Project Management

Before the Blast - Precision Demolition Projects

Ambreen Ali

Buildings can be knocked down in seconds, but months of careful planning go into each demolition project to ensure nothing goes wrong. It falls on project managers to mitigate a wide range of risks—from damage to neighboring structures to environmental hazards—and to ensure nothing delays the construction phase that often follows.

The Riviera Hotel and Casino’s Monte Carlo tower in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA came down in one fell swoop last year as part of a US$42 million demolition project. But before that big moment, the project team had to remove asbestos from inside and outside the building so no toxic particles would be released during the implosion. And when a team in China’s Jiangxi province knocked down a bridge last year, it completed the project in one weekend to avoid disrupting Monday morning traffic.

Demand for demolition projects like these will grow. They’re part of a boom in global construction, which is projected to increase 85 percent by 2030 as cities grow denser and taller, and regions replace aging infrastructure. Whether they culminate in a spectacular blast or a slow dismantling, demolition projects require leaders who know how to anticipate the worst. In the U.S. state of Michigan, government officials in September said they will increase surprise inspections of demolition sites to make sure workers aren’t exposed to…

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