lems that can signi;cantly delay the launch of construction, Mr. Marchese says.
For instance, before starting the US$10 million demolition of a high-tech facility
in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, his team reviewed geotechnical reports to help con;rm
that no further soil testing would be required. Such soil testing would check for
contaminants that would require special handling, including solvents, hydrocar-
bons or pesticides. Projects also typically involve an environmental investigation
prepared by a geologist or environmental engineer, who provide any necessary site
remediation recommendations for the team.
“If you realize there is contaminated soil later, that’s when the delays start,” Mr.
Marchese says. “If you can ;gure that out prior to the project and set a realistic
schedule, it typically goes to plan.”
;e consequences of identifying contaminants can vary by region. For instance,
discovering contaminated soil in a desert climate would require a team to limit the
amount of dust raised during the demolition. Hiring a contractor certi;ed to work
with contaminants is important to protect workers and ensure the dust from the soil
is disposed of legally. Even though no contaminants were found during the Phoenix
project, contractors still sprayed the site with water during demolition to limit dust—a
critical mitigation task in a highly populated suburban area containing businesses and
homes. Proximity to neighbors also limited how fast the team could work. ;ey mini-
mized nighttime work to avoid the use of bright lights that might bother neighbors.
“In a perfect world, you work 365 days, 24 hours, in three shifts, but you have
to consider the noise you’ll create for people when they get home from work,” Mr.
Marchese says. “You really have to take a di;erent mindset when you’re around
a large population.”
Mr. Beaumont’s team took a similar risk mitigation approach on the Milburngate House project. After investigating ground contaminants and asbestos
removal from the site, his team also performed an ecological survey. ;at survey
found that part of the building could house bats, which were native to the area and
are a protected species in the U.K. So the team hired a quali;ed bat worker to be
on-site in case any bats had to be relocated prior to the demolition.
“As competent developers, we try to minimize ecological e;ects and improve
the biodiversity of the area,” Mr. Beaumont says.
In the end, the lesson is clear: Demolition project teams can’t a;ord surprises.
A careful review of the structure’s design, history and surroundings as well as the
overall construction project’s scope can go a long way toward preventing demolition projects from becoming a wreck. PM
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