Demolition of a building is a thoroughly researched and carefully orchestrated project. Demolition contractors need to be conscientious about both environmental safety and employee safety or risk the loss of their business licenses. Demolition experts, like general contractors, must follow OSHA standards to keep employees safe. Demolition companies also are required to follow EPA standards that guide using environmentally safe deconstruction methods. Before a building is able to be demolished, hazardous construction materials, like asbestos, have to be removed safely first.
There are some future-focused demolition companies that adhere to the strict standards imposed by the government and are developing new innovative methods for reusing old building materials, instead of sending them directly to a landfill. Since they have a unique perspective on the best way to take buildings down, there is a lot that residential contractors are able to glean from seasoned commercial demolition experts about building methods, material selection, and much more.
Focusing on lessons of demolition that are eco-friendly definitely have a cost savings available to residential builders, as there has been an increased demand for green construction from consumers. Cradle-to-cradle building methods where green demolition in the future are anticipated can contribute points towards LEED certification, which for earth-friendly building is the Holy Grail. The following are some of the most important things that industrial demolition contractors recommend that residential builders consider.
Limit exposure to any potentially dangerous chemicals
Residential building contractors, of course, are aware that hazardous materials such as lead and asbestos can be very dangerous in the home construction process. These toxins are not contained in new homes, but residential contractors are often hired to do retrofitting work in order to bring an older house up to code. The following are a couple of examples of not illegal but irritating hazards that residential construction workers might encounter when working on an older building:
Synthetic mineral fibers (SMF). Those fibrous products are made out of rock wool, fiberglass, and ceramic. It has been found in studies that compared to asbestos, SMFs are not as noxious. They are used still in thermal and sound protection products. However, SMF exposure can result in symptoms such as irritation to the throat, nose, and eyes. There is also some question about whether SMFs might cause lung cancer, do to containing fiberglass sometimes. It is recommended by industrial experts that workers be required to wear protective clothing and respirators any time it is possible that they may come into contact with SMF.
Wood dust that contains formaldehyde. When inhaled, the wood dust may become stuck inside the nasal passages. It is believed to have caused nasal cancer in some woodworkers. Sometimes there is formaldehyde, which is a toxic substance, contained in particleboard and wood paneling. Whenever the wood is cut or manipulated in some way, dust laced with formaldehyde gets sent into the air, which can pose major risks for workers who are nearby. That is why demolition contractors recommend that protective respiration gear be worn anytime paneling and particleboard are being dealt with.
Lead paint. A hazard that is often overlooked is dangers that come with torching steel beams that contain lead paint. Cutting a couple of painted beams may exposed builders to off the charts levels of airborne lead. In those situations, it is required by OSHA that workers be provided with hand-washing stations, protective clothing, and respirators.
Those are just some of the materials that need to be carefully monitored and prepared for by demolition companies when they take down a building. OSHA actually as a complete set of demolition procedure standards. If this is an area that your team is not confident in, you should consult with a commercial demolition expert. An established demolition company has extensive experiencing in taking down a wide range of buildings from factories to traffic control towers. Their experts are able to provide unique insights into the best method for removing chemical hazards from a site.
Since demolition companies spend a lot of time creating holes and tearing up things, they are very aware of how important fall protection is. When working around an open roof, open wall, or any hole with a fall that is greater than 6 feet, typically demolition workers are usually required to wear full-body restraints. During the construction stage, those same hazards often are present also, which means it is just as important that builders have fall protection.
Recycling materials such as steel and concrete
Industrial green demolition contractors understand what materials can be recycled from an old defunct building. That information can be very useful when earth-friendly building materials are being selected by residential builders. From the perspective of commercial demolition, the following materials can be recycled upon demolition effective. With disposal expenses being so high, it often can be worth it to pay labor costs to separate them out.
Concrete. Tons of concrete can be yielded by one demolition project. Fortunately, the concrete can be crushed into gravel, which is a material that is in high demand for new building projects. Some industrial demolition contractors might use large, mobile concrete crushers to process all of the concrete on-site very easily.
Steel. With the right expertise and equipment, steel, as well as other scrap metals, may be recycled into new products.
Beams and interior doors. Wood beams, posts, and doors that are in good condition may often be reused or sold - there are many architectural companies that have an interest in those kinds of materials. The wood may be recycled if their condition to too poor to be reused.
Toilets and sinks. If they are still in good conditions, usually the fixtures can be reclaimed by the architectural salvage company. If not, porcelain models may be recycled along with concrete, and stain steel fixtures may be recycled with scrap metals.
Demolition and construction are the two ends of the lifecycle of a building. Therefore, it makes sense that those who are responsible for each of these phases have plenty to teach one another. Consider getting knowledge from a demolition expert like PAW Demolition if your contracting team could use some additional building knowledge.