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Critical Procedures for Safe Demolition

Filed under: Uncategorized — emitaliablog
Posted on October 17, 2010 @ 2:51 pm
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The meaning of the term ‘demolish’ is deliberate and controlled collapse of a structure. During the late 1970’s Fred Dibnah took over as the most widely known steeplejack in Great briBain when his work on demolishing large chimneys without having the requirement of explosives was displayed on Tv. Fred was an entertaining figure and became famous as an authority on fixing tall chimneys, so when it came to knocking them down he knew exactly how to do it. He would have to cut an alcove at the foot of the chimney, and then place wooden props to support the structure. As a result of properly setting the props, the chimney would be likely to fall in the correct direction once the wood was set alight and burned away. On one occasion he was very nearly killed because he miscalculated somewhat, demonstrating how risky demolition work really is.

The actual expression to demolish only came into being in 1570, and was used after that to mean the deliberate taking down or destroying of a building or structure. Even though in fact the task of demolition, in some mode or other, has been taking place for 1000’s of years. Properties have been completely demolished either by natural disturbances of the Planet’s crust or in the course of battles or attacks on villages for as long as there have been structures. The surviving wrecks would be taken away and rebuilt or used by other properties nearby and must be early types of recycling.

Preserving History – Preparing the Future.

To safeguard The UK’s tradition of farming the acreage between the established areas of the villages and towns is shielded from development of urban sprawl. This acreage is called Green Belt and it is preserved for farming that is fundamental to the continuing economic system of the nation. By protecting the Green Belt, urban areas are being squeezed to provide housing, so developers must be a lot more innovative to find suitable sites.

Great Britain is a country with a very dense human population per square mile. The amount of land readily available for construction is limited when compared to other nations. Therefore there’s always a healthy need for space on which to build. Taking down old and abandoned buildings and replacing them with new is an excellent method to combat this shortage.

Land which may be disused industrial and commercial sites, but could possibly be polluted with hazardous waste or pollution, are classified as Brownfield sites. When the land has been cleaned up they’re potentially valuable for redevelopment. Both Glasgow and South Wales developed gardens using old industrial sites and installed Shopping centres to attract holidaymakers and visitors and generate income.

Greyfield sites are completely different from Brownfield sites because they do not have the environmental problems of dangerous waste materials. The term greyfield originates from the massive areas of asphalt that had once been car parks of industrial urban properties. Their advantage is in the indisputable fact that the commercial infrastructure which includes highways, electricity, water supply, sewerage, and gas is already in position. These kinds of urban areas that come to be under-utilised or abandoned and so are precious due to the fact they require a small amount of remedial work to be renovated. Cities like Leeds and Manchester have had an enormous programme of changing the existing warehouses or factories into homes, retail establishments and restaurants, keeping the original shell and refurbishing the interior into valuable accommodation.

The Demolition Process

Before demolition takes place the following check list should be used.

The construction type and actual dimensions of the building.
What items have re-use value?
What will the cleaned site’s re-use be for?
Where are the waste material by-products going to be disposed?
What steps need to be made with regards electricity, water, sewerage and gas mains.

Hydraulic excavators and bulldozers may be used to weaken the walls at the foundation, so that the building will topple; at the same time managing the manner and direction of the fall. Questions of safety are extremely important, and clean-up plans are usually taken into account when choosing the way the structure will be demolished.

Traditional Demolition

At one time the standard method of demolishing a building was quite primitive. Once all of the services were shut off, the men and equipment would go in and just knock down the walls. Then the whole building would collapse and the resulting debris could be piled onto trucks and be dumped in land fill sites. Concrete foundations would be broken up by pneumatic drills and the site would be cleared of rubbish ready for the new work to begin. However these days demolition practitioners are at the mercy of rigid planning, health and safety and inspection restrictions and so are hugely governed by the local authority. The way in which a building is constructed will mean that one segment relies on another for stability and sturdiness. For example the roof of a property isn’t fastened down apart from fixing roof tiles with nails to avoid them slipping. The roof stays in place with its own weight because the beams are laid on the top of the walls as opposed to being fastened into them like they used to be for much older properties. The cross beams and purlins then connect the whole thing together to secure the frame of the roof. To this slats are laid to provide a frame for laying on the tiles or slates. Other parts of a building are interdependent so in terms of demolition these issues are taken into account in the sequence of deconstruction. In this way, like Fred Dibnah you have to be an expert in construction to understand how to perform the deconstruction.

Deconstruction and Recycling

The newest system of demolishing properties is called deconstruction – an environmentally friendly approach. Landfill sites are in short supply therefore the aim when demolishing a property is to minimise the volume of waste materials remaining.

Smaller constructions like two or three storey houses can be disassembled relatively easily. The work may be a slow task of dismantling manually – brick by brick – or beam by beam but by proceeding cautiously expensive elements are preserved for re-use. The value of deconstruction is that 90% or maybe more of waste materials is prevented from going straight into landfill sites and reclaimed materials can be re-used and recycled for upcoming buildings. The farmer opposite my family home sold his barns inside the farm yard for housing; when the builder demolished the barns he cleaned up the bricks and reused them to make the walls around the farmhouse hence keeping the character of the farm.

Newer specialist techniques and equipment permits demolition firms to efficiently segregate waste material types on or off-site. Quality items are recycled and re-used if possible in the new building creating significant financial savings in project costs in addition to being good for the planet.

Concrete can now be rapidly split up using a giant guillotine.

Demand increases daily for 6f2 recycled material because it is an excellent aggregate for foundations of road and new buildings. as it provides a viable alternative to disposing of the demolished building remnants to landfill.

Copper pipes, lead, roof tiles or slates, floor tiles, wiring and exterior doors, and wooden panelling are valued objects which are rescued for recycling to be re-used. Many specialist firms offer reclaimed old or vintage building supplies in most towns and cities.

Tall Structures

Tower blocks and chimneys are the kind of tall structures that may need to be demolished. The demolition of tall buildings necessitates skilled approaches. The highest building to be demolished lawfully was in 1967/8 of the Singer Building in New York. The fall of the World Trade Centre after the 9/11 attack in late 2001 illustrates the terrible devastation that is caused if the demolition is unchecked and haphazard.

During the demolishing of high buildings and large structures a wrecking ball on a crane can be used, but is seldom practiced because the swinging ball is rather uncontrollable. The closeness of other property is often a determining issue which inhibits the use of explosives to implode a tall structure. So ‘High Reach’ demolition excavators are widely-used wherever alternative techniques will not be possible to demolish the highest part of a tall building. Once it is down to a manageable height demolition can continue in the usual way. The various methods of demolishing tall buildings are by implosion using explosives, controlled collapse and piecemeal. To control the dust produced in demolition, water hoses and spray equipment are sometimes used and then it is called a wet demolition.


Using explosives in demolition is very specialist work and getting it drastically wrong could be disastrous. If for example there exists atmospheric pressure from low cloud above the implosion site, the shockwave may spread outwards instead of upwards resulting in the wave of energy and sound to break glass windows. If an implosion isn’t prepared correctly the risk may be destruction of surrounding properties where flying debris might cause harm to spectators.

For many individuals when they think about demolition they might have in mind the employment of explosives in the dramatic collapse of a tall building. This method is actually called implosion using explosives. Implosion is vital for dense cities because it brings down a tall building so the surrounding environment is damaged as little as possible. The collapse takes only a few moments for the building to crash into its own footprint.

Because of the risks of working with explosives they are only used when other methods are too costly or impractical. Where there’s a partial collapse of a building and there are still primed explosives that failed to go off, workers are in great danger since the remaining structure is extremely unstable. Concurrently the demolition needs to continue to secure the safety of the site.

Health and Safety

The task of demolition is a much more technical and complicated process than most people would appreciate. The job is extremely risky and requires experienced and skilled operators to handle the job. It is vital that personnel working in the market are thoroughly trained. Health and safety awareness is crucial in demolition services so it is best for operatives to have gained certificates of Competence in Demolition to guarantee safety for both workers and public alike. All demolition work is regulated by Construction, Design and Management Regulations.

Your local Nottingham demolition company has the necessary skills to ensure that they complete the procedure above in order to gain demolition planning approval.

Sequence of Demolition

An incorrect sequence of dismantling will result in accidental collapse of a building as the stability of any structure is reliant on the interdependence of its component parts. Consider a house of cards and what happens if one of many supporting cards is taken away.

There’s a strict sequence of events before any demolition can take place. Councils across the country will have their own specific list for planning approval inside their area, but a typical order could be the following:-

Provision of information
Information must be provided about the construction of the structure to be demolished. Details of its previous use as well as the appropriate demolition methods to be used, including disposal of hazardous substances, need to be submitted by the demolition company.

Survey of Demolition
A comprehensive survey of the site to recognize any structural problems, along with risks related to hazardous or flammable substances, should be discussed at length with the authorities. (E.g. A disused garage where petrol has been stored is often a potential fire hazard so preventative measures will need to be taken).

Preferred and Safe Method of Work
A professional demolition company will be able to select the suitable technique for disposal showing the outline dismantling process. Planning is essential for assiduous monitoring. The authorities will require a detailed statement of the safety procedures to used, and all parties involved must agree the techniques before any demolition can take place.

Preparation and Planning
Issues including asbestos abatement, rodent baiting, dealing with hazardous substances, disconnecting utilities, and making safe any electric, gas or other services have to be shown in the planning stage. There is a lot of preparation to be done before even starting work on demolishing the building itself.

Protection of the Public
Safety can’t be compromised so wherever you can find heavily populated areas around the demolition site the protection of the public is paramount. Any health hazards should be assessed and temporary services arranged, and people disturbed will need to be informed.


The aim in demolition is to eliminate an unwanted building as safely and quickly as possible and in our modern environment attempts are made to recycle or re-use the majority of the old material. This is not a new idea even though the word itself is relatively modern. On the borders between England and Scotland after the Romans left, a large portion of Hadrian’s Wall was hauled away and use was made of the beautifully dressed stone to construct the new buildings in the towns and villages nearby and some are still standing today.

Demolition work by its nature is a very hazardous business and demolishing any building is a complex and skilled process. The next time you observe demolition work occurring on a building offer a thought to the individuals who work in a dangerous situation daily and how much is involved in the meticulous planning, regulations compliance, care and skill that goes on to undertaking the project to clear the way for our future.

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