Demolition work may sound like fun—after all, who doesn’t like to take things apart and make a mess once in a while? However, demolition involves far more than just hitting things to see how they break. In fact, demolition is a tightly regulated industry and process since it has the potential to be very dangerous.
Depending on the area and the building that needs to be torn down, professionals will use different techniques to safely get rid of the existing structure. Learn four common demolition techniques and when they’re used—and if you need demolition services, make sure to contact a professional like Tri-State Disposal Inc. instead of trying it yourself.
Implosion demolitions are the flashiest way to get rid of an existing structure. Demolition professionals carefully place explosives to knock out a building’s structural supports, causing it to collapse in on itself. The process is very effective and takes very little time.
Implosion demolition is most commonly used in urban areas on very large structures. When done correctly, the implosion should stay within the perimeter where the existing structure stood so the process doesn’t interfere with any nearby buildings. In order to make the building fall straight down instead of sideways, the timing and placement of the charges has to be absolutely impeccable, which requires a full assessment of the building’s blueprints.
Though implosion demolition is spectacular and occasionally draws crowds of onlookers, it’s very rare. This method accounts for less than one percent of all demolitions—many professionals don’t bother training in this technique since it’s both dangerous and seldom needed. If you see an implosion demolition, it’s done by specialists.
- Crane and Ball
This type of demolition uses a wrecking ball, which can weigh up to 13,500 pounds. The crane and ball method has been in use for many, many years and is still popular since it’s so effective. To demolish the building, a crane operator will either drop the wrecking ball on to the structure or swing the ball through the structure.
However, even though this method is popular, it still has drawbacks and limitations. For example, the crane operator must be very, very good at his or her job. If the operator doesn’t control the swing of the wrecking ball, the ball may miss the structure and either hit something else or tip the crane over. A demolition company that uses this method must employ an experienced and highly trained operator.
Crane and ball demolition is very noisy and generates a lot of dust, which doesn’t make it popular with those around the worksite. Lastly, this method can’t be used everywhere—if the site is too big for the crane to reach everything, or if it’s too close to power lines, crane and ball demolition won’t be safe or effective.
- High Reach Arm
High reach arm demolition is newer than the crane and ball method and solves some of its problems. For this method, professionals attach a long arm to a piece of construction equipment (such as an excavator) and use it to pull sections of the structure down. After the equipment pulls the pieces of the building to the ground, the rest of the demolition crew will do the work to break them up even smaller so they can be discarded.
High reach demolition is only used for buildings that are over 20 meters tall. Generally, if the structure is shorter than this, crane and ball demolition or another method should work just fine. However, since the risks of crane and ball demolition increase with the height of the building, the high reach arm method provides a safer alternative with less dust and flying debris.
- Selective Demolition
In today’s eco-conscious world, many contractors want to do their part to conserve resources and help the planet. Selective demolition, also called deconstruction, is a technique that saves every available material from the demolished building so it can be recycled. The most commonly reused materials are brick, metals, wood, and concrete.
The advantages of this method are clear, but there are still drawbacks. In order to save as much of the building’s materials as possible, much of the demolition work has to be done slowly and by hand. That means that the process takes longer and requires more workers on the site.
However, even if a demolition company doesn’t use selective demolition and instead chooses another method, many still will save as much of the previous structure as possible to be reused. Many demolition companies are always looking for new techniques to help them practice environmental stewardship.
If you need a building demolished, contact a qualified professional. Tri-State Disposal Inc. offers comprehensive residential and commercial demolition services in Chicagoland and the surrounding areas. Call us at 708.388.9910 to learn more about how we can help you, or request a free quote on your project.