The Demolition Process: How it Works

Before hiring a residential or commercial demolition contractor for your next project, it may be beneficial to know how the demolition process works. When you understand the aspects of your demolition project, you will be able to ask the right questions and know what to expect. Then you can have the knowledge to hire the best team for your job. 

How Long Does a Demolition Project Take?

Each demolition project varies depending on the size of the building. For a commercial demolition, the method involves various steps to ensure safety. Demolishing a building is not as simple as hooking up the wrecking balls and going for it. The building is surveyed, and every bit of valuable equipment is taken out and salvaged, piece by piece. 

A residential demolition can take several days. Similar to commercial demolition, the structure needs to be surveyed, and any salvageable materials are removed. And then the demolition method is determined and performed. The debris removal can take a few days on its own. 

How Do Contractors Know Which Demolition Method to Use?

When it comes to drawing up the demolition plan, several methods are appropriate for each building. For urban areas where other buildings surround tall buildings, the process of dismantling can vary. 

Wrecking balls are also used in commercial demolition. This heavy equipment includes up to a 12,000 lb ball that gains momentum and crashes into the building, breaking it apart. This method is relatively inexpensive, but it causes a lot of dust and debris, causing many resources to be reallocated to cleanup. 

Excavator demolition is a type of commercial or residential demolition used on smaller buildings like homes or office buildings. The breakdown of the structure is done primarily through the attachments on the excavator. The excavators are then used to remove the large pieces of the building as it is broken down. 

Are Different Methods Used for Residential vs. Commercial Demolitions?

Demolition projects can have different methods depending on the size of the building. In both residential and commercial demolitions, hazardous materials are permanently removed first. This can include asbestos or any dangerous chemicals that are stored in the building.

While excavator demolitions are common in homes, they are also typical for commercial demolitions. Some high-reach excavators can be used for commercial buildings. Each building, whether residential or commercial, is surveyed carefully. A demolition method is then determined that is specific to the building. 

Professional Demolition Planning and Execution Steps

The demolition process is carefully carried out through several steps to ensure the project’s safety. There are no shortcuts with a demolition project, and it’s never as simple as it seems from an outside perspective. It’s essential to know these steps and be sure to hire a team that knows about each safety measure to take before demolishing a building. 

1. Conduct a Survey of the Building

A building survey is conducted to answer any questions needed before deciding on a demolition method: 

  • Construction materials used to build
  • Safety hazards present, including asbestos, chemicals, and flammable materials
  • Drainage conditions
  • Adjoining facilities
  • Pedestrian walkways and roadways near the building
  • Neighborhood overview regarding noise, dust, and vibration disruptions

All of these items on the survey will help the team determine the best way to conduct the demolition project. A quiet neighborhood may require notices of noise disruptions or special permits. 

2. Perform a Structural Survey of the Building

A structural survey of the building will focus more on the current state of the facility. The survey will cover how the building was constructed and if there are basements or underground tanks present. Any structural issues of the building will be considered before determining the demolition method. 

3. Remove Any Hazardous Materials

Once the hazardous materials have been identified, removing them can add extra time and money to the demolition process. Complete asbestos removal is required before demolition. If there is wastewater due to poor drainage, that will be addressed. Any chemicals or flammable materials are removed in this step as well. 

4. Craft a Demolition Plan

A thorough demolition plan will be presented that will include clear illustrations with to-scale measurements. These illustrations should give a clear view of the plausibility of each demolition method. A demolition plan includes: 

  • Location of the building and all surrounding structures
  • Measured space around the building that could allow for an excavator or a wrecking ball
  • Structural support of the building, including weight-bearing walls and beams
  • Safety plan for public protection, including covered walkways and catch platforms
  • Debris cleanup plan
  • Time estimation

The presentation of this plan is vital in deciding the right team to hire for the job. If safety measures are not included in this plan, ask about their safety plan. If there is no clear strategy on safety, that is a red flag. Both residential and commercial demolition projects can be very dangerous if not conducted with detailed plans and safety practices. 

5. Determine the Best Demolition Method

Depending on the building size, height, how it was built, and the open space surrounding the structure, the best demolition method will be chosen. Here are some of the methods used: 

  • Excavation Demolition
  • Wrecking Balls
  • Combination Demolition

The building and structure survey will help to determine the correct method for your demolition project. Most importantly, the safety of the public and the workers are the priority. Maybe a few of the methods will be combined to carry out the project in the safest way. 

6. Secure Necessary Demolition Permits

Part of the pre-planning process includes getting the proper permits to take on a project of this size. Experts in the industry will be well-versed in this process and can provide an accurate timeline of when the project can begin. Permits are a common reason why some projects get delayed, so industry knowledge is vital for this part of the process. 

7. Take Appropriate Safety Measures

Safety is vital during a demolition project. Do not hesitate to ask every question that comes to mind regarding safety during your project. The team should have comprehensive answers and show their experience and caution when answering safety questions. 

8. Perform Demolition

Once all of the pre-planning is laid out and permits are obtained, it is time to execute the plan. The actual demolition can be the shortest part of the process. With all of the safety procedures in place and the plans drawn out, the team will be ready with the proper equipment to get the job done right. 

9. Dispose of Demolition Debris

A significant portion of the waste materials from a demolition gets reused, and industry experts will know how to transport and carry away those materials for salvaging. Having the right equipment to load up and dispose of the debris is vital to the process of demolition. This lengthy portion of the project requires hiring a commercial or residential demolition team to dispose of the rubble responsibly. 

How to Start a Demolition Project in NJ

A demolition project is not something that can be done without industry knowledge and equipment. Leave it to the experts to carry out your project from the plumbing and electrical disconnections all the way to the rubble cleanup. Mikula Contracting can handle all the stress and hard work. 

If you are looking to hire a demolition contractor in New Jersey, look no further than Mikula Contracting. Our experienced team will have the safety procedures in place to make sure your residential or commercial demolition goes down without a hitch. We have all the necessary equipment and expertise to do the job efficiently and at an affordable price. Please contact us today to receive a consultation on your specific project. 

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