How to Plan For a Commercial Demolition

Commercial demolition is the process of removing an existing structure, collecting the debris and clearing the site so that it can be repurposed. As the term suggests, it usually involves tearing down commercial premises such as hotels, malls or office buildings.

Since the demolition contractors are going to be working with larger structures as opposed to residential properties, there are going to be more risks involved. If you don’t take the time to plan things out, people can get hurt and properties can get damaged.

To help you avoid that, we’re going to take a look at how to plan for commercial demolition.

1. Calculate the costs

Before anything else, you need to know how much the job is going to cost you. Yes, you can get a quote from your contractor, it doesn’t hurt to have a rough estimate in your head before you hire their services.

The price of commercial demolition will vary depending on a number of factors:

  • Size

The bigger the property, the more time it’s going to take to demolish it. If the structure is too big or too dangerous for manual demolition methods, the contractors might have to use explosives as well. Once the building is demolished, they will have to transport heavy materials to landfills and recycling sites. For this, they will need to use cranes, loaders and other lifting equipment.

Because of this additional work, you should expect to pay more money for larger commercial properties.

Keep in mind that some contractors charge per hour and others charge per square metre. With some companies, you might be able to get a lower cost per square metre as the size of your property increases. Make sure to talk to your contractor about this to get the best deal possible.

  • Materials

When it comes to demolishing strong materials like steel and concrete, the contractors will have to use machines and tools like long-reach excavators, crushers and shears. Using such equipment safely and effectively requires a high level of expertise. And the more skill it requires to demolish a property, the more expensive it’s going to be.

Another thing to consider are the materials that pose a health hazard to the workers. A common example of this is asbestos. If inhaled, asbestos fibres can cause serious health issues like cancer and asbestosis. Due to the risks involved in handling asbestos, it can significantly increase demolition costs.

Generally, a risk assessment will be conducted by the contractors so that they know what materials that they’ll be dealing with. To make things easier for the workers, it’s important that you do your best to note the materials your property is made of ahead of time.

  • Permits

Regardless of where you live, you will need to pay for a construction permit before you can proceed with the demolition. These permits will ensure that the contractors that you hired are licensed and insured. Additionally, it will assure you that the workers will comply with safety regulations and standards.

Please refer to the official website of your local government for more information.

2. Hire the right demolition specialist

Once you’ve figured out a rough estimate, it’s time to look for contractors.

Here are a couple of key things to consider:

  • Specialisations

Though they have similarities, commercial and residential demolition have a few crucial distinctions.

For example, commercial demolition often involves tall structures. In order to avoid collateral damage, a commercial contractor must make sure that the structure falls in the right direction. This is done by placing explosives at specific points on the building. A residential contractor might not have sufficient experience in dealing with such projects.

  • Safety and environmental care

Next, you must make sure that the contractors comply with safety regulations. Even if they’ve secured a building permit, it won’t hurt to ask a few questions yourself. How do they control dust? How do they ensure that surrounding structures won’t get damaged in the process? What is their approach when it comes to handling asbestos or lead paint?

To protect the environment, you also want to minimise the amount of waste that goes into landfills. As such, you should ask about your contractor’s recycling procedures.

3. Preparing the site for demolition and clean up

Before the specialists get to work, make sure you check the property for any valuables that might have been left behind. A lot of demolition companies stipulate in their contracts that they get possession of all the debris after the job. So, make sure you negotiate with your contractors if you plan to keep some of the recyclable debris for yourself.

After that, any surrounded properties must be informed that the building will be demolished. The structure must be marked, and the time and place of the demolition must be announced publicly. These precautionary steps are taken to avoid collateral damage and any injury to passing motorists or pedestrians.

Once the structure is demolished, the site will be cleared. The debris will need to be sorted into recyclables and non-recyclables. This is where the risk assessments and prior identification of materials come in handy.

Demolition clean up is a long process, but with prior planning you could make it a lot easier for yourself and the workers. Additionally, by knowing what materials they’ll be dealing with in advance, they can plan ahead and limit their exposure to harmful substances like asbestos and lead paint.

Hopefully, you’ll see that commercial demolition is a complex job and that must be undertaken with caution. It’s important that you don’t rush the planning stage and collaborate with the contractors as much as possible. If you have further questions, be sure to contact your local demolition specialist.

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