Demolition Safety Tips

demolition projects

The demolition of a building is something that must be taken seriously. If it is not done properly, bad things can happen. Not only to the people on the site, but the neighboring sites as well. While the idea of swinging a wrecking ball into a building to bring it down may seem exciting — it’s got to be done in the right way to happen safely. Check out the following demolition tips before you get started. And of course, if you need help, there is surely a professional demolition company in your neck of the woods.

Getting Started

It goes without saying, but we’ll mention it anyway. The first part of the demolition process is to double and triple check that the building has been cleared. This means removing all furniture and making sure that the utilities have been shut off. The last thing you want to do is discover after the demolition that something was missed beforehand.

What Can Be Used?

Many people don’t think about this when a building is demolished, but there is a good chance that the building contains pieces that can be recycled or reused. We’re talking about things inside the walls like copper wires or pipes.

It is possible these items can be reused. But even if they can’t, they can probably be sold to a nearby recycling business. This is a great way to recoup some of the expense of demolition. And there are other items that might be worth pulling out as well. Some examples might be an antique fireplace, tile, or glass windows. If you can remove any resale features by hand, we recommend doing so.

However, it can be a lot of work. This is why we also suggest doing a cost analysis on the materials that you think you can salvage. If it isn’t going to be worth it, don’t bother. The good news is that most buildings have 80 percent reusable materials that you can pull out before demolition begins.


Asbestos could become a big problem for you if you aren’t careful. Wikipedia tells us that “asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous silicate mineral. There are six types, all of which are composed of long and thin fibrous crystals, each fibre being composed of many microscopic “fibrils” that can be released into the atmosphere by abrasion and other processes.”

Wait, what?

For this discussion, what you need to know about asbestos is that it is an excellent electrical insulator and it is highly heat-resistant. This is why it was commonly used as a building material for many years. But now we know that it is a health risk and it is not legal for use in many countries. If inhaled, it can lead to lung conditions and cancer.


Demolishing a building without removing asbestos could bring you some big penalties. Make sure that doesn’t happen by obtaining a permit for asbestos removal. Or get help from a professional — don’t risk your health or the health of others if you aren’t sure how to handle asbestos. If you are taking this job on yourself, here are a few quick tips.

  • Safety Equipment — You’ll need a full-body suit to keep particles from getting on your skin and clothes. Plus, a high-quality breathing mask is a must to protect your lungs.
  • Air Flow — You will need to seal all openings in the room in order to create negative air flow to contain the particles and keep them from scattering into the air.
  • Be Careful — When handling asbestos material, be careful not to break any of them so you don’t release those fine particles into the air.

Lead Paint

Asbestos isn’t the only health hazard to be aware of before your demolition project. Many homes — especially older ones — can contain lead paint. The problem with lead paint is that it produces very fine dust that can be inhaled quite easily.

Breathing this substance in can cause lead poisoning which can be fatal. In non-lethal cases, it can cause permanent damage to your body. Lead poisoning is especially harmful to children. Plus, when it is not disposed of correctly, it puts the community at risk too. The dust can easily spread, putting anyone in the area at risk of breathing contaminated air.

There are no specific EPA regulations regarding lead-based paint and demolition work. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take every precaution that you can. In fact, you can take a training program offered by the EPA to learn more about how to complete your demolition safely.

The Wrecking Ball

When it comes to demolition, a wrecking ball is the first thing that comes to mind for a majority of people. But it is actually just about the end of the process. And it is just one of the potential dangers of the job.

When you are ready to actually bring the building down, you will need to make sure that the entire area is secure. This is necessary to prevent anybody who doesn’t know what is happening from being at the wrong place at the wrong time. With the risk of flying debris, everyone in the area should be wearing hardhats and other protective gear like boots or eye protection.

After you’ve knocked the building down, the site cleanup can begin. This can be a lot of work but is made pretty easy with the right equipment. Once that is done, you can prepare the site for a new and improved building to be erected in its place. Good luck!