(502) 589-5795 RickP@cemg.com


Every successful project begins with educating the customer about the process. Although demolition appears to be simple on the outside, in reality it is a complicated and dangerous undertaking. The team of experts at Cardinal Demolition will walk you through.

What exactly is Demolition?

Demolition is a complex set of tasks involving structural dismantlement, site clearance, environmental remediation, salvage, recycling, and industrial recovery.​

Demolition is a highly sophisticated craft which involves the use of hydraulic equipment with specialized attachments, cranes, loaders, wrecking balls and in some cases, explosives.

Industrial Demolition vs. Commercial Demolition

Industrial demolition is the dismantlement of structures or facilities used in the production of goods. This work can be done at chemical plants, oil refineries, manufacturing facilities and the like. It often involves the environmental remediation of hazardous substances that were part of the industrial process and potentially contaminated the site. Industrial demolition can be a complex undertaking involving sophisticated engineering, specialized rigging, and complex industrial hygiene requirements.

Commercial demolition is the partial or complete dismantlement of commercial properties such as office buildings, shopping malls, hotels and the like.

What is Mechanical Demolition?
The most common method for commercial demolition is the kind performed with heavy machinery, like excavators, bulldozers, wire rope pulls, wrecking balls, etc., as well as impressive technology for accuracy and safety. This equipment requires highly qualified professionals and can create quite the mess and noise. Dust, vibrations, airborne debris, are some of the by-products of mechanical demolition. If you have the right debris removal solution and the required permits, disposing of the debris is safe and legal.
Deconstruction & Dismantling

Deconstruction is one of the most rewarding methods of demolition, albeit a much slower and detailed process than standard mechanical demolition. During commercial deconstruction, the building is deconstructed piece-by-piece using hand tools—opposed to heavy machinery—to carefully dismantle the building with the objective of recovering as much salvageable material as possible.

The process is essentially reverse construction, dismantling the structure from top-to-bottom, starting with the roof, and is an excellent way to recoup as much of your property as possible.

Note: During the process, larger machinery (e.g. cranes, shear legs, etc.) may be used to support the structure.
This method is more expensive upfront, but you can often recoup much of your investment by re-using or selling the salvaged materials.

What is Interior Demolition?
Interior Demolition is the non-structural demolishing of spaces within a structure usually in preparation for reuse and upgrading of the space. This work includes interior wall and ceiling removal, demolition of flooring and some utility services, salvage, and selective structural demolition.
Explosion vs. Implosion
The most efficient of all commercial demolition methods is explosion or implosion but it’s typically only suitable when mechanical demolition and deconstruction aren’t an option. There are public health concerns with this type of demolition, including environmental issues, damage to adjacent structures, flying debris, air quality concerns, noise and more.

Demolition with explosives requires expert hands and skill. Most structures, except timber and brick structures, can be adapted to this type of demolition. Make sure you have all the documents and legal permissions to continue demolition.

Accurately calculated and controlled explosions ensure a commercial building comes down quickly, easily and precisely.

What are the requirements for Commercial Demolition?

The Clean Air Act states that the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulations must be followed during any commercial building demolition or renovation. These regulations require that the owner or operator of the building notify the necessary state department before any demolition (or renovation) of buildings that could possibly contain a certain amount of asbestos takes place.

Particular operations are prohibited from releasing visible emissions into the air and are required to follow proper air cleaning and hazardous waste removal procedures. 

How much does Commercial Demolition cost?

The national average for commercial demolition is roughly $7-$12 per square foot. However, the average square footage cost decreases as the square footage of the project increases. Other factors that affect commercial demolition cost include permit fees, projects size, building materials, whether or not hazardous materials are present, and debris cleanup/disposal.

Who can perform Commercial Demolition?

Under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, any contractor, inspector, supervisor, worker, management planner, or otherwise that works with asbestos-containing building materials in a commercial build must be accredited under a training program as rigorous as the EPA Model Accreditation Plan (MAP).

State and local agencies may have more stern requirements than those required by the federal government, so make sure you research the demolition and asbestos requirements for your state.

Commercial demolition requires great care and knowledge to do correctly therefore it shouldn’t be taken on by just anyone.

Is Demolition a regulated industry?

Demolition contractors are some of the most regulated construction industry professionals. We work on structures that are often damaged by fire, weather, or structural deficiency. Most demolition projects require permit review by local municipal building departments.

As demolition contractors handle hazardous materials and toxic substances there are a host of municipal, state and federal environmental regulations that govern the industry’s operations.

Because demolition is a dynamic craft and contractors are dealing with a variety of structures, the industry’s health and safety regulations are very strong. Many states have their own health and safety rules and the Federal Government’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) Construction Standard (29 CFR 1926) contains a specific section on demolition operations.

Demolition vs. Deconstruction

As the recycling rates from both conventional demolition and what is called deconstruction are generally about the same, often close to 90% of the material on a project site, the major difference between the two processes tends to be that deconstruction is usually much more labor-intensive than conventional demolition where a considerable amount equipment and technology is used. Deconstruction involves the hand dismantlement of potential recyclables and therefore in addition to be more labor intensive can be more time consuming than convention structural demolition that utilizes heavy equipment, specialized attachments and recycling equipment. The goal of both demolition and deconstruction is the same, to maximize the amount of marketable recycled material generated on a project site.