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How Does a Building Get Demolished?

Buildings are normally built with strong materials like steel and reinforced concrete to last for a very long time. However, there will come a time when these huge structures need to be demolished. Either they are no longer safe, have outlived their purpose, or make room for newer buildings.

Demolishing a building is an extremely tricky and risky task. Taking them down is just as complicated and effortful as erecting them. It involves highly skilled individuals with extensive experience to dismantle a building by pre-planned or controlled methods.

Demolition is a meticulous process of planning and preparation. There are a number of ways to do it safely and properly depending on the type of building that is being demolished.

How do you take down a huge structure like a building?

Although there are more than four ways to dismantle a building, we will discuss four of the most commonly practiced demolition methods below:

1. Building implosion

Implosion involves placing explosive charges in strategic areas of the building. The goal is to take down a building’s critical vertical support structure so that it collapses into its own footprint very quickly, safely, and spectacularly.

Demolition controlled implosion- BIgEasy Demolition.com Typically, an implosion takes only a few seconds. It is ideal for tall structures in dense urban areas with many neighboring structures. This is also why implosion needs to be well-placed and well-timed because any error can be disastrous and severely damage neighboring structures.

To execute a successful and safe demolition through implosion, the demolition crew must meticulously analyze and understand the structural blueprints of a building.

By doing so, they will be able to identify the appropriate type of explosives to use, where to place them with precision and how to perfect the detonation sequence.

2. Wrecking Ball

A crane with a wrecking ball is probably the most iconic method of demolition. It is one of the oldest and most common methods used to dismantle concrete and masonry structures to a certain manageable height.

A giant wrecking ball that weighs more than six tons is suspended on a cable from a crane or other heavy equipment. The wrecking ball takes the building down with repeated blows by dropping onto or swinging into the structure.

Even if it is a relatively inexpensive and quick method of demolishing a structure, crane-mounted wrecking balls are rarely used on sites nowadays.

It is held back by several limitations like unsuitable building type, the uncontrollable nature of the swings of the ball, and the safety implications associated. Apart from that, it also causes a lot of excessive noise, vibration, debris, dust, and safety hazards.

Furthermore, performing wrecking ball demolition requires highly skilled and experienced crane operators. It is very critical to control the swing of the ball smoothly and precisely as the ball’s trajectory cannot be controlled once it breaks the structure.

3. High-Reach Demolition Excavators

High-reach arm demolition excavators are typically used for higher structures reaching a height of more than about 66 feet. This method is also an ideal alternative when explosive demolition is not appropriate or feasible.

Demolition Excavator- BigEasy Demolition.com This type of demolition uses heavy base machines such as excavators. It requires a secure and stable foundation as it has a dismantling arm or a telescopic boom with demolition tools attached to its end.

The attachment includes hammers, shears, and crushers that will be used to break up the building from the top down

High-reach arm demolition is probably the most popular method because of its versatility. It can be used on all types of buildings and structures such as reinforced concrete, masonry, and steel.

Additionally, it is considered to be a safer and cleaner way to dismantle structures. There are less dust, noise, flying debris, and safety risks to the operator and surrounding communities.

4. Selective Demolition

Selective demolition is also known as the “strip out” demolition. This method is the most flexible as it gives owners and developers the option to remove selected parts of the building without dismantling the entire structure in just one go.

In today’s world – that is growing to be more eco-conscious each day, this is a very attractive option. It allows you to recover the optimal amount of primary (reusable) and secondary (recyclable) material in a safe and cost-effective process.

Blending some of these reused and recycled materials from the old structure into the new look of the building will lessen the demolition’s environmental impact.

Selective demolition is the best choice when you’re planning to remodel, upgrade or extend the building.

On the other hand, as flexible and eco-friendly as it is, selective demolition is more labor-intensive than other demolition methods. Finishing the demolition job in a timely and economical manner for light-framed buildings is always a challenge.

Related: Is It Worth Demolishing a House and Rebuilding?

Whatever goes up must someday come down, safely and efficiently.

With any method of demolition, the results can be disastrous if something goes wrong. This is why the demolition process is customized for each project or structure.

So, before any demolition activities can take place, here are some steps that must be carried out first:

  • A thorough survey of the building’s structure and location
  • Removal of hazardous materials before the demolition
  • Disposal of the debris after the demolition
  • Detailed demolition plan – how it will be carried out, the equipment that will be used, and how much debris they will need to clean up
  • Safety measures and risks that need to be addressed

The next and most crucial step in the whole demolition process is to select the safest and most efficient demolition method that is within budget.

Why do you need to hire the best professionals in the field?

As you can see, there is a lot of expertise and precision that goes into pulling off a successful demolition. But when carried out correctly, these demolitions can be achieved with a high degree of accuracy.

Demolition methods and processes are continuously evolving to become more cost-effective, safer, and friendlier to the environment and the community. Demolition experts can help you make the best choice for your project.

Why do you need to hire Big Easy Demolition for your projects?

They have fully licensed demolition contractors, professionals, and specialists to help you make your commercial space more functional.

Contact Big Easy Demolition and get the best and safest demolition services and contractors in New Orleans.


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Big Easy Demolition is a licensed and insured company providing demolition services for both homes and businesses.

We proudly serve the areas of Metairie, Slidell, New Orleans, Kenner, Laplace, and all throughout the Greater New Orleans area.

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