Building demolition contractors have their own set of terms and definitions for the services they provide and the tools they use. The glossary below will help you better understand the terms used by the building demolition service you’ve hired.
The list below is just a sampling of terms you may encounter as part of a building demolition project. As with any construction service, ask your demolition contractor for an explanation or better description of any services, materials, equipment or terms you do not understand.
Bridge removal is often accomplished through a combination of explosive demolition, controlled demolition and manual demolition.
commercial demolition services
Commercial buildings such as shopping malls and shopping centers, stores, office buildings, high-rise commercial facilities and public buildings require different demolition tactics than residential demolition. Commercial demolition may include salvage and recycling services for materials within the commercial buildings, and usually use explosives and controlled demolition tactics to bring down buildings quickly and easily.
Also known as: commercial demolition, high-rise demolition, store demolition, shopping center demolition services, public building demolition services
Controlled demolition is a is carefully planned explosive demolition process that brings down buildings within their own footprint. Controlled demolition is often used in the removal of commercial buildings and large buildings that are in close proximity to other structures.
Also known as: explosive demolition, tight-space building demolition
Taking a building apart carefully to preserve building materials and contents that can be recycled or reused. This is a modern approach to demolition, and it can be a much greener or eco-friendly choice.
Also known as: tearing down, building deconstruction services
Demolition is the complete destruction, tearing down or razing of a building or structure. Demolition is commonly used to remove old or dangerous structures, or clear room for a new building or structure.
Also known as: building demolition, building destruction, building removal, structure demolition
demolition by neglect
The destruction of buildings or structures through abandonment or lack of maintenance. Buildings that have been demolished by neglect usually need to be pulled down or completely demolished by a demolition service, as only some areas of a building may come down on their own. Some old homes, old industrial buildings or manufacturing facilities are allowed to self-demolish if they are in areas that will not impact neighbors or the property values of others. However, the buildings should be checked for toxic materials to ensure no dangerous materials leach into the ground and contaminate the soil or groundwater.
Also known as: demolish by neglect, building neglect, neglected building collapse
Demolition plans are comprehensive plans designed to systematically and safely raze and remove old buildings. Demolition plans are especially important when the buildings that are to be demolished are in close proximity to other buildings, have attached structures that are not to be demolished, contain potentially hazardous materials, or have items that can be reused or recycled.
Also known as: demolition directive, plan for building demolition
Building demolitions that use of explosives are called “explosive demolitions.” Explosive building demolition is usually in the form of controlled demolition, where explosives are carefully set to implode buildings into their own existing footprint. Explosive demolition is fast, with buildings taking only a few moments to fall after the explosives have been set and triggered.
Also known as: explosion demolition, building demolition using explosives, controlled demolition
Green demolition services minimize the ecological impact of building demolition. Most green demolition services reuse, recycle and/or salvage reusable materials from inside the building prior to razing it. Green demolition may be used for industrial buildings and buildings that contain hazardous or potentially hazardous materials.
Also known as: eco-friendly demolition, demolition salvage, old building salvage, salvaged building recycling
Gut-out services, also known as gut-outs, do not destroy buildings. Instead, gut-outs are internal building demolition in which only the inside of the buildings are torn out. Gut-outs are popular for older homes, industrial buildings, commercial buildings, shopping centers and public buildings that are structurally sound but have aging interiors. Gut-outs are usually less expensive than complete building demolition.
Also known as: gut-outs, building gutting, interior demolition, interior gutting
Hydraulic excavators are machines used to remove single- or two-story buildings. Most often, demolition contractors use hydraulic excavation to pull down the building in a controlled manner to preserve the buildings and area around the old building.
Also known as: hydraulic machinery, building removal excavators, building demolition excavators
high reach demolition
Demolition for tall buildings with multiple stories is known as high reach demolition. This method usually uses wrecking balls, high-reach excavators, shear attachments and hydraulic hammers. High reach demolition is typically done in buildings where explosive demolition isn’t possible.
Also known as: high rise demolition, demolition of high rise buildings, multi-story building demolition, tall building demolition
Old industrial buildings can be torn down using industrial demolition techniques such as explosive demolition, deconstruction or controlled demolition. Many industrial buildings are good candidates for deconstruction, where reusable machinery or recyclable materials are removed from the building prior to complete demolition.
Also known as: industrial building demolition, industrial building removal
Demolition of interior structures within a building is known as an interior demolition or gut out. This leaves the exterior of the building intact, so that the interior can be completely replaced. Interior demolitions are a popular choice for property managers and commercial building owners of buildings that are good structural shape, but are outdated or in need of complete interior overhauls.
Also known as: interior building demolition, gut outs
Setting explosives carefully to destroy a building through implosion using explosives. Implosion is a poplar way to destroy and remove large buildings, smokestacks, chimneys, grain elevators, high rise buildings and other tall or large buildings. Implosion must be done by a skilled contractor because of the risk of damage to surrounding buildings. Building implosion experts can ensure that a building falls back into its own footprint, and does not damage neighboring buildings.
Also known as: building implosion, controlled implosion
All types of demolition that do not require explosives are considered non-explosive demolition. This may be accomplished through use of a wrecking ball, cranes and other large equipment. Non-explosive demolition is relatively less expensive and easy compared to explosive demolition. Some pre-demolition work, such as knocking down the overall height of a building before demolition can be considered non-explosive demolition, even if explosives are used in the final steps of building removal or razing.
Also known as: wrecking ball demolition, mechanical demolition, quiet demolition services
House demolition services are tear-downs of homes or residential buildings. Demolition contractors who provide residential demolition services are usually able to remove homes from close-quarter neighborhoods and rural areas with the same ease. House demolition may be performed using controlled demolition, explosive demolition or deconstruction in order to preserve other homes and buildings near the area.
Also known as: house demolition, house razing, residential building razing
Removing reusable items from buildings before demolition, and taking out demolished materials that can be recycled is known as building salvage.
Also known as: building salvage, salvaged building materials, green building demolition
Buildings that do not need to be completely demolished are often good candidates for selective demolition. This process prepares existing structures for rebuilding, renovation, complete overhaul, or even additions.
Also known as: partial demolition
In areas where dust needs be controlled, a wet demolition may be the preferred method of knocking down an old building. Typically, a wet demolition is accomplished by using a fire hose to wet down the building before and during demolition. Bulldozers are often used for the actual demolition, and loaders take out the waste materials.
Also known as: damp demolition, dust-free building demolition
A metal ball attached by a chain to a crane, used in building demolition, is known as a wrecking ball. Wrecking balls aren’t used as often as they once were, due to the difficulty in aiming them correctly. The uncontrolled movement is a safety hazard and can damage nearby buildings. Wrecking balls may still be used in some demolition jobs, especially those that need to have plaster removed from buildings or those that need to be brought down to a lower height before they can be removed with a crane or other equipment.
Also known as: crane mounted demolition balls
Read moreRead less