In the Summer of 2020, the Los Angeles Museum of Art began demolishing four buildings. While many might view demolition as the end of something, in reality, it’s often the beginning of something new. In the place of these buildings, the MoA will put new buildings up, allowing them to better serve the people of Los Angeles.
When most people think of demolition services, they only think about the large pieces of machinery tearing a building down. It looks chaotic to the untrained eye, but in reality, it’s a carefully planned process that requires hours of consideration and preparation.
Taking down a structure is only one part of the process of demolition services. There are also environmental concerns, safety issues, and governmental regulations. This is why it’s imperative to choose the right company to help you through this process.
Read here to learn more about the demolition process. We’ll discuss what the process involves, when you may need these services, and how to find the right company for your needs.
The Demolition Process
Every building is different, making every demolition unique. Demolition specialists have to consider every part of the process before the project begins, from the inside of the building getting demolished to the structures around the target.
Any mistake in the process can lead to severe property damage, lawsuits, governmental interference, and rising costs.
For this reason, every part of the following process plays a special role, and any company you choose to use should follow these steps.
Getting Government Approval
In California, tearing down a building is easier said than done, even if you own the building and the land that it sits on.
First, you have to do an environmental study to make sure that your demolition project won’t cause any damage to any protected animals or environments, like wetlands. Even if you don’t know of any at-risk areas or animals around your building, you have to consider runoff, dust, and other factors.
You’ll also need to make sure your building isn’t a historical landmark and that its destruction won’t have a negative impact on the surrounding area.
You’ll have to get inspectors to look over everything and approve your demolition to get the permits necessary to begin your project. If you don’t use a professional company, this can take a long time and cost a lot of money.
Chances are high that there are things in your old building that you’ll need to store somewhere else. There’s also a good chance that you’ll have important documents and sensitive information to either move to a new location or destroy.
You’ll want to take care of these things before the process gets too involved. Remove everything in the building that you can, as this also makes surveying the building easier. Remember, the more you can do early in the process, the easier everything will go.
While going through the permitting process, you can start the planning process. There are two types of surveys you’ll need, with the first being the building.
The first thing we will look at will be the type of construction materials. This will let a company know what type of equipment they need to take the building down. The use of the building will also play a major factor in how the process plays out.
During this phase, we’ll also see if there are hazardous or radioactive materials or toxic chemicals present. We’ll also determine if there are any buildings connected to the target structure and look at the surrounding area so that the process minimizes the impact on other businesses or residents.
We’ll also have to find out more information about the structure itself. How was it constructed? Have there been any changes made over the years? The idea of this stage is to check the overall condition of the building. We’ll look for underground tanks or vaults as well to verify the integrity of the structure.
This is essential for both the actual demolition and the safety of the workers. Once these two surveys happen, we’ll know exactly what needs to happen next.
Removing Hazardous Material
One way that HCI stands apart from our competition is that we are a full-service environmental team. We offer several types of remediation services, meaning we’re able to handle hazardous materials.
Hazardous materials could include biological and chemical waste, but it can also include things like asbestos, lead, and electronic waste. These items need to get taken out of a building before the demolition process begins.
One of the biggest issues with these hazardous materials is that they can stick around and affect an area for decades. Certain materials can make their way into the soil and contaminate a site or groundwater, making it dangerous for future workers or residents when a new building goes up on that site.
Hazards like asbestos and mold spread easily through the air, making a demolition site akin to a bomb going off. Mold and asbestos can linger in the air and affect anyone that they come in contact with. The demolition process releases the spores and fibers into the air, meaning that without the proper knowledge and care, you could make people sick.
Our team will go in and remove all forms of waste before the demo begins, keeping our team and your neighbors safe.
Developing a Safety Plan For The Demo
Demolition sites are dangerous for everyone involved. There are a lot of moving parts involved, including heavy equipment, dozens of workers, tons of debris, dust, and other hazards.
If a crew isn’t careful or experienced, things can quickly go south for those working at or around the demolition site. While we take every step possible to eliminate any materials that could cause our workers harm, and we also verify that the utilities aren’t on, there are still risks that we have to take into account.
We’ll develop a safety plan before the demo begins that looks at all possibilities and mitigates risk as much as possible. Since we’re fully licensed and insured, you may think that this process is to protect us, but it protects you as well; or more specifically, your budget.
Any slowdown in demolition can cause costs to rise. You’re trying to get rid of a structure, meaning you don’t want that building to cost you more than necessary. Our plan is more than how to prevent something from going wrong. It’s also a blueprint of what to do if something goes wrong so that we can keep our client on budget.
Determining The Best Demolition Methods
One of the most important parts of doing a job is making sure that you have the right tools. Because we’re one of Southern California’s largest remediation firms, and since we have a wide variety of services, we have more equipment available to us than most other companies.
We’ll look at everything we’ve learned up to this point and figure out what equipment we need to get the job done as fast and safe as possible. We’ll also work out what type of manpower we need to do the job right the first time.
We’ll have backup equipment and teams on hand in case there’s an undiscovered environmental risk. By developing a backup plan before we need one, we’re able to save our client's money and keep their budget on track.
The Demolition Stage
During this process, we’ll tear down the structure safely, informed by the information we’ve gathered until this point. The time this takes depends on the size of the structure, the type of building material, the risks we’ve identified, and other factors.
During this stage, we’ll do everything possible to limit the inconvenience caused to those around the building, and will work as fast as we can while keeping safety at the forefront of what we do.
This is the part of the process that most people think of, and no one ever thinks about what happens afterward. During a professional demolition though, this is only the beginning of the work that’s needed.
After the demolition, there’s going to be a lot of debris and building materials left at the site. This stuff has to go somewhere, and you don’t want an inexperienced company handling this for you.
Remember that if you demolish a building, you’re responsible for every part of the demo, including the cleanup. If someone gets hurt or there’s environmental damage from the materials left over, the city and state could hold you responsible.
During this phase, it’s easy to lose focus, but the reality is that the cleanup phase is just as important as the teardown itself.
We’ll determine if you need to level terrain or fill in a foundation. We’ll also remove all the debris and waste from the demolished structure and ensure that there were no hazardous spills.
The proper disposal of the debris is an important part of any cleanup. We do everything in our power to reduce the amount of waste from the project by recycling as much as possible. Whatever we can’t recycle, we’ll dispose of in the cleanest and safest way we can.
We have an entire fleet of vehicles to transport the waste to a fully licensed and insured waste-management facility. Because of our industry-leading standards and internal audit system, we’re able to minimize risk and maximize the value you receive for your money.
Reasons To Use Demolition Services
Demolition might seem like a radical step, but there are legitimate reasons to tear down a building and start anew. When you use the right company, demolition may even save you money long-term. Here are some of the reasons you may need a commercial demolition team.
Your Building is Past Its Shelf Life
Every building has a design life, which is the amount of time it should last without requiring major repairs to keep it functional. Once it passes that time, it will start to become more expensive to keep up.
Once maintenance costs start to become overbearing, you may decide that it’s best to start over. Something like a foundation that’s falling apart will often cost more money to repair than the demolition itself. After the demo, you can build a new structure that lasts longer, is more energy-efficient, and that attracts new clients, residents, or businesses that lease space from you.
In this case, you’ll save long-term and increase your business image with a new building. Getting rid of your old building and building a new one will show that your business is both financially healthy and that it’s looking into the future.
Your Building Has a Problem With Hazardous Material
There are several types of hazardous material issues that could cause your old building to become non-salvageable. One of the more serious issues is finding out that your building has an asbestos problem. Asbestos can cause an aggressive form of cancer known as Mesothelioma, putting lives at risk and putting you at risk for a lawsuit.
Having a mold issue is another concern. Mold spreads easily through spores and can have negative health effects, especially for those with sinus issues and allergies. Older buildings also tend to have problems with lead paint, which can be fatal.
Remediation services can help, but in some cases fixing the problem will cost more than the demolition itself.
Our company has experience dealing with both remediation and demolition, so if you call us to inspect your building, we can give you an honest and informed opinion and quote for both services. We can handle both partial and complete demolitions as well, giving you the information and options you need to make the best decision.
An Old Property on New Land
If you buy a lot for a new business, you might find that there are pre-existing structures with structural damage on it. If this is the case, you’re often better off demolishing the existing structure instead of trying to repurpose it.
Often, you can find land for cheap if there’s already a structure on there that isn’t usable. These lands have discounts because they know that you’ll have to demolish a structure. When you factor in taxes over the lifetime of a new structure, you often save enough to pay for both the demolishment and a good portion of the new building.
Making Your Building More Suitable For Future Use
Economies change over time, and recently they change much quicker than they used to. You may find that a structure that served a purpose fifteen years ago is no longer suitable to the needs of consumers or residents today.
With commercial or residential demolition services, you can create a new space that meets the needs of your clients while giving you long-term financial benefits.
Maybe the city of Los Angeles decided to target your area for economic recovery, and now more people are moving into the neighborhood. If your building only has 15 apartments and targeted middle-class families, it will be hard to expand without a demolition.
We can demolish your building so that you can build a new residential complex that targets higher-income residents. You can expand to 30 high-end apartments and triple your income.
Commercial demolition services can also help you change your development to meet new needs. Let’s say a large company such as Amazon wants to use land that you own. To meet their needs, you’ll need to clear your land so that they can build a fulfillment center. When that happens, you need a business with experience that can work fast.
You may also want to develop or expand a parking lot, turn your plot of land into a charging station or solar energy field, or pivot your land into another use. Demolition services can help you achieve all these goals so that you can take advantage of future trends.