by Daniel Green
Unfortunately, the short answer is that it depends. Let’s say you’ve won a job and there’s a couple of structures that need to go in order to pave the way for that brilliantly designed building you’re about to project manage. One is an old brick and tin shed that’s about to fall in on itself, the second is a concrete driveway that’s seen better days. As much as it might do Perfect out of work, in all honesty, you can legally demolish these yourself. Heck of a job but you can do it. Time to break out the sledgehammer!
Then a month later you win a further job that needs another wrecking ball through it: a row of three two-storey terraces. Do you need a licensed demolition contractor? Yessir you do.
What about six weeks later when your firm wins a third job requiring demo: a twelve storey ex-hospital surrounded by tenanted resi in Camperdown. You already know the answer. But is there more to it?
Yes, yes there is.
Forty years of data and extensive studies have shown that, according to SafeWork NSW, any structure over 4m in height or has load bearing members requires significant experience, training and licensing to demolish. Additionally, the hazards and risks associated with structures over 15m in height expand exponentially, meaning further experience, training and licensing is required.
Which means there’s two classes of demolition license:
- A DE2 class license is required to demolish (or partially demolish), any building, structure or installation that:
- is between 4 metres and 15 metres in height involving mechanical demolition such as using excavators, bulldozers or cranes.
- is between 10 metres and 15 metres in height and affects its structural integrity.
- involves the use of load shifting machinery on suspended floors.
- A DE1 license is required to demolish (or partially demolish), any building, structure or installation that:
- is over 15 metres in height.
- is a chemical installation.
- involves a tower crane on site.
- involves a a mobile crane with a rated capacity of more than 100 tonnes.
- has structural components that are pre-tensioned or post-tensioned.
- involves floor propping.
- involves explosives.
- Over fifteen metres, has chemical elements, has PTT aspects to it, needs propping, explosives or a crane and you need to hire a demolition company with a current DE1.
- Under fifteen metres but over four and you need to hire a demolition company with a current DE2.
- Under four metres and you can do it yourself.
If you’re weighing up demolishing that old busted up structure on your site, there’s far more considerations than what’s inked in the law books. Demolition is a high risk activity that is fraught with danger, so perhaps a better question is; why should you want to use a licensed demolition contractor?
Safety. 4 metres is still quite high. It may not sound it scrolling through this article, but when you’re standing next to it you may just change your mind. Look, perhaps its a timber and iron shed, there’s miles of space and you can pull the thing over with your ute. Perhaps you have ample dust suppression. Perhaps it falls exactly the way you want it to. But what if it doesn’t? Or what if there’s very little room and it has to be collapsed a certain way so as not to cause damage to anything around it?
Expertise. It may look all Battle of the Bulge but demolition is actually very procedural, and, like an iceberg, there is far more to it than meets the eye. Knowing how a building will behave when you dismantle it is a highly valuable proficiency and in some cases, a bit of an art. What will you do if things go wrong, and what if they go wrong fast and in a big way? Even as demolition professionals we don’t always get it right.
Health. If you’re deleting a building, chances are it’s old. Ageing structures often contain nasty materials that are now illegal and require a specialised removal process or in some cases – a licensed contractor. Asbestos Containing Material [ACM] and lead are just two examples.
- ACM. We all know it, but did you know there’s two types? Non-friable [also known as bonded asbestos] and friable. The difference being that one can crumble and get airborne [friable] and the other generally stays together [non-friable], although over time some non-friable asbestos can become friable. Clear as mud? Legally, you’re allowed to removed up to 10m2 of non-friable asbestos if you dispose of it according to EPA guidelines – which is encapsulation and tipping at a nominated hazardous waste facility. But with 60% of all structures in Australia still containing ACM of some kind, why would you want to?
- Lead is another sin from our construction past. It was in everything; paint, roofing and pipework, solder, mortar & bricks, in plumbing elements like taps, pipes & junctions, in electrical cabling, flashing, glass [especially stained glass] and structural steel primer. Over time lead weakens, can get airborne, be inhaled and can enter the bloodstream. It then causes a multitude of irreversible damage and eventually, death. Is it a risk worth taking, for yourself and for your workers?
Cost and Efficiency. Yes, you could rent a machine or two and get your wrecking ball on. But in the same way that Perfect couldn’t do your job very well, there’s efficiencies and expertise that comes with ten years of demolition. A good, solid demolition contractor like Perfect will most likely save you time and money so you can focus on what you do best: building.
Perfect Contracting holds an unrestricted demolition license and has done since 2016. We regularly demolish structures ranging from one-day jobs like residential carports to multi-storey commercial and government buildings that require heavy engineering and detailed methodologies. We also hold a friable asbestos removal license, so if, in the course of demolition ACM is found, we’re already set up to dispose of it quickly and easily. Furthermore, Perfect is a civil contractor. Fresh off projects such as St. Joseph’s School in Hunter’s Hill where we completed a three month demolition, hazmat removal and civil works package, we are more than ready for your demo and civl project.
We Get It Done.
For more information on our services, take a look at our webpage or request a free quote.contact us today