A lot of the industry advice out there in the concrete world focuses on concrete creation and installation, and it’s easy to see why. After all, concrete is among the most common construction materials in the world, praised for its accessibility and durability. Even with all this said, there are still reasons why you may need concrete demolishing. Perhaps a previous installation was done poorly and needs to be taken down to be redone. Sometimes a structure is simply being removed, and the concrete needs to be taken apart with it. In either event, it’s important that concrete professionals heed some of the following tips for demolishing concrete slab and other concrete components.
Know Your Methods of Concrete Demolishing
Whether we are talking about demolishing concrete stairs or an entire structure, there are a lot of different methods on how to actually get the job done. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the main options on the table:
- -Pressure Burst: This is ideally suited for situations where you need a quiet and dust-free removal. Holes are drilled into concrete and force is applied. For mechanical pressure bursting, this is done with a hydraulic machine, while a slurry that expands is used for chemical bursting.
- -Pneumatic/Hydraulic Breakers: This is generally used for demolition projects like foundation and pavement. In these cases, machine mounted breakers are used to demolish the concrete, often controlled remotely.
- -Ball and Crane: One of the oldest methods, this is the classic “wrecking ball.” As a note, though, this should only be performed by skilled operators, and you may need to do added work to cut down steel reinforcement for concrete. This also creates a lot of noise and dust.
- -Dismantling: Saws, thermal lances, and high-speed water jets can be used to break down pieces of concrete. These are useful because they can demolish a structure with minimal dust, noise, or environmental impact.
- -Explosives: Best used to remove large amounts of concrete, these explosives are inserted inside defined boreholes to break the structure apart into smaller components. While there’s a lot of flexibility, there’s also a risk to nearby structures and heavy safety regulations.
Do Your Research On What You Need First
This manifests in a few different ways. For any concrete demolition job, you want to start by making sure you have the appropriate demolition permits. These permits are given by the local government, and generally give said local government the means to examine the work area for the sake of public safety. This also lets them look for other concerns like environmental issues. An engineering survey is also required to determine the possibility of unplanned collapse.
If you’re not demolishing a structure that you built yourself, it’s also important that you invest in ground penetrating radar (GPR). If you don’t have access to the original blueprints, you may not know what’s underneath the concrete you plan to demolish. GRP allows you to scan areas behind walls and underground that could represent a potential health hazard.
Keeping Safe During Demolition
These steps help ensure some level of safety, especially to the structure and people around the work area, but there’s added work that you need to do during the actual demolition project as well. This starts with daily pre-job meetings with your team. Make sure to emphasize the fundamentals of safety and proper equipment use. For example, the vast bulk of hand tool injuries happen when the wrong tool is used for a given job. Make sure that you have the exact equipment for what you need.
Another major concern in demolition work is falling debris. Obviously, this isn’t likely to be an issue for a concrete slab, but for a wall or other structure. You should be aware of it. Get in the habit of clearing all unneeded personnel from the area before work starts.
Have A Disposal Plan
After you demolish concrete, disposal should be your next concern. Most of the time, this will entail bringing the concrete to a landfill. You can either do this yourself, rent a dumpster, or hire a junk removal company to do the job, depending on the amount of concrete that you need to get rid of and the equipment at your disposal. For example, if you were simply demolishing a concrete wall in a small structure, you may be able to get away with putting the remaining pieces in a truck to haul to the landfill. Of course, if you were breaking up multiple slabs or a large driveway, you would need some additional equipment.
Something else that should be mentioned is the concept of recycling concrete. This is growing in popularity both for ecological concerns as well as costs. You can save the costs of both transporting and disposing of concrete this way. Recycling concrete entails generally using old concrete and crushing it into a new aggregate with a specific size and quality. What happens next depends on how it’s used. For new concrete, it will likely be mixed with virgin aggregate. However, it can work on its own as a sub-base layer if needed.
Always Work Towards More Efficiency
Successful and safe concrete destruction is always important, but you should also be working on ways to make the process more efficient. This is done in a few different ways, from lowering the amount of time you spend working on a given demolition job to making sure that you give appropriate bids to make the right amount of profit. The only way to do this is to have a proper record of all your previous work demolishing concrete, and that comes with project management software like eSub.
From being able to compare bids and actuals easily to helping track equipment usage and man-hours, our software is essential for helping concrete companies be more efficient in just about everything they do. In addition, our modular style means that you can focus on only buying what you need, rather than investing in a bloated software package.