What happens after the demolition process?

Created on:

September 19, 2022

You’ve hired a demolition company to tear down an old building. Now that all the wood, brick and stone has crumbled to the ground, you might be wondering what the demo team does with all the material. The post-demolition process can look different based on the materials that were demolished and the size of the building itself. Here is a step by step process of what happens after demolition. 

Construction and Demolition Materials

Construction and demolition (C&D) materials are the debris that gathers into piles within the demolition zone after the building has been knocked down. You also see C&D materials during renovations of commercial buildings, bridges, parks and residential buildings. C&D materials include: 

  1. Wood
  2. Concrete
  3. Asphalt
  4. Metals
  5. Bricks
  6. Glass
  7. Plastics

Anything that was used for the structure of the building is considered construction and demolition materials. Considering how many buildings and structures exist and have existed in the U.S., C&D materials can produce a lot of waste. Fortunately, The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promotes Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) to reduce the amount of waste in our landfills. 

Removing C&D Materials

When a demolition team has finished the job, the team will start to organize and categorize the materials into like items. Wood goes with wood. Concrete with concrete materials, etc. This helps with the disposal process. Demolition professionals will know exactly what to do and how to remove these materials from the property. They will also know how to salvage materials and recycle the materials for future construction. 

If you are watching the demolition process unfold, you can expect to see large equipment like excavators and bulldozers. Demolition teams may bring in more dump trucks and large equipment to carry away the C&D materials after the demolition. Removing the debris and materials oftentimes is the longest part of the demolition process. Sometimes it can take days to clean up depending on the size of the building and the materials being removed. 

Reusing C&D Materials

EPA completed a report in 2018 to track the amount of C&D materials generated, how much was directed for reuse and how much ended up in landfills. The study showed 600 million tons of construction and demolition materials were generated in the U.S. in 2018. Ninety percent of that material was from demolition, while the remaining 10 percent was from construction. Over 455 million tons of C&D materials were directed for reuse, leaving 155 million tons of debris in landfills across the country. 

Sustainable Materials Management has been working overall, but there are steps more demolition teams and companies can take to reduce the amount of waste in landfills. Demolition companies can practice SMM by: 

  1. Source Reduction - preserving existing materials that are already available on site
  2. Purchasing Agreements - prevent excess materials and packaging from arriving on site
  3. Salvaging Materials - recovering valuable and useful materials for reuse

Finishing the Demolition

Once the demolition team has salvaged and deconstructed the C&D materials, you might see heaps and piles of debris on the property. Demo professionals want to make sure to properly dispose and remove the material without being harmful to the environment. You might see piles of materials that are going to be reused and recycled. These materials include: 

  1. Brick, concrete slabs and masonry 
  2. Woodcut outs or scrap wood
  3. Easy to remove items like doors, fixtures, appliances
  4. Insulation and Gypsum
  5. Packaging materials

If the demolition company you hired to bring down the building is following SMM, you should be in good hands. Alliance Environmental Systems follows Sustainable Management Material practices during the demolition process. Our team is trained to salvage and recover materials for reuse. We try to minimize the amount of debris that ends up in landfills. Trust our team at Alliance Environmental Systems, and we can help you understand what happens after demolition.

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