Earthwork Series: Site Demolition and Tear Down

At the end of 2020, the average commercial building in the US was almost 53 years old. Replacing old buildings with new ones is just one reason for demolition.

Site demolition is an important part of the construction cycle. If your project involves the tear down of a building, you need to understand how the process works and what to expect.

Learn more about how the tear down process works so you’ll be ready to put your project in motion.

When Is Site Demolition Necessary?

Demolition for buildings and other structures is necessary for many reasons. The building may have reached the end of its lifespan. This makes it dangerous for occupants and neighboring buildings.

Developers may want to tear down a smaller building to construct a bigger one or remove an older building to make way for a new one. Changing the use of a site may mean removing existing structures.

Preparation for the Tear Down of Buildings and Structures

Preparation for the demolition of buildings and other structures involves four basic steps. The process is similar no matter what type of structure will be removed.

1. Building Survey

The building survey helps to determine what the best demolition method will be. Experts examine the characteristics of the building as well as its site and surroundings.

2. Removal of Hazardous Materials

If hazardous materials are present, specialized personnel will remove them before demolition. Materials like asbestos, radioactive substances, or petroleum contamination pose a danger during and after demolition. Removing them ahead of time improves safety.

3. Demolition Plan

A detailed demolition plan shows all the processes involved in the demolition. It describes the equipment the contractors will use, how the demolition will proceed, and the clean-up.

4. Permits and Safety Measures

Before starting site demolition, the earthworks company must get the necessary permits.

The company must inform all workers, site supervisors, and engineers about potential hazards in the demolition process. The contractor must put appropriate measures in place to mitigate these hazards.

Methods for Building Tear Down

Wrecking balls, implosion, excavators, and selective demolition are four methods for tearing down a building. The wrecking ball method is rare today because of the debris, dust, and hazards it creates. Using explosives to make the structure implode is also relatively rare.

Excavators and high-reach excavators are common solutions to dismantle structures. Attachments on the excavator break down the structure. Ground crews then crush the pieces into rubble.

Selective demolition removes specific sections of a building while keeping the basic structure. It allows for more materials to be reused or recycled. More than 455 million tons of construction and demolition debris went to another use instead of the landfill in 2018.

After the Tear Down

After the demolition and removal of debris, several steps may be necessary to prepare the site for its next use. Site grading levels the ground to make a more solid foundation. Grading also helps ensure proper drainage.

Soil remediation removes contaminants from the soil.

Soil stabilization prevents the ground from moving. Stabilization makes the soil firmer. It becomes better suited for the construction of buildings or transportation and industrial infrastructure.

Start Planning Your Site Demolition Project

When you need to tear down a building, you want a contractor with expertise in the process. You want to know that the site preparation, demolition, and clean-up will be safe and efficient.

BuildPro STL specializes in a full range of site work. We do site demolition, site grading, soil remediation and stabilization, mass excavation, and clearing and grubbing. We’ll help you get the results you need on time and on budget.

Contact us today to discuss your earthwork needs. We’re ready to earn your business.

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