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Pre-Demolition Inspection: What are the Most Important Factors to Consider?

December 4, 2018

Pre-demolition inspections take many shapes. There are papers and permits to fill, blank forms to fill in, and checklists to complete. Filling in the checklist, the foreman-in-charge is keeping the work personnel and the local community safe, assuming the project is located in a city, of course. There are danger signs to post, fences to erect, entrances and windows to board. Without further ado, let’s start with hazardous materials.

Eliminate Hazardous Materials

Asbestos is our first thought. Is there any asbestos on site? Following all relevant safety guidelines, hazardous materials are eliminated. Use an approved asbestos removal procedure.

Safely Isolate Power and Fuel Services

Turn off the electricity and gas, that’s the gist of this checklist entry. Fuel sources are cut, fuels and chemicals removed, and active plumbing services are disconnected. If an operational structure is still connected to those lines, other measures must be applied. Temporary branching lines and plugging connections are recommended when occupied structures are impacted by a services disconnection phase.

Carry Out a Pre-Demolition Walkthrough

The permits are piling up on the foreman’s desk, but he can’t allow himself to get tied down by mounds of paperwork. Coming out from behind this overburdened workspace, the foreman and inspection team pick up their clipboards and head for the demolition site. They take note of danger signs, security measures, safely disconnected services, and potential environmental hazards.

Assigning Engineer-Oriented Tasks

There’s more to the project than meets the eye. Below the floor, there are basement walls and load-bearing surfaces to map out on a demolition chart. If there are drainage systems down there, they need to be protected from falling bricks, which could clog an entire network, block-wide. Demolition sequences are next on the agenda, so there are hard choices to be made. Are there explosive charges to install? Does an adjacent property have a safety buffer? If the project is particularly difficult, a structural engineer can be recruited to mark off certain hazardous zones or to recommend wall shoring.

Structural damage can occur as demolition services get going. Perhaps it’s an old building, a site that’s about to be renovated. If the aging walls and supports are about to fail, it’s not a safe site to work inside. Demolition professionals keep a tight rein on such hazards. To combat their effects, temporary supports and scaffolds are installed. For walls, shoring is recommended. Demolition strategies take care of all such matters, thankfully. Armed with this plan, the team sequentially demolishes the target structure or a section of that structure. Hazardous materials, disconnected services and structural solutions, they all get their inked check marks, and then the project permits flow.

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