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To follow up on the latest construction related article I posted, in this blog I will talk a little bit about demolition as a process. There has been a lot of talk about it lately, especially after the change in US politics which signal a more “pro infrastructure” future and better construction work.

Let’s start off with the basics: what is demolition? Well, demolition or demolishing something, is simply when you take it down to the ground. It’s the process during which (through various ways) you tear the whole building structure and basically destroy it. It is often used by real estate companies when they acquire some buildings and want to knock them down to replace them or put in new housing communities. But not only do companies use this process but so does your average American. There are many people that prefer to tear down their old home and build it from the ground, instead of trying to renovate it and make re-construction efforts. So it is something widely used and many times in cartoons you will see the classic wrecking ball going in and smashing the building into pieces. Of course, wrecking balls are used in demolition projects even today (not only in cartoons) but there is so much more to just smashing a building into pieces. I actually believed that buildings go down in explosions or huge excavators that take it all down at once. I couldn’t be more far from the truth…

A friend of mine that owns a demolition company out in Atlanta, GA ( actually explained to me the details behind a demolition site and the tough work that needs to be done. Many times these tall structures are in the middle of the city with many surrounding buildings and people. So it isn’t exactly possible for someone to go in, and blow it into pieces when damage can be done to properties nearby. They actually need to take the building down floor by floor. So manually, people in that case, would need to go in and start removing all metal and concrete and dump all these in gigantic dumpsters. Then when most of a room would be clear, they would go in and knock the walls down. Rinsing and repeating this process, they would basically go from floor to floor until everything was done.

When I talked with some other demolition companies and asked them regarding the fun part of the job, they all responded by saying that it is indeed a very interesting line of work. I mean it’s the only time when you are allowed to destroy other people’s property without having any legal implications. How cool is that right?

Well…not so cool.

All these demolition companies are facing daily so many lawsuits and so many legal problems: from damage that was done to a building next door, to labor accidents that need to be covered by the employer and all of that. So it isn’t exactly happy and peaceful times. Most of the times, the owners of these excavators are spending a solid amount of time consulting lawyers because of the ton of regulation they need to go through.

Aside of those things (which aren’t for us to discuss on this blog,) demolishing a building really makes the whole task a lot easier. Building from scratch is always better, and believe it or not: it sometimes can be cheaper too! If someone is trying to make repairs over a long period of time, he may actually spend more money than: tearing town the apartment (for example) and re-building it. So many times you need to balance the 2 options you have and make the appropriate decision. Make sure – before you reach out to a demolition expert – that you reach out to a consultant. I may be able to help you with this, but there are so many good people out there. You may actually want to exchange information with your civil engineer and he can give you his insights on this. But never base your decision by listening only to one side of the story. Keep in mind, that after the building has been demolished, you will probably need to do something about the debris left behind. And let’s say you clear the property and it’s all good: you may need to go in and do some land leveling to get it ready for the large structure it will be hosting. So there is a lot more to just “destroying a building” and re-creating it. Make sure you know as much as possible about this.

When you do decide that you want to go via the demolition route, then you can sit back and enjoy the show. Depending on what method your demolition contractor uses, you may enjoy:

  1. explosions
  2. the view of excavators taking the building away inch by inch
  3. wrecking balls swinging through the air
  4. construction workers banging and hammering away those pieces of metal and concrete

In any case, you are setting yourself up for quite a show, so make sure you get some popcorn!

See you in upcoming posts.