The Engineering Behind Demolition

demolition engineering


In the construction world, it is often necessary to demolish old buildings, either because they are no longer in good condition, an accident has occurred that has endangered the building’s stability, or because space is needed to carry out the construction of a new building.

The demolitions can be both total and partial, depending on whether part of the existing infrastructure is to be reused or conserved or if the structure is to be completely eliminated. In any case, different methods can be used to demolish a building. Among the most common are the following:

  • Excavators
  • Traditional methods
  • Bulldozers
  • Wrecking balls
  • Cranes
  • Hydraulic shears
  • Controlled explosions and implosions.

Usually, these demolition activities are regulated. Only highly qualified personnel can carry out these tasks, not only because of the danger that the fact of demolishing an infrastructure represents but also because methodologies are used that require specialized knowledge in this area.

What types of demolitions exist?

There are different types of methods by which infrastructure can be demolished or demolished, and the choice of one or the other will depend on the conditions of the infrastructure, its location, its size, and the reasons why it is being demolished.

The process of demolishing a building can be very complex or straightforward, depending mainly on the size of the demolished building. This is why not all demolitions are done in the same way.

Demolition is something specific to each building, its situation, and its materials. Demolitions require specific planning of the works to be carried out for each case. It will be necessary to make cuts in the facilities, fences of the work, and disassembly of certain parts.

We will also have to foresee the fall of debris and the classification of the waste that will be generated. All of this is collected in a demolition project where the commercial demolition contractors will choose the most suitable for each case from among the types of demolition.

When we talk about types of demolitions, we understand that there are several different ways to carry out a demolition process.

We can divide the demolitions into different types, which we will see below.

Shock demolitions

They are the least controlled but the fastest and cheapest. Naturally, they are used when there is no danger of damaging the surrounding area, either in the entire building to be demolished or in part of it. Usually, suspended masses of cables are used as pendulums that hit the factory.

This requires great dexterity from the operator, not only to hit properly but also to control roll. Heavier cylinders are sometimes dropped to demolish floors and pavements with their shock. It is an efficient but not very controllable system with which you generate a lot of noise.

Mechanical demolitions

Mechanical demolitions are currently the most common. They are carried out mainly for total demolitions or partial demolitions of large areas. They are those that use machinery to effect breaks. They can be placed on tracks, allowing greater mobility around the work and access to difficult areas.

This type of demolition involves the use of heavy machinery and supporting equipment such as robots or backhoes to which specific elements and tools for demolition have been implemented.

Percussion hammers with steel heads of different sizes are usually used, allowing you to better adapt to each area. Tweezers are also used that can even incorporate shears to cut the steel bars from the concrete.

The pliers are handy for working at heights from which falling debris can cause problems as they are capable of holding the cut pieces.

Mechanical demolitions dramatically increase the speed of demolition and, provided they are carried out correctly, and following the safety regulations, it is an almost entirely risk-free type of demolition.

To carry out a mechanical demolition, a large workspace is usually necessary, as well as specific pre and post preparations. In general, these systems are much more controllable, and with adequate specialization, they achieve demolition of particular areas without hardly affecting other buildings.

Traditional demolitions

This type of demolition is mainly used in smaller projects or partial demolitions. Since the objective is to preserve part of the structural elements, such as walls or dividing walls, it does not work with heavy machinery but rather employs qualified labor and uses traditional techniques and tools.

Although this type of demolition requires more work time, it also allows a more specific process. These processes will enable differentiating the elements that will be demolished from those that must be maintained.

Two phases usually take place. In the first, hydraulic hammers, pliers and shears are used to carry out the demolitions. In the second, the smallest debris is removed using agile machines and tools.

Demolitions in case of sinister or emergencies

This type of demolition takes place when there is an accident such as floods, fires, tornadoes, or any other phenomenon that can cause structural damage to buildings. They require a rapid response to emergencies and a highly specialized team.

In a disaster situation, the objective is to minimize the damage as much as possible and promote the affected area’s speedy recovery.

Cases that require specific systems

For the most massive concrete structures, perforations are used to introduce hydraulic jacks or expanding mortars. This makes it possible to ensure the fracture that will occur and then move on to other demolition systems.

When you have to demolish a large, isolated building, you can use explosives that, through proper study, ensure complete demolition and that the debris will be well stacked. In minor cases, the commercial demolition contractors may use cables to pull or shovels to push to cause the building’s general instability. Still, the fall of debris will be less controlled.

Whatever the type of demolition used, it must pay attention to both waste management with special attention to asbestos and the impact it will have on the surrounding areas, so it must be carefully studied.

demolition engineering equipment

What kind of specialized machinery is used in a demolition?

When we are going to carry out the demolition, we must bear in mind that we also have to deal with specific demolition machinery as well as specialized demolition machines.

However, there are different works with specialized machinery that must be taken into account before:

Reinforced concrete

On the one hand, there is the demolition of reinforced concrete. You will need really heavy machinery to move all this debris. Here we highlight the excavators and waste handling machines to throw the cement and transport it to clean the demolishing area.

Industrial demolition

On the other hand, in industrial demolition, you will also need heavy machinery while you will be moving heavy items, especially iron and steel. Therefore, the machinery must also be heavy and resistant to carry these elements.

Technical demolition

As for technical demolition, it is a process that is carried out in different constructions and always looking for a minimum acoustic and dirt impact. It is carried out with specialized and modern machines.

Mechanical demolition

Mechanical demolition is the most common and is carried out for total or partial demolition of large areas. These demolitions involve the use of heavy machinery and different load-bearing equipment such as robots or backhoes with elements included and specific tools for demolition.

These demolitions increase the process’s speed, provided they are carried out correctly under the relevant safety regulations, being demolitions that hardly present risks. Of course, you will need large workspaces and previous and subsequent forecasts.

Manual demolition

On the other hand, a manual demolition is one that is carried out in smaller projects or partial demolitions. Its purpose is to preserve part of the structural elements, so heavy machinery is not used. Instead, it is a skilled workforce with different techniques and traditional tools.

And it is true that these demolitions are more durable, but they also determine a more specific process where it is possible to differentiate the elements that must be demolished and those that must be maintained.

Indoor demolitions

Regarding the demolitions of floors, walls, and stairs indoors, the machinery is more specific and less heavy since the force used is not so demanding.

Demolitions with explosives

The opposite occurs with blasting, where you need elements such as explosives for the demolition to be efficient. And finally, the scrapping of metal structures is also carried out with resistant machines to finish off these pieces.

In short, depending on the type of demolition you are carrying out, you will need some demolition tools or others. It is important to remember that these demolitions must be carried out by properly trained and specialized personnel. This will reduce the risks to the maximum (accidents, environmental damage, incorrect demolitions). The best way to ensure this is by hiring a team of commercial demolition contractors.

What steps must you take to carry out a demolition?

Demolition can be defined as a “reverse process to Construction” To be taken into account; There are several types of demolition with different aspects and classifications.

Ultimately, it consists of the demolition of Constructions and Constructive Elements until the complete elimination, buildings, and pavements, roads, sidewalks, factories, or any other necessary.

In general, Demolition works include the following phases:

  1. Preliminary work: Cuts of facilities and connections, Preparation, fencing, signaling, and protection of the entire work area.
  2. Disassembly or Fragmentation: of the factories that make up the work.
  3. Classification and Removal of Materials: To approved centers for their Management.

There are no two equal Demolitions since each work may have different peculiarities that must be taken into account in each phase; these peculiarities will mark the limitations and conditions and take into account both in the works before starting the work, during and at the finish the Demolition process.

Before starting any Demolition work, the commercial demolition contractors must carefully study its correct execution and the system to be used. The essential aspects to analyze before starting the work are:

  • The Demolition Method to be used.
  • The Stages that we will have in its execution.
  • The stability of the building to be demolished as it is going to ban is which will define the shoring and formwork that we will need to make to ensure the safety of the work operators.
  • The stability of the construction elements that are not going to be demolished, in the case of a Partial Demolition. As well as the security elements that must be placed, so that everything is secured, not only the building that we are demolishing but also the buildings around or adjoining.
  • It may be necessary to maintain or replace the services or facilities that are affected by the demolition work.
  • Have well indicated the Means of evacuation and the areas for dumping debris or materials from the demolition.
  • Planning and Organization of the work to be done.
  • The control that we must carry out as the demolition works progress.
  • Plan and Management of the waste generated during the building demolition works.
  • Most importantly, the Health and Safety measures to be carried out throughout the work.

By hiring a team of commercial demolition contractors, you can rest assured that the entire process will be carried out correctly. This is because you will have adequately trained personnel and have all the necessary equipment to carry out the infrastructure’s demolition without any inconvenience.

In addition, commercial demolition contractors usually keep up-to-date on all current laws, which will save you from headaches later.

what to do with demolition waste

What do you do with demolition waste?

As you can assume, when infrastructure is demolished, regardless of the type of demolition that is carried out, a large amount of waste will be generated. These wastes must be transported and deposited in the corresponding landfills.

These landfills must be approved to fulfill this purpose; if not, it is possible to face environmental damage fines. Likewise, several of these residuals can be recycled and depending on current legislation. All of the residuals that can be reused must be taken to recycling centers for proper processing.

When starting the industrial cleaning process and the subsequent decontamination of floors, in general, we must adhere to the following general guidelines:

  1. The first step we have to take is to request a permit from the corresponding administration to place a rubble container on the public highway and pay the relevant municipal fees.
  2. Once the bag or said container is full, the team of operators has to come with the necessary machinery to move it to the authorized point of storage and waste collection in the town where the demolition took place.
  3. Once these wastes have been eliminated, the next step is to clean and disinfect the area of ​​possible contaminating remains that could have come off as a result of our work. For this, as we tell you, it seems very necessary to put industrial cleaning in commercial demolition contractors’ hands.
  4. In these authorized points, debris and waste are classified for subsequent treatment and recycling. According to what the legislation dictates in each case. It is vitally important that we follow the indicated procedure responsibly, as we will be contributing to the protection of the environment and our natural spaces.

Many cities are faced with the problem of illegally dumping rubble in public spaces. This causes dirt and contamination and is harmful to nature, turning these spaces into unhealthy spots, with its serious risk.

Hence the importance of removing debris responsibly. It is vital to follow each of the steps set by the corresponding regulations. In any case, the best way to be sure of complying with all regulations and carrying out an adequate partial or total demolition process is to hire commercial demolition contractors. These professional teams will do everything necessary to carry out these tasks in the most suitable way, reducing the risks to the life of the population and the environment to a minimum.