Heavy Metal: Tips For Safely And Effectively Demolishing A Steel-Reinforced Building

The incredible load-bearing strength and durability of steel makes it an attractive material for construction purposes, and a wide variety of commercial, industrial and even residential buildings across Australia are constructed with large amounts of structural steel to add strength and sturdiness. However, while these formidable steel girders and panels are welcomed by builders and occupiers alike, they suddenly become a lot less welcome when the time comes to demolish a steel-reinforced building.

As you can imagine, buildings that make heavy use of structural steel can be highly resistant to traditional demolition methods. As such, when arranging the demolition of a steel-reinforced building, you should keep the following important questions in mind:

Does my chosen demolition company have the capability and equipment to demolish steel?

Many demolition companies have areas in which they specialise, from explosive demolition to safe asbestos removal, and choosing a demolition service that offers dedicated steel demolition services can save you a lot of future headaches. These services will possess the experience and know-how required to safely and rapidly tear down a steel-reinforced building, as well as the specialised equipment (such as hydraulic demolition shears designed to cut through girders) required to effect safe demolition.

How will the structural steel be disposed of?

Once upon a time, all the various bits and pieces of a building left behind after demolition would go straight to the landfill, but salvaging and reclaiming materials from demolition sites has become a popular and environmentally friendly way to build strong, inexpensive buildings.

Reclaimed structural steel is particularly valuable on the second-hand building material market, and selling your salvaged steel can significantly defray the costs of your demolition projects. Consequently, you should ensure that your demolition does not cause undue damage to your steel while the building is torn down.

Once again, choosing a demolition company specialising in steel demolition is the best way to achieve this. Many demolition services also offer their own dedicated salvage services for reclaiming your steel; this can be sold on the open market for cash, but many of these demolition/salvage services will give you an attractive cut on your demolition costs if they are allowed to reclaim your used steel, brick and concrete themselves. 

What condition will the ground be left in following demolition?

Buildings that make significant use of structural steel almost always require deep, sturdy concrete foundations to provide stability and strength at the base of the building. These foundations are generally left behind at the end of a demolition project, and you will have to decide what you want to do with them.

If you intend to reuse the foundations for the erection of a new building, be sure to inform your demolition company beforehand; that way, they can avoid causing undue damage to your foundations during the demolition process. However, many demolition companies can also excavate and remove your foundations if you want to return your land to bare earth. These services naturally cost an extra fee, but once again, these costs can be defrayed by giving your demolition company salvage rights to your foundations.