Safely Preparing For & Demolishing Buildings

6/26/2014
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​As site work on many of our projects has begun, we’ve been demolishing a lot of buildings. Throughout the entire construction process, we focus on the safety of our workers and the general public. Demolition is no different.

Demolition work involves many of the same hazards associated with construction. However, it also poses additional hazards due to unknown factors such as changes from the structure’s original design, approved or unapproved modifications to the structure, materials hidden within structural members and unknown strengths or weaknesses of damaged materials.

Our preparations and process include the following, among others: 

Preliminary Tasks

  • We begin with a written engineering survey on each structure to determine the condition of framing, floors and walls and to assess the possibility of an unplanned collapse. Our own structural engineers often prepare this report for us. 
  • We also notify utility companies and temporarily relocate and protect any essential power, water or other utilities and shut off or cap all service lines outside the building.
  • We also assess the hazardous chemicals, gases, explosives and flammable materials that may be present on site and remediate as needed.

Removing Walls & Masonry Sections

  • We begin demolition of exterior walls and floors at the top of the structure. At the end of each work shift, all walls must also be left in stable condition.
  • During demolition, supervisors must pay attention to the weather conditions. If they become a hazard, workers do not work on the top of a wall.
  • Retaining walls that support earth or adjoining structures are not demolished until the supporting earth has been braced or until adjoining structures have been properly underpinned.

During demolition, continuing inspections are made to detect hazards resulting from weakened or deteriorated floors, or walls or loosened material. If hazards are present, no workers are permitted to work where such hazards exist until they are corrected by shoring, bracing or other effective means.

Source: OSHA