosion – The building is first stripped, until only its structure is standing. This prepares it for clean blasting. This method is time-saving and cost-effective.
Steps for Demolishing a Structure
Here are the basics:
- Locate a licensed contractor.
- Have the structure inspected for hazardous materials.
- Contact utility services. Have them disconnect pipes or wires to the structure.
- Ask your contractor if it’s possible to salvage materials of value.
- Talk with your local government about necessary permits.
- Before the actual demolition, remove those house parts that you yourself can remove. Leaving this job to the demolition team may result in additional charges.
How to Choose a Demolition Company
Aside from government license, factors to consider include:
- Their cost estimate – Compare prices. Ask for discounts if applicable.
- Timeline – Know when they can finish the job. Can they be trusted when it comes to deadlines they themselves set?
- Safety protocols – Some companies have a bad record. Ask around, or interview previous clients.
- Length of operations – Sometimes, length of service to the community they are serving is the best gauge. It’s probably not the best choice to settle for working with a newcomer.
- Insurance – It will give you peace of mind knowing there are people you can run to who will shoulder damages, just in case things go awry.
- Clean up – There are companies who know how to “nail the coffin” in their bid, to make their customers super satisfied with their job. Get to know if they’re willing to stay a little longer, just to make sure everything’s neat and tidy after the structure has been razed to the ground.
- All-inclusive – Some demolition companies do only the demolition task itself, leaving you to handle (or hire someone else to handle) getting permits, utility disconnect, capping sewer lines, and cleanup. Others will handle all those tasks for you (See DemolitionCincy.com). Make sure you understand upfront what is or is not included in their quoted fee.