Demolishing a building requires thorough research and careful orchestration. It is essential for demolition contractors to always consider the environmental safety and employee safety, or run the risk of losing their business licenses. Demolition experts, like general contractors, are required o follow the employee safety standards set by OSHA. Demolition companies must also adhere to EPA standards by using environmentally safe deconstruction methods. Asbestos and other hazardous construction materials, need to be removed safely before demolishing a building.
There are some forward-thinking demolition firms that not only meet government standards but exceed them and look for new and innovative ways to reuse building materials instead of sending them directly to a landfill. Commercial demolition experts have a unique perspective on the best ways to take down buildings. Therefore, there is a lot they can teach residential contractors when it comes to building methods, material selection and much more.
For residential builders, there is a definite cost-value to focus on eco-friendly issues, with the spike in demand for green construction from consumers that have taken place in recent years. Cradle-to-cradle methods of building that anticipate future green demolition can add points towards achieving LEED certification – which for earth-friendly building is the Holy Grail. The following tips are some of the most important things that industrial demolition experts recommend that residential builders consider.
Limit exposure to harmful chemicals
Residential building contractors are, of course, aware of the serious dangers of lead, asbestos, and other hazardous materials involved in home construction. None of these toxins are found in new houses, but residential contractors frequently get hired to perform retrofitting work so that an older house can be brought up to code. The following are some examples of hazards that are not illegal but potentially irritating that residential construction workers may run into while they are working on old buildings:
Synthetic mineral fibers (SMF). This refers to fibrous products that are made fiberglass, ceramic and rock wool. Studies that shown that SMFs are not as noxious as asbestos, and are therefore used in thermal and sound protection products still. The most common symptoms associated with SMF exposure are an irritation to the throat, nose, and eyes. However, some people question whether SMFs may also cause lung cancer since at times they contain fiberglass. Industrial demolition experts recommend that workers be required to wear protective clothing and respirators whenever it is possible they will come into contact with SMFs.
Wood dust containing formaldehyde. When inhaled, the wood dust might become stuck inside of the nasal passages, and it is believed to have caused nasal cancer in certain woodworkers. Particleboard and wood paneling contain the toxic formaldehyde substance sometimes. Whenever the wood is manipulated or cut, formaldehyde-laced dust gets sent into the air, which can pose a major risk for workers who are nearby. That is why it is recommended by demolition contractors that workers wear protective respiration gear whenever they are dealing with paneling and particleboard.
Lead paint. One frequently overlooked hazard is the dangers that are involved when torching steel beams that contain lead paint. Just cutting a couple of painted beams may expose the worker to very high airborne lead levels. OSHA requires workers in these cases to be provided with protective clothing, respirators, hand washing stations.
There are just a couple of materials that demolition companies need to carefully prepare for and monitor when you are taking a building down. OSHA has a comprehensive set of standards specifically for demolition procedures. If this is an area your team is not experienced or confident in, you should strongly consider contacting a commercial demolition professional and consult with them. An established demolition company will have extensive experience it taking buildings down from factories to air traffic control towers. These experts can offer unique insights into the best way to remove chemical hazards from the site.
Since the entire business of demolition companies is to create holes and tear things down, they are very aware of how important fall protection is. Whenever working around an open roof, open wall, or hole with a fall of more than 6 feet, usually demolition workers are required to have on full-body restraints. Those same hazards often are present throughout the construction phase also, and that means fall protection is as critically important for builders.
Recycling materials including steel and concrete
Green industrial demolition contractors are aware of what can be recycled from defunct buildings. That information can be very useful when residential buildings are choosing earth-friendly building materials for their projects. From the perspective of commercial demolition, the following materials can be recycled effectively upon demolition. Given how high disposal costs are currently, it often worth the cost to pay workers to separate these materials out.
Concrete. Tons of concrete can be derived from one demolition project. Fortunately, you can crush the concrete into gravel, which is a material that is in high demand for new building projects. There are some industrial demolition contractors that use huge, mobile concrete crushers that are able to process all of the concrete on-site very easily.
Steel. With the proper expertise and equipment, steel and other types of scrap metals may be processed to recycle into new products.
Beams and wood interior doors. Wooden posts, doors, and beams in good condition often can be reused, recycled or sold. Numerous architectural salvage companies that have an interest in these kinds of materials. You can recycle the wood if they are in poor condition.
Toilets and sinks. If these fixtures are in good condition an architectural salvage company can usually reclaim them. Otherwise, you can recycle porcelain materials with concrete, and stainless steel fixtures can go with other scrap metals to be recycled.
The two ends of the lifecycle of a building are construction and demolition. So it makes a lot of sense that the professionals from these two phases have plenty the can teach one other. Consider consulting with a demolition expert if your contracting team could use some new building knowledge.
PAW Demolition is a fully insured and licensed demolition company that serves Tampa and the greater Tampa Bay region and holds certifications for handling hazardous waste along with expensive experience working on LEED-certified green demolitions.
Have a demolition project you need assistance with? Contact PAW Demolition today!