Finding the right demolition contractor for your project will help you save money. By knowing what to look for in a demolition contractor, you’ll know what questions to ask, ensuring that you and the contractor will be on the same page.
In this article, we’ve listed four broad categories that you should think about when hiring a demolition contractor for your next project. This information should help you find a contractor who works within your schedule and budget.
What Is Heavy Demolition?
Heavy demolition is a broad term, and it’s not used consistently throughout the industry. Broadly, heavy demolition has any (or all) of the following hallmarks:
- It’s used for complete demolition and for larger structures
- The use of heavy equipment, including wrecking balls
- The use of controlled explosives
This style of demolition is used on everything from bridges to malls. Some projects, like skyscrapers, benefit from a combination of heavy equipment and deconstruction (rather than demolition) techniques to take down the building floor by floor. The use of heavy equipment means these projects still fall under the heavy demolition umbrella.
Now that you have a clearer understanding of what heavy demolition is, we can explore some of the things you should look for in a heavy demolition contractor.
Licensing, Insurance, and Other Legal Requirements
All demolition requires licensing and permits, but many jurisdictions require special licensing and permits for heavy demolition. In particular, you can expect special permits to be required in some jurisdictions when:
- A building is large (often 3 stories or more)
- Explosives will be used
- Disruptions to local infrastructure are expected
Additionally, heavy demolition projects carry a greater risk. As such, some jurisdictions require higher levels of insurance and larger bonds for heavy demolition projects. When researching demolition companies, it’s important to ask them about their experience with heavy demolition in your area, and to ensure that they have the licenses and insurance necessary to conduct heavy demolition.
Project, Timeline, and Budget Management
There are two things on everyone’s mind when they hire a demolition contractor: How long is it going to take, and how much is it going to cost?
You should also be asking yourself how many people you’ll need to hire—in other words, you need to learn whether or not you’ll need to hire multiple contractors, or if the demolition contractor you hire will take care of all the work for you.
Look for contractors who present you with a detailed timeline and budget. Ideally, they should present you with best, average, and worst case scenario timelines and budget. They’ll also tell you which elements of the project you’re responsible for (cleanup, utilities, etc.), and which parts they’re responsible for.
Ideally, you’ll find a demolition contractor with years of experience in demolition project management, and they’ll handle every element of the project on your behalf.
Green Demolition and Sustainable Practices
Governments at the federal, state, and municipal levels may encourage you to find green demolition methods. They may even provide financial incentives for this type of demolition.
There are several different sustainable practices, from the reuse of materials to the deconstruction (rather than complete demolition) of the building. Green practices also include techniques to reduce contamination through pollutants; dust control and techniques to stop waterborne contaminants should be used.
You can also check for companies that use locally sourced materials in their demolition. These materials may be used to build protective barriers like shelter platforms to keep civilians safe. They may also be used to build scaffolding, and perform other tasks necessary in certain demolition work.
Client Testimonials, References, and OSHA’s Database
There are a host of other important considerations when hiring a demolition company. These include:
- The company’s safety record
- Its customer service
- Its track record of success
Some of these things can be difficult to evaluate at first glance. One of the easiest ways to find this information is by looking at client testimonials and references. These should give you a better idea of the company’s competency, strengths, and weaknesses.
We also recommend using OSHA’s database to learn more about the company’s safety record. You can check its record within a given date range and find any inspections and violations that may have occurred.
By learning about licensing requirements, whether or not the contractor will hire other contractors to complete their work, the green techniques used by the contractor, and their safety record and customer service record, you can protect your investment and get the most out of your demolition project. These are all important details; don’t be afraid to ask questions, and learn as much as you can before you hire a heavy demolition contractor!