Buildings can be knocked down in seconds, but months of careful planning go
into each demolition project to ensure nothing goes wrong. It falls on project
managers to mitigate a wide range of risks—from damage to neighboring structures to environmental hazards—and to ensure nothing delays the construction
phase that often follows.
;e Riviera Hotel and Casino’s Monte Carlo tower in Las Vegas, Nevada,
USA came down in one fell swoop last year as part of a US$42 million demolition project. But before that big moment, the project team had to remove
asbestos from inside and outside the building so no toxic particles would be
released during the implosion. And when a team in China’s Jiangxi province
knocked down a bridge last year, it completed the project in one weekend to
avoid disrupting Monday morning tra;c.
Demand for demolition projects like these will grow. ;ey’re part of a boom
in global construction, which is projected to increase 85 percent by 2030 as cities grow denser and taller, and regions replace aging infrastructure. Whether
they culminate in a spectacular blast or a slow dismantling, demolition projects
require leaders who know how to anticipate the worst. In the U.S. state of
Michigan, government o;cials in September said they will increase surprise
inspections of demolition sites to make sure workers aren’t exposed to hazardous materials. ;e discovery of contaminated soil or toxic materials also can
create costly delays, so project managers must craft contingency plans to brace
for known and unknown risks.
“Making sure that you have enough resources to handle all potential scenarios
is the most important thing for demolition projects,” says Percy Piper, projects
engineer and contracts manager, Jet Demolition, Johannesburg, South Africa.
READY FOR RUBBLE
Mr. Piper’s company reviews lessons learned from past projects against site-speci;c constraints to mitigate risks. ;e team that plans and manages the
project works closely with the demolition team to provide stakeholders with
accurate schedules and budgets that re;ect technical data as well as actual ;eld
During a six-month, ZAR18 million project in June to demolish a 15-story
building in Pretoria, South Africa, Mr. Piper’s team dedicated four months of
planning for a six-second implosion. A structural survey of the surrounding
implosion of a
building in Pretoria,