Demolition of buildings: history, methods and record holders


When buildings are demolished, the materials used to build strong homes, offices and recreation spaces are torn apart. These building materials are chosen specifically to withstand extreme weather conditions and remain in place for many decades, but some buildings are deliberately removed before they can stand the test of time.

There are many reasons why a building may need to be demolished. According to the review Energy policy, old buildings are often targeted for demolition because they require too much maintenance. To increase their value, other properties can be partially demolished and rebuilt to expand them. In other cases, a building is considered unsafe. Foundations may be faulty or built with unsafe materials, depending on the asbestos removal and demolition company Total. These materials include Mercury, carry out or asbestos for insulation – a natural mineral that can damage the lungs when inhaled.

Properties are constantly being built and removed to make way for new layouts, better construction and modern architecture. But, some old buildings are preserved as an important part of history. Private organizations and local governments can decide not to demolish a building if it can be proven to have historical significance, the newspaper says. Nations and Nationalism.

When permission is granted, today’s technology can see skyscrapers fall from position in seconds, transforming the aesthetics of a landscape and allowing new features to be built.

The preparation process

Demolition danger sign

Only experts are allowed on site during the building demolition process. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Before putting a building on the ground, the structure and the surroundings must be analyzed, according to the International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Advanced Engineering. Demolition can be a dangerous process when the necessary steps are not followed.

First, a building is inspected. Experts note the materials that were used in the construction of all areas, the method used to construct it, and the location of all nearby buildings and communities. According to the UK health and safety director website, all hazardous materials, such as flammable or radioactive materials are removed prior to demolition to make the process as safe as possible.

Then, a demolition plan is finalized. This includes the method that will be used based on construction materials and size, as well as the logistics and cleaning process, depending on the International Journal of Advanced Engineering and Research Development. A large area will need to be cordoned off if explosives are used and prior warning should be given to nearby residents.

Common demolition methods

building demolition

Small buildings are usually dismantled piece by piece. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Some buildings only require selective demolition, while others require total demolition. According to demolition experts Prudhoe’s Thompsons, selective demolition means that only specific features of the building are removed. It could be an older section of a building or faulty parts. The other sections are not affected. Meanwhile, total demolitions involve the removal of entire structures. The land can be used for other purposes and allows the restructuring of a community.

In some cases, only the interior elements of a building are removed, such as its walls and ceilings, as part of the demolition process. This provides more room inside to reallocate space or replan the layout.

During deconstruction and dismantling operations, a building is dismantled section by section, and its materials can then be reused. Perhaps the most satisfying method of demolition involves explosives. Targeting structural parts of the building, explosives such as dynamite can bring down entire high-rise buildings almost instantly.

Impressive implosions

How are explosives used to send buildings crashing to the ground?

Highest fall

In November 2020, Modon Properties’ 540-foot (165-meter) tall Mina Plaza building in Abu Dhabi rushed to the ground. By collapsing, it became the tallest building to be demolished using explosives, according to the Guinness World Records. The Mina Plaza was made up of four buildings, rising 144 stories into the sky. The implosion process of this building took only ten seconds, performed at 0.25 second intervals.

To ensure safety during demolition, an area with a radius of 3,600 feet (1,100 meters) was severed. This exclusion zone limited the danger of flying debris. The space previously occupied by the towers will be used to create a large commercial tourist area.

How have the techniques evolved?

wrecking ball demolition

These north London flats have been dismantled with a wrecking ball. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Removing buildings from the horizon can be useful for rearranging and removing dangerous structures. However, at the beginning of the demolition of buildings, it was mainly a military tactic. During military advances, as early as 1069, an enemy settlement could be destroyed by firing weapons into walls, according to demolition specialists 3D demolition.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the use of building demolition as a service beneficial to communities grew significantly. In the 1960s, the use of wrecking balls reached its peak. It involves swinging a giant steel ball at the side of buildings from a crane. According to Smithsonian Magazine, wrecking balls are less commonly used today because control of the swinging ball is limited. The first attempt to demolish a building by explosion dates back to 1773 and, although it still takes place today, the most common method is deconstruction. This is generally the safest technique.

mechanical demolition

Additional Resources

You can read other interesting facts about demolition at Demolition Specialists RKS website. Additionally, you can learn more about the choice between demolition and reuse by visiting the UK Green Building Council website.


Does demolishing or renovating old and inefficient homes help increase our environmental, social and economic sustainability?“. Energy Policy (2008).

The State and historical monuments: preserving ‘the national past’‘”. Nations and Nationalism (2017).

Demolition of buildings: ground to earth important as construction“. International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Advanced Engineering (2013).

Building Demolition – An Overview“. International Journal of Advanced Engineering and Research Development (2014).


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