In this guide, we will focus on commercial building demolition and what it entails. From the name alone, it suggests a bias towards commercial structures which is true.
Structures are built to serve many years before they’re pulled down or demolished. As such, demolition either follows the expiration of the building’s lifespan or for safety reasons.
Sometimes, demolition is necessary when remodeling work needs to be performed.
Whatever your reasons for demolition, you’ll find this article very informative.
What’s Building Demolition About?
By its nature, commercial demolition is mostly a complex procedure that involves the teardown of mega-building projects. There are varying ways by which such new and old buildings are demolished.
More important is the need for such projects to be handled by reputable demolition contractors.
Commercial demolition and building removal mostly differ from non-commercial or residential demolition mainly due to the scale of operation. This involves much larger structures whose teardown is quite complex unlike those obtainable with non-commercial projects.
Because commercial demolition is exclusively performed on commercial properties, we’ll need to explain what a commercial property is.
What Are Commercial Properties?
In simple terms, commercial property is any non-residential property that’s mostly used for business. There are various kinds of classes of commercial properties.
These are categorized into leisure, offices, retail, healthcare, and industrial buildings. Under each of these categories are several commercial buildings.
For example, retail commercial properties consist of shops, shopping centers, and retail stores.
Commercial properties categorized under healthcare include nursing homes, medical centers, and hospitals.
Those categorized under leisure include hotels, sports facilities, pubs, cafés, and restaurants. For industrial buildings, there are factories and warehouses.
Under each of these are further classifications we won’t be getting into.
With commercial buildings explained, we’ll proceed to discuss the types of commercial demolitions.
Types of Commercial Demolition
Commercial demolition unfolds in varying ways. In other words, the processes involved aren’t always the same.
There are three types of commercial building removal that include mechanical demolition, deconstruction or dismantling, and explosion or implosion.
When looking for a moderately priced demolition option, mechanical demolition is the option to choose. You’ve probably witnessed a commercial building being demolished using this method.
Here, the procedure requires the use of heavy machinery.
The most common machinery for mechanical demolition includes wire rope pools, wrecking balls, excavators, and bulldozers. These are operated by highly skilled and experienced personnel who are trained for such.
Irrespective of the type of commercial building being demolished, mechanical demolition has common features.
They include airborne debris, a significant volume of dust, loud noise, and vibrations. Of course, the mess created isn’t left out.
The suitability of mechanical demolition largely depends on the circumstances or factors at play. Such may include the need to lower demolition costs, or obtaining necessary permits among other things.
Consulting a demolition expert should help determine the suitability of the process.
Deconstruction or Dismantling
Commercial building deconstruction can also be termed dismantling. This procedure is most costly to perform.
However, because certain materials are salvaged from the structure, selling them could help you offset demolition costs.
Consider deconstruction as reverse construction. This is a painstaking process that carefully strips down a commercial building. Although slower, it has been steadily embraced by demolition experts seeking to adopt a green procedure.
Here, the demolition process unfolds in a step-by-step manner. It basically involves hand tools and requires a lot of manual labor. This explains the reason why it’s the most expensive.
Though expensive, the benefits are obvious as you get to repurpose salvaged material or sell them.
Commercial demolition using the deconstruction technique requires structural support. In other words, equipment such as cranes and shear legs among others are used for structural support.
Explosion or Implosion
Structural Implosion or explosion is the least expensive of the three. This demolition method involves the use of explosives which are strategically planted along the key load-bearing walls and pillars.
Reputable demolition contractors usually have explosive experts that prepare and carry out the process.
This type of demolition requires accuracy. This is why a lot of calculations go into the process. The commercial building will need to be brought down quickly and yet precisely.
Before planting explosives, the structure is carefully assessed to determine the key points or areas.
Safety concerns form a major part of decision-making. There could be problems with this method as it could cause damage to adjacent structures.
Flying debris, a reduction in air quality, noise pollution, and other environmental issues come into play.
This demolition procedure is only adopted when the other options aren’t viable or not available. Before this commercial demolition procedure is picked, its pros and cons must be weighed.
It’s abandoned when the cons outweigh the pros.
Commercial Demolition Requirements
Commercial demolition must follow set standards. This means it’s not done haphazardly. All commercial demolition procedures must follow the Clean Air Act regulation.
This act is a federal law that regulates air emissions from both mobile and stationary sources.
The clean air act sets the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulation. As mentioned earlier, commercial demolition generates a lot of pollution.
This is even more evident where hazardous materials like asbestos are involved.
Certain commercial demolition requirements prohibit the release of visible emissions into the air. Plus, air cleaning and hazardous waste removal procedures need to be performed for some types of operations.
Who To Call For Commercial Demolition Job
Commercial demolition isn’t a simple procedure. As such, you’ll need to be concerned about who does or handles the process. It’s easy to mention that a reputable contractor is hired.
However, knowing who a reputable contractor is, involves some digging around.
Here, we’re speaking of being thorough with your approach to hiring a contractor. As such, part of knowing who to hire includes verifying references and reading between the lines. Be wary of pricing that sounds too good to be true.
What more? You should avoid demolition contractors seeking full upfront payment before the job begins. Is the demolition contractor licensed? Also, check for adequate insurance.
Let’s expand on each of these points for better clarity.
Demolition contractors aren’t all the same. While some are highly professional with loads of experience and satisfied clients to show, others aren’t.
As part of the process of hiring the right hands for the job, you’ll need to ask for references and have them verified or cross-checked.
Anything short of willingness on the part of the contractor to provide such references should be a red flag. Even when you receive such references, it’s important to make the extra effort to reach out to such referrals.
This enables you to learn more about the demolition contractor’s potentials.
Reading Between the Lines
Sometimes, demolition contractors may hand you a vague or even non-existent contract to sign.
It’s crucial to know that contracts are legally binding, hence the tendency of being stuck after discovering that you’ve been misled.
To ensure your commercial demolition project is in safe hands, you’ll need to have or identify a running list of contract details to cross-check. Such contract details enable you better assess whether the contractor is the right fit for the job.
Simply communicating on the phone or in person won’t be enough. Having the details in writing draws your attention to key areas you had unknowingly left out or aren’t clear about.
In a nutshell, the contract document should include details on the budget and payment schedule. Other contents should include project details and guidelines.
Being Wary of Pricing that Sounds too Good to be True
One mistake often made by many is the obsession with pricing that they don’t notice any red flags. Now, when commercial building demolition cost sounds too good to be true, it’s likely that such a contractor is unlicensed and unqualified.
You may even find out upon further investigations that such a contractor has tons of negative reviews. In simple terms, never lose sight of what’s most important.
In other words, there should be a balance between pricing and satisfactory services.
Avoid Full Upfront Payment Before Job Commences
When a demolition contractor asks for full upfront payment even before the commencement of work, that’s a major sign of incompetence.
It could even be a sign of fraud. Paying anywhere from 30 to 50% of the contract amount is totally fine. However, anything more than that is a red flag.
Only Licensed Demolition Contractors are Good Enough
Does your demolition contractor have what it takes in terms of licensing to get the job started? Now, there are different license types for particular types of commercial demolition work.
There should also be no mix-up between insurance, bond, and license as these are different.
Be on the Lookout for Adequate Insurance
Comprehensive insurance plays a key role in commercial demolition. You don’t want to be liable for any action or event outside of normal such as injuries or other mishaps.
A waiver of lien from commercial demolition contractors and subcontractors will also serve to protect you.
As seen so far, commercial demolition is quite extensive as it involves a whole lot of commercial structures. This process should only be handled by experts who are experienced in this field of operation.