The Intricacies of Manual Building Demolition

Manual building demolition is more than just slamming a wrecking ball into a building. There is a lot that must go into preparation before the building can be taken down.

The extent of what must be done to a building before it can be razed depends on many factors. These include but are not limited to the era in which the building was erected, what the building was used for and, of course, how large the building is. These measures are mostly in place to protect the surrounding structures and residents in the area or neighborhood.

If the building, for example, was used to house toxic substance harmful to people in any way, the building must be thoroughly decontaminated. Depending on the specific substance, consulting an industrial hygienist will determine the best means for breaking down the contamination residue.

The best means for chemical removal include water, dilute acids, dilute bases, and/or organic solvents. This is imperative to prevent mixing of incompatible chemicals, a huge risk to releasing noxious and harmful gas. This also protects the surrounding area from uncontrolled transportation of contaminants.

Another determining factor is when the building was erected. This has mostly to do with the prevalence of asbestos use in building material, along with many other chemical compounds throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Asbestos was used in building material from the Industrial Era right up to the 1970’s, when the EPA determined it highly carcinogenic.

Asbestos is actually not a threat when it sits dormant and untouched as building or pipe insulation. It was also very common in ceiling tiles and residential siding. However, when it is disturbed, its fibers are released into the air. When breathed in, these fibers can be very harmful to your lungs. It is the primary cause of mesothelioma, a cancer developing from cells in the protective lining that covers internal organs of the body.

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