What Do Demolition Contractors Do?


One thing about demolition contractors that always stands true is that they have their work cut out for them. It may seem like a simple job to just go out and tear down buildings every day, but there is a lot of thought and planning into how to correctly demolish a building without harming the environment or any people that live near. In addition to being careful not to disturb the surrounding community, all demolition contractors have to know and abide by the laws that are in place that surround the demolition industry.

Due to the possible presence of asbestos in every older building, there are federal regulations in place that must be adhered to before the demolition of any building that was built during the time that asbestos was used for insulation. The contractor must have the place inspected for the presence of asbestos and make sure that every piece of material that contains asbestos is removed. 

Laws, safety, environmental concerns. There might be a little more to the demolition industry than most people think.

What is Demolition?

You may have been fortunate enough to experience a demolition derby at some point in your life. This is where people drive around on a race track in beat-up cars and try their best to ram into each other at moderately high speeds.

The act of demolition is to demolish something. Whether it is a car, a shed, a home, or a high-rise building, to demolish something is to completely destroy it and leave only pieces of rubble in its place.

When it comes to demolishing structures there are plenty of ways to bring a building down, including dynamite and other explosives. Depending on the size of the building, the location of the structure, and the laws that govern the state of the demolition, the tactics that the contractor chooses to use should always fit the scope of the task.

The main focus of every demolition site is to take all of the safety precautions possible so that the job can be completed without harming anybody’s person or property.

Demolition By Explosion

In cases of high-rise buildings and other structures that need to be demolished as quickly as possible without harming the environment around them, professionals use explosives to break the building down.

You may have seen a building being blown up for demolition in a movie or a clip at some point in your lifetime. The way it works is that the demolition expert will strategically set explosives in position and initiate timers to set off the explosives at perfect times so that the building collapses on top of itself and does not harm anything around it as it crumbles. 

The explosives will detonate in perfect harmony with the timers so that each explosion is followed by another one in an area that counterbalances the fall of the building. The people that plant and set off the explosives are usually engineers with a deep understanding of explosives and the way that gravity works with the motion of the building.

Demolition By Machine

Another popular way that contractors demolish structures is by using heavy-duty equipment to break them down and smash them to the ground. You may have heard of a wrecking ball. This is when a huge steel ball is attached to a chain or cable on a crane and then swung through the air towards the building so that when the huge ball hits the walls it smashes them. This technique is a little bit more barbaric than the graceful explosions that contractors use on high-rise buildings, but it gets the job done.

The everyday backhoe has enough power to pull down a small building and is used for demolition jobs all of the time. Since they are equipped with a solid steel bucket that is maneuvered by a powerful motor it makes it easy for them to knock down a wall of a building, then scoop up the pieces and move them over using the bucket.

Top 20 demolition contractors of 2017 - Construction & Demolition Recycling

Demolition By Hand

Although it is hard work and physically exhausting there are situations that deem the demolition project by hand. In situations like this workers will use tolls like reciprocal saws, jackhammers, sledgehammers, and crowbars to break down the walls of a structure and bring it to the ground.

Most of the time when a structure is demolished with hand tools it is fairly small, such as an old shed or a couple of walls of a residential home.

Every now and then an entire home or other structure will have to be demolished by using tools as opposed to heavy-duty machinery but with a strong enough crew and some choice tools it is possible to demolish the building very quickly and efficiently.

Demolition By Fire

It might be a popular conception that a building could simply be burned to the ground in order to demolish it. It may be a legitimate idea, but it is more than likely not legal anywhere unless certain stipulations apply. Since there are a ton of federal regulations regarding the presence of asbestos it is difficult to get permission to burn down a building solely for the purpose of destroying it. 

One of the main concerns is how much damage the smoke from the fire will cause the community. In addition to the excess smoke pummeling the air, will the structure fire put other structures in danger of catching fire too?

In some cases, it is acceptable to burn down a building for demolishing and providing fire training at the same time. A great way for firefighters to get hands-on training for structure fires is to set an old building on fire and allow the firefighters a chance to see a real fire in action.

Demolition vs. Deconstruction

The difference between demolishing a building and deconstructing one is pretty simple. When you demolish a building you completely destroy it so that the only thing that is left behind is rubble or ash.

In years past demolition was the only way to get rid of structures, but in the world that we live in today, more people see the value in reusing materials and recycling the parts of the structure that they can.

In the case of deconstruction, the contractor will take a crew to the site and deconstruct the building in a way that keeps the materials from being destroyed so that they can be used again for other purposes.

Sometimes the materials can be used to build a whole new building and other times the materials can be used to fix up older buildings. The scrapped material can either be used again by the owner of the structure, sold on the market for a discounted cost or donated to an organization that needs it.

Materials such as pipes, bricks, wooden beams, windows, doors, and so on are all valuable assets that can be re-used and work perfectly fine for the new structure.

What the Demolition Contractor Does

Most of the time the demolition contractor will be the person that meets with customers and sets up jobs. The contractor will be the one running the show. When it comes to demolition services there is a lot of room for error so the person in charge has to be an expert in the field.

Most of the people that do demo work are educated in sciences such as engineering and explosives. Although it is much more difficult to build a structure than it is to tear one down, there is a risk factor involved with demolition that surpasses construction.

A skilled and experienced demolition contractor will hand pick the best workers to join the team so that the utmost quality and safety are always at the top of the priorities for the company. Choose a contractor that understands how demolition works and the best ways to implement solutions in each situation no matter how unique it is.