Commercial demolition planning | Do commercial properties containing asbestos increase the demolition cost? | How much does commercial demolition cost? | How long does it take to complete a commercial demolition?
Commercial demolition is the act of reducing a commercial property to a vacant lot. Commercial demolition entails the complete removal of a building, which includes any non-structural work and haulage from the site.
Commercial demolition can be performed for a multitude of reasons, however the most common being business relocation and parking space creation. Although commercial demolition does not require much preparation in comparison to other types of construction work, it has many different stages that have been refined over generations of working practices.
A large amount of planning is required prior to beginning any type of building or structure demolition. The first stage involves researching the location and method that will be used for demolishing the building, otherwise known as pre-planning. Pre-planning usually consists of seeking information about local laws and regulations regarding the type of structure which is being demolished, e.g., maximum height limitations on controlled explosions when a property is close to other buildings etc.
It is also common to perform a structural appraisal of the building, in order to research the location of any hazardous materials like asbestos that may be found. It is also advisable to find out which roads are near or around the structure which needs demolishing, as this will determine what methods can and cannot be used for demolition.
Commercial Demolition Planning
Demolition work often requires more rigorous planning than other projects. This is because demolition work can take place in built-up areas where there are many people nearby, so it must be performed with great care to avoid collateral damage. For example, certain critical points such as high voltage power lines and gas pipes should not be cut unless absolutely necessary, so having experts on hand is vital.
In addition, all buildings that are located in a live demolition area must be made safe. It is common to place protective mesh over all exposed windows, as well as placing barriers around the building that are anchored into the ground. These are known as k-rails in Australia.
In order to make sure that buildings will not collapse while being demolished, they must be propped up with temporary structures called ‘scaffolding’ (See photos for an example). Scaffolding supports the weight of adjoining buildings during demolition which helps prevent adjacent properties from collapsing. Without scaffolding, a building may collapse suddenly due to the weight of material accumulating on the ground.
Planners must also take into consideration things like traffic and pedestrians in busy areas when designing a demolition plan. For example, if live power lines are located above a road that is regularly travelled by cars and trucks, then some people will need to coordinate with traffic control officers to make sure that no vehicles go under the wires while they are being removed.
The planning aspect of commercial demolition work mainly involves ensuring that workers are safe when performing all activities involved in commercial building demolition due to the nature of their work. Some commercial demolitions can involve specialised equipment which requires very skilled operators as well as the use of highly flammable chemicals. Planning also involves paying attention to detail, since demolishing a building is an extremely precise activity that cannot be rushed due to safety reasons.
Generally, commercial demolition projects are broken down into smaller stages which will be completed in succession. These different stages usually involve removing each level one by one from top to bottom, in order to remove the building material in an ordered and controlled fashion. If demolition involved removing all of a structure’s levels at once, the weight of the falling levels could cause damage to adjacent buildings.
Do Commercial Properties Containing Asbestos Increase the Demolition Cost?
Yes, demolishing a commercial property that contains asbestos will increase the demolition cost. This is because the work involved in performing asbestos removal from a building is much more extensive than removing material from a typical commercial demolition, asbestos removal significantly adds to the tip fees and experience and licensing levels of the individuals performing the task.
In addition to removing asbestos from the building, asbestos must be properly disposed of to ensure that it doesn’t contaminate nearby homes and other buildings that are being built as it is a hazardous material. In short, asbestos removal significantly increases the scope of the demolition project, adding to the demolition process thus increasing the cost.
How Much does Commercial Demolition Cost?
Commercial demolition costs will depend on the extent and size of the project. It will also depend on the demolition company which will be performing the demolition services and their experience level. For example, a commercial demolition project in Australia, with a comparable surface area to that of one or two building lots, could cost many tens or hundreds of thousands, increasing to millions of dollars for large and complex demolition projects.
How Long does It Take to Complete a Commercial Demolition?
Commercial demolition projects are broken down into stages to make the demolition process more manageable and safer, and the time taken completely depends on the size of the project & the labour force providing the work.
Other factors such as weather can also impact a demolition schedule.