Common misconceptions surrounding the demolition industry

19 June 2020
Specialising in the heavy industrial and large commercial space, Jet Demolition undertakes a range of challenging demolition projects. It also excels at technically-demanding projects that require the highest levels of safety and quality. Jet Demolition Contracts Manager Kate Bester (N. Dip. Civil Engineering) takes a look at some of the common misconceptions surrounding this highly specialised and niche sector of the construction industry.
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Demolition is all about ‘blowing up buildings’

Demolition takes many forms, from removing an internal wall to the complete demolition and rehabilitation of a redundant mining site. A critical skill in the demolition industry is applying the appropriate method for the task at hand.

When considering the demolition of a tall building, for example, top-down mechanical demolition and implosion are comparable, but are restricted by the environment in which the demolition is to take place. If there is sufficient space and time available, implosion might be the better option, whereas a very restricted or operational environment might result in high-reach demolition being more effective and better suited to the structure itself.

Any contractor can tear down a building

It is not uncommon for a building contractor to also undertake demolition work. However, it is up to clients to determine whether the demolition service provider is bona fide and has the appropriate tools, equipment and skill to be able to undertake large-scale demolition projects.

Fortunately, we do see a change in the industry whereby due diligence audits and assessments are being undertaken prior to contracts being awarded. This is encouraging as it will result in a stronger and more accountable industry.

Anyone can become a demolition expert

Our personnel undertake regular training and certification in their areas of experience, but the true strength of our company lies in the skills of our personnel. In South Africa, it is not unusual to be tasked with the demolition of a structure for which as-built drawings and records do not even exist.

Upfront planning and preparation for such structures involves intensive analysis and in-depth examination. This often means reverse-engineering structural assessments derived from the initial investigation to best assess the primary characteristics and stability of such structures.

The information is then used to verify whether the anticipated methods are appropriate, and to anticipate the structure’s response. While modelling software is available internationally that is capable of determining to some degree how a structure will react, it is very much dependent on fully detailed as-built information, which isn’t readily available. Instead, we rely on our own extensive experience with similar works and the application of very conservative safety factors.

Demolition is dangerous

In demolition, the majority of projects work from the most dangerous or difficult point of a structure towards a point of safety on the ground. Therefore we have adopted a non-negotiable approach to safety. Our business, our reputation, and our industry is based on engineering methods focused on the safety of persons.

Over the past 28 years, we have developed a comprehensive Integrated Safety Management Programme, which has resulted in the highest level of safety performance in the industry. In its annual 2019 NOSA audit, we scored 98.14%, one of the highest achievements internationally in the commercial construction industry.

Demolition is environmentally-unfriendly

We are well-equipped and experienced to deliver environmentally-responsible, but also practical, projects for large industrial and mining sites. We have previously demolished an extensive range of industrial, chemical, and mining plants, where a wide spectrum of toxic or hazardous materials were decontaminated, treated, neutralised, or disposed of.

We also offer asbestos abatement, which is often associated with the demolition of older structures. We are registered with the Department of Labour as an asbestos contractor and are certified to safely remove all types of asbestos in strict accordance with the relevant regulations and standards, such as the Asbestos Regulations 155 of 2002, Environmental Laws Amendment Act 14 of 2009 and the Waste Act 59 of 2008.

An extensive range of environmental and regulatory requirements apply to demolition projects, in addition to specific client requirements. We are accredited in terms of the following safety, health, environmental and quality standards: CMB253 NOSA Integrated HSE System, NOSA NOSCAR Safety Performance Level, ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health & Safety Management System and ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System.


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Notes to the Editor
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About Jet Demolition

Jet Demolition has been undertaking industrial demolition works since 1994, and is the leading, largest, and most technically-advanced demolition company in Africa. It offers in-house, full-range demolition services, including advanced mechanical solutions and controlled implosions. It actively pursues ongoing development of skills and equipment suited to the changing needs of the industry.

Jet Demolition is a technically-based company, with various staff members holding MSc, BSc, and BTech Degrees, as well as National Diplomas, in various engineering fields. This expertise gives it the technical foundation to successfully engineer solutions for large and complex demolition projects, and furthermore fuels its drive to deliver quality projects safely. Jet Demolition strives to offer its clients innovative and technical solutions to demanding demolition challenges.

Jet Demolition Contact

Kate Bester (NDip Civil Engineering)

Contracts Manager

Phone: (011) 495 3800

Cell: 072 811 5310

Email: kate [at] jetdemolition [dot] co [dot] za


Media Contact

Renay Tandy

NGAGE Public Relations

Phone: (011) 867 7763

Fax: 086 512 3352

Cell: 082 562 5088

Email: renay [at] ngage [dot] co [dot] za


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