Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Building Demolition Techniques: Demolition is a highly skilled and dangerous activity in terms of damage to life and property and there are certain basic factors to consider before a contract is placed:

  •  The demolition contractor should have ample experience of the type of work to be offered;
  •  Fully comprehensive insurance against all risks must be maintained at all times;
  •  An experienced supervisor should be continuously in charge of the work;
  •  The contract price should include all safety precautions included in the relevant building regulations;
  •  The completion date should be realistic, avoiding and need to take risks to achieve the date.
  • Supervision of Demolition Work in Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida
  • A method statement showing how the demolition work is to be carried out should be prepared and the contractors should appoint a “competent person” to supervise the demolition work.

Demolition Processes

As an intrinsic part of the construction process in Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida, efficient demolition of structures is an important factor deserving careful consideration in the evolution of any redevelopment project. Modern emphasis is on the reduction of construction periods to ensure economic redevelopment, coupled within creasing town center regenerating calling for careful demolition on constructed and restricted site, have resulted in more consideration being given to demolition as part of the process of construction and redevelopment than was typical in previous times. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Developing a Demolition Strategy as a part of the Techniques

The strategy will need to take into account the method or technique of construction used for the original building and its proximity to other buildings, structures and the general public. These factors, together with location, the cost and availability of tipping and disposal and the desirability and economics of reuse, must be taken into account in the development of an appropriate strategy for the demolition of a structure in Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida.

Building Information

Information on buildings in terms of “as built” drawings and structural details may often be unavailable or unreliable, and consequently, some investigative site and desk work may be necessary, both to ascertain the way in which the building was originally constructed, and to identify the stresses and strains which exist within it. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

In order to plan the most efficient method or technique of demolition, it is important to have a full understanding of the method of construction and the stress patterns imposed upon the building. Failure to do so may result in risks to the safety of both those involved in the demolition and those in close proximity to the site. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Selecting Appropriate Techniques to building demolition in Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Majors factors to be considered in selecting an appropriate technique include:

  • Safety of personnel and public
  • Working Methods
  • Legislation applicable
  • Insurance Cover
  • Preliminary techniques or Aspects Prior to Site Demolition Work
  • Conducting a site and building survey, with a structural bias;
  • The examination of drawings and details of existing construction where available;
  • The preparation of details and drawings from site survey activities where no such information is available;
  • Establishing previous use of premises, especially with regard to flammable substances or substances hazardous to health or safety;
  • Programming the sequence of demolition work;
  • The preparation of a Method Statement.
  • Method statement
  • A detailed health and safety method statement, produced before work starts, is essential for safe working. It should include a full risk assessment, identify problems and their solutions, and form a reference for the site supervision.

The method statement should be easy to understand, agreed by and known to all levels of management and supervision, and should include such matters as:

  • The sequence and method of demolition or dismantling of the building or structure with details of personnel access, working platforms and machinery requirements;
  • Details and design of any temporary supporting structures to be used during the demolition process;
  • Specific details of any pre-weakening on structures which are to be pulled down or demolished with explosives;
  • Arrangements for the protection of personnel and the public and the exclusion of unauthorized persons, with details of areas outside the site boundaries that may occasionally need to be controlled to improve safety during critical aspects of the work;
  • Details of the removal or making safe of electrical, gas and other services and drains;
  • Details of temporary services available or required for the contractor’s use;
  • Details of the methods for detailing with flammable materials and gasses which may have been retained or deposited as residue in process machinery, pipework or storage;
  • Details of methods to establish the presence of hidden or other substances that may be hazardous to health, the methods to be used for their disposal, and any necessary protective equipment;
  • Arrangements for the control of site transport used for the removal of demolition debris.62

Demolition Methods

In many circumstances in Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida, buildings and structures should be demolished in the reverse order to their erection; although where partial demolition is involved, a more careful evaluation of the nature of the effects of the demolition is necessary. Normally, the demolition contractor is able to adopt a method or technique of work which:

Gradually reduces the height of the building; or

Arranges the deliberately controlled collapse of the building or structure so that work can be completed at ground level.

Demolition Technique Selection

The choice of demolition technique will depend on the nature of the building or structure and its environment, in this case, is in Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida. Risks to the public, operatives involved in the demolition process and adjacent structures and buildings should be considered. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Demolition techniques may be categorized as:

  • Piecemeal demolition, using hand-held tools
  •  The mechanical method by Hydraulic crusher with Long Boom arm, Wrecking Ball, Pusher Arm, Wire Rope Pulling, Clam Shell.
  • Other Methods like  NonExplosive Demolition Agent, Explosive Demolition, Saw cutting, Cutting and Lifting, Water Jet.

Piecemeal Demolition (Demolition by Hand)

  • For demolitions of reinforced concrete buildings by hand, tools such as electric, pneumatic breakers, jackhammers etc.  Are commonly being used.
  • Oxy-acetylene torch could be used to cut the reinforcements.
  • The reinforcements shall remain until all the concrete connecting to or supported by their enforcement is broken away or when its supports are no longer required.
  • Cantilever canopies, balconies, and exterior walls are critical elements in building demolition.
  • In congested areas, these features could critically impact on the safety of the public.
  • Demolition of these features shall be performed with extreme caution.
  • If rope or tie wires are used to pull down the structural elements, the pulling wire must be at least 4 times stronger than the anticipated pulling force
  • In addition, workers of Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida shall be shielded from the rope or tie wires. The rope or ties wire shall be checked at least twice per day.
  • Lifting appliances may be necessary to hold larger structural members during cutting and for lowering severe structural members and other debris.
  • Chutes may be used to discharge debris into a vehicle or hopper.
  • Foundations would normally be grubbed up by excavation machines.
  • Demolition sequence shall be determined according to actual site conditions, restraints, the building layout, the structural layout and its construction.

In general, the following sequence shall apply:

  • (a) All cantilevered structures, canopies, verandahs and features attached to the external walls shall first be demolished prior to demolition of the main building and its internal structures on each floor.
  • (b) When demolishing the roof structure, all lift machine rooms, and water tanks at high level shall be demolished in “top down” sequence to the main roof level.
  • (c) Demolition of the floor slabs shall begin at mid span and work towards the supporting beams.
  • (d) Floor beams shall be demolished in the order as follows:
  • (1) cantilevered beams;
  • (2) Secondary beams; Then
  • (3) Main beams.

In the case when structural stability of beams is affected, e.g., due to loss of restraints, the affected beams shall be propped prior to loss of support or restraint;

  • (e) Non-load bearing walls shall be removed prior to demolition of load bearing walls;
  • (f) Columns and load-bearing walls shall be demolished after removal of beams on top;
  • (g) If site conditions permit, the first-floor slab directly above the ground floor may be demolished by a machine sitting on the ground level and mounted with demolition accessories. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Mechanical Demolition used in Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

  • Mechanical demolition generally involves the use of large machinery with attachment to dismantle the building from outside.
  • The common mechanical methods include the use of a Hydraulic crusher with long Boom arm, Wrecking Ball, pusher arm, wire rope, clam shell etc…
  • These methods shall only be applied to isolated buildings on the relatively flat ground.
  • If it is attached to another structure, the two properties should be separated by the use of hand methods before the main demolition process begins.

 Concerns and good practices of the mechanical demolition in Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida generally included the following:

  • (1)The machine shall be operated on smooth and firm ground;
  • (2) It shall also have adequate counter-weight to prevent overturning during the operation;
  • (3) The equipment and accessories such as attachments and rope shall be inspected frequently and shall be repaired or replaced whenever necessary;
  • (4) The impact of the collapsed structural sections on the floor or ground shall be checked to prevent the potential overloading of the suspended floor, vibration, and disturbance to adjacent properties and damage to underground utilities;
  • (5) The site shall have full-time security to prevent unauthorized personnel entering the site. No person shall stay within the working area of the machine and the building while the machine is operating.
  • (6) Sufficient water spray or other anti-dust precautions shall be provided to minimize air pollution by dust;
  • (7) The cab of the machine shall be equipped with impact proofed glass and its construction shall be robust enough to protect the operator from flying debris;
  • (8) A spot person shall be on site full time to provide guidance and assistance to the operator in the demolition process.

Demolition Sequence

Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

In general, the following sequence shall apply in the area of Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida:

  • (a) Prior to demolition of internal floors, all cantilevered slabs and beams, canopies, and verandahs shall first be demolished.
  • (b) The structural elements, in general, shall be demolished in the following sequence:  Slab; Secondary beams; then Main beams.
  • (c) Mechanical plant shall descend from the floors with temporary access ramp, or be lowered to the next floor by lifting machinery or by other appropriate means;
  • (d) When a mechanical plant has just descended from the floor above, the slabs and beams, in two consecutive floors may be demolished by the mechanical plant simultaneously. The mechanical plant may work on structural elements on the same floor and break up the slabs on the floor above;
  • (e) The wall panel, including beams and columns, shall be demolished by gradually breaking down the concrete or by pulling them down in a controlled manner.

Hydraulic crusher with Long Boom arm

  • The crusher attachment breaks the concrete and the reinforcement by the hydraulic thrust through the long boom arm system.
  • The hydraulic crusher can be operated from the ground outside the building.
  • This method is also suitable for dangerous buildings, silos, and other industrial facilities.
  • For the environmental reason, it should be used wherever practicable because of its quietness.

Application Criteria

  • The operation shall have a minimum clear space of 1/2 the building height as a safety zone for the falling debris;
  • The equipment shall be inspected and maintained periodically to make sure the equipment is in good and safe condition.
  • The excavator shall operate on firm ground that can support the machine during the crusher operation;

Except for special applications, each section of the structure shall be demolished in a top-down sequence to ensure stability of the structure;

Debris may be used to build up a platform for the excavator to extend the range of reach. It is important that the debris is densely compacted to support the operation of the excavator. The platform must be flat and the slope must be stable. The height of the buildup platform shall be limited to 3 m. The side slope of the temporary platform shall not be steeper than 1:1 (horizontal to vertical) unless the condition allows a steeper slope. The slope of an access ramp for the machine shall be in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation. The width in both directions of the platform shall be at least one and one-half the length of the machine to allow safe maneuver during the demolition operation;

  • To minimize the dust impact, the structure shall be pre-soaked with water before demolition. Water shall be continuously sprayed during the crushing operation;
  • Debris may fall out of the building during the demolition. The site shall be completely fenced off. There shall be 24-hour guarded security to allow only authorized personnel for site access. During the operation of the crusher there shall be no worker within the machine operating area or inside the building;
  • The crusher operator shall possess the essential skills and significant experience in the crusher operation. There shall be a spot person to assist in the operation and alert the operator of any potential problem during the operation. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Wrecking Ball

  • The wrecking ball application consists of a crane equipped with a steel ball.
  • The destruction of the building is by the impact energy of the steel ball suspended from the crawler crane. The wrecking ball operates outside the building.
  • This method is suitable for dilapidated buildings, silos, and other industrial facilities.
  • However, the operation requires substantial clear space.
  • The application also demands high-level skill operators and well-maintained equipment.

Application Criteria

The recommended criteria for the use of wrecking ball in Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida are presented in the following:

Except for special application, the balling of each section of the structure shall proceed from top to bottom. Care shall be taken to maintain the stability of the structure; Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Recommended techniques for the wrecking ball operations include:

  • (1) Vertical Drop – free falling of the wrecking ball onto the Structure;
  • (2) Swing in line – swinging of the ball in-line with the jib.

A second dragline will normally connect to the ball horizontally to control the ball motion. The ball shall be swung into the building. The ball shall strike at the top of the member so as to avoid the member from falling outside the building.

Slewing the jib is not recommended. The motion of the ball by slewing the jib is difficult to control. It demands expert knowledge of the machine and structure as well as operating skills to safely perform the task. Slewing can potentially induce a tremendous amount of stress on the jib, as such; its use shall be avoided;

The jib or boom shall be operated with not less than 3 m above the portion of the structure being demolished;

Clear space for operation between the crane and the structure being demolished shall be 50% of the height of structure, the clear distance between the site boundary and the building to be demolished shall not be less than 50% of the building height plus an additional 6 m for the crane to maneuver, these criteria shall apply to all sides of the building to be demolished by wrecking ball;

The demolition ball shall be connected with swivel type anti-spin device to prevent twisting and tangling of the wire during operation;

The wire and boom of the machine used for balling shall have a rated capacity, at the working radius, of at least 5 times the weight of the ball. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

The strength of the wire shall be at least twice the tensile strength of the nominal steel reinforcement of the floor slab and beams. The high strength wire allows the pullout of the wrecking ball from potential traps;

To ensure that the crane is in good condition, the wire connecting to the ball, the boom components, and connecting pins shall be inspected twice daily;

A sufficient length of the wire shall be provided to allow the ball to drop to the lowest working level plus an addition of 10% of the wire length and no less than 3 drums. For swing in-line method, there shall be sufficient length of the dragline wire to allow the ball to fall in the event that the ball is entangled with the falling debris;

The operation shall not be performed adjacent to overhead power lines;

The site shall be entirely fenced off to forbid public access. A 24-hour security guard shall be assigned to the site to enforce the access restriction; depending on the relative location between the fence and the building, and fence shall be designed to withstand accidental impact by the wrecking ball;

During the use of the demolition ball, except for the crane operator and the spot person, all other workers shall be kept away from the demolition ball’s working radius. Nobody shall stay inside the building;

To minimize the dust impact on the surrounding area, the structure to be demolished shall be pre-soaked with water before demolition. Water spraying shall continue on the structure during demolition;

Since the safety and success of the project depend highly on the operator and site personnel, the operator must have proven experience and skill in operating the wrecking ball to the satisfaction of the approval authority; and

A spot person shall be on site during the operation to assist the operator and to ensure site safety. The spot person shall have extensive knowledge and experience in the use of wrecking ball. The qualification and experience of the spot person shall be equivalent to those of the wrecking ball operator. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Hydraulic Pusher Arm

Articulated, hydraulically-powered pusher-arm machines are normally mounted on a tracked or wheeled chassis, and have a toothed plate or hook for applying for applying a horizontal force to a wall. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

The machine should stand on a firm level base and apply force by a controlled movement of the pusher arm.

Special conditions for pusher arm demolition are listed below:

  • (1) The pusher arm shall be constructed of steel or equivalent material and shall have adequate strength to operate in the building; a crane boom shall not be used;
  • (2) Minimum safety distance of 0.5 times the height of the building element being demolished shall be maintained between the machine and the building for pushing into the building;
  • (3) Minimum safety distance of 1.5 times the height of the building element being demolished shall be maintained if structural elements are pulling out of the building;
  • (4) The point of application of pushing shall not be less than 2/3 of the height and not more than 600 mm below the top of the wall; and the pusher arm method shall be limited to buildings less than 15 m high. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Overturning – Wire Rope Pulling

This method is the application of a horizontal force at a high level by pulling with wire ropes attached to winches or vehicles, and allowing the impact on overturning to demolish the building or structure. It is common in demolitions of Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida.

An adequate steel cab or cage should protect the winch or the pulling vehicle and the operator.

Building over 21m high should not normally be demolished by rope pulling. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Special conditions for wire rope pulling are listed in the following:

  • (1) A safety distance of 1.5 times the height of element to be demolished shall be maintained between the machine and the building during the pulling;
  • (2) The machine shall always travel parallel to the line of pull during the pulling operation;
  • (3) In the case when pulling is done by a pulley, such a pulley device shall be securely anchored;
  • (4) The wire rope or chain shall be composed of steel with tensile strength not less than 4 times the theoretical force required to perform the pulling;
  • (5) The wire rope used for the operation shall be inspected for wear and damage at least twice daily and replaced as necessary;
  • (6) Any sharp edge that is to be wound by the rope shall be protected to minimize the possibility of cutting or wearing of the rope during pulling;
  • (7) The bottom of the wall may be pre-weakened with care and protection to ensure controlled collapse;
  • (8) The wire rope pulling shall be limited to buildings less than 15 m high; and
  • (9) All workers shall stay away from the area within reach of the rope or wire in case it breaks. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Clam shell

Demolition by clam shell typically involves the use of a crane equipped with a clam shell attachment which progressively bites away the structure.

Special conditions for clam shell are listed in the following:

  • (1) A minimum safety distance of 0.5 times the height of the building element being demolished shall be maintained between the machine and the building during the operation;
  • (2) The process of biting off the structural elements shall begin from the top and progress downwards; and
  • (3) The clam shell shall be operated not less than 1 m above the structure being demolished.
  • Other Methods of Demolition used in Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida.
  • A. Non-Explosive Demolition Agent
  • Non-Explosive Demolition Agent (NEDA) is a static demolition agent.
  • When the reaction takes place in a confined drill hole, the NEDA generates an expansive pressure to crack and break concrete and stone.
  • The NEDA is a suitable application in a restrictive environment where noise, flying debris and vibration are less tolerated.
  • drilling pattern shall first be designed. For large projects, test breaking shall be performed.
  • The NEDA shall be mixed with water to form a slurry and immediately placed into the pre-drilled holes. The loading intensity and water content shall be controlled to optimize the expansive pressure and prevent blow-out of the NEDA.
  • The breaking effect of NEDA is relatively small comparing to explosives. Secondary efforts are required to further break down and remove the debris by mechanical means.
  • NEDA may be used on foundation works, pile caps or structures that are fully supported.
  • When used in rock, NEDA should be contained within strong, flexible, impermeable bags to prevent uncontrolled entry into rock joints.

Saw Cutting

  • Saw cutting is suitable for alteration and additional works where accuracy in the cutting is important and the tolerance to noise and vibration is very limited.
  • It can be used to cut concrete slabs and wall elements into segments. An entire building may be dismantled by saw cutting.
  • Saw cutting generally includes conventional disc saw and chain saw, diamond core stitch drilling and wire saw.

(1) Wire Saw Cutting

  • The wire saw cutting comprises a special steel wire often impregnated with diamond beads to increase its cutting ability.
  • The wire saw method is a suitable application for projects that require precision and total control of demolition work.
  • A hole shall first be pre-drilled for the passage of the diamond wire, the wire cutting operation follows.
  • Because of its flexibility, it may be used for “hard to reach” areas.
  • A diamond wire saw may also be applied in cutting off piling of marine structures and bridges. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

(2) Diamond Core Stitch Drilling

  • Diamond core stitch drilling may be adopted to cut concrete elements by continuously coring a set of holes to carve up the concrete structure.
  • The thickness of the concrete to be cut depends on the depth of the drilling or coring equipment.
  • Diamond core stitch drilling is particularly suitable for the removal of existing pile cap for the construction of large diameter bored pile foundation.

(3) Management of Process Water

  • The sawing and drilling operations require large amounts of water to cool down the blade which cuts through the concrete at high speed.
  • Provision shall be made to provide a water source for the operation and for the disposal of the cooling water. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Cutting and Lifting

  • Cutting and lifting involve the initial cutting of the structure into individual pieces or segments, and then lifting the pieces or assembly by crane onto the ground for further demolition or hauling away.
  • Slabs can be cut into segments and then lifted off for further cutting into smaller pieces before disposal.
  • Precast concrete structures can be cut into pieces and then lifted off as a reversal of the construction sequence.
  • When the precast elements are fabricated from pieces into an assembly of the structure.
  • Cutting and lifting may be applied to safely remove projections such as canopies, architectural features, balconies and bay windows.
  • The typical procedures for cutting and lifting are summarized in the following:
  • Prior to cutting, the structural stability of the remaining structure shall be checked;
  • The structural element to be removed shall be secured, either by temporary supports or by tie wires connected to lifting appliances. The lifting appliances must have adequate capacity to support the weight of the structural section.
  • The wire strength shall not be less than 4 times the anticipated loads;
  • The lifting appliance, cutting by disc saw, chain saw and diamond wire saw shall comply with the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance; and
  • After cutting, the structural element shall be lowered to the designated area in a controlled manner. Free falling shall be avoided. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

Water jet

  •  Water jetting involves the use of a water jet stream pumped at high pressure to erode the cement matrix and wash out the aggregates.
  • Abrasive compounds may be added for cutting reinforcing steel. The application of the water jetting shall be subject to the following criteria:
  • (A) City water supply shall be used in water jet cutting. Provision shall be included to dispose the water used in the operation, and to recycle the water for continuous operation through local filtration and sedimentation;
  • (B) The area behind the structural member to be cut shall be shielded to avoid damage to person sand properties during the cutting; and
  • (C) In the case when abrasive water jets are used, further precautionary measures shall be provided in accordance with manufacturer recommendations to confine the rebound of the abrasive compounds. All site personnel shall wear adequate safety cover and clothing. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida


If explosives are to be used for demolition, the planning, and execution, include pre-weakening, should be under the control of a person competent in these techniques. For large demolition, the competent person is likely to be an experienced explosive engineer; for smaller work, a shot-firer may be sufficient. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

When the use of explosives is contemplated, it is usual to employ a technique that will ensure the total demolition of the whole building by staging a controlled collapse. The explosive charges are set and fired in a sequence that will weaken the structure in such a way that the building collapses in upon itself. Explosives are generally used for removing large volumes of concrete via insertion of explosive devices in a series of boreholes:

  • Versatile and flexible in terms of work output.
  • Vibration and air blast may damage surrounding structures.
  • Heightened safety considerations involved when compared to other demolition   methods.

Although we tend to think of explosives as devices producing spectacular bomb-like explosions, the use of non-explosive “explosives” is now at an advanced stage. These non-explosive techniques are essentially expanding charges that achieve the same results as explosives but without the noise and initial devastating blast. Building Demolition Techniques Miami Fort Lauderdale Florida

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