Terms to Know Before Hiring a Commercial Demolition Contractor

Commercial demolition contractor uses a sledgehammer to break up a concrete wall.Demolition is an important part of the growth of a neighborhood or a city, yet many people are unfamiliar with how commercial demolition works. We have you covered! Here is an overview of the most important terms used by demolition contractors and insight into the demolition process.

First of all, what is commercial demolition?

Let’s start with a word commonly misunderstood. Demolition is the “process of dismantling or destroying a structure after its life of serviceability by pre-planned and controlled methods.” Demolition does not mean the messy destruction of a building. 

Demolition involves the meticulous and systematic dismantling of a building by using sophisticated tools. This form of demolition can also be referred to as deconstruction. In addition, demolition does not have to fill up landfills with debris. Asset recovery is a potentially lucrative and environmentally friendly way to recycle recovered materials from a demolition site. 

Asbestos Abatement

Great care has to be taken when demolishing buildings that have asbestos. This process is called “asbestos abatement”.  Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral often found in older buildings and was used because of its heat resistance. It requires specialized personal protective equipment (PPE) for its removal, such as protective clothing and respirator masks. The best demolition companies in Portland, Oregon implement safety measures to protect their workers and to help quickly remove and dispose of this material.

C&D Recycling

C&D recycling is an abbreviation of Construction and Demolition Recycling. This encompasses the different methods of recycling, salvaging, or reusing waste and debris from construction and demolition sites. The demolition industry has rapidly evolved over the past few years to incorporate new recycling methods that have increased the efficiency and accuracy of the process. Demolition companies on average recycle more than 90% of a building.

On average, demolition companies recycle more than 90% of a building.

Materials that can be recycled include scrap metal, concrete, windows, structural beams, fixtures, and more. At Elder Demolition, we pride ourselves on taking special care to ensure that demolition projects have a minimal environmental impact. We offer a full range of demolition services that include metal recycling, concrete recycling, and scrap metal recycling.

Demolition Equipment

Demolition companies use a wide variety of equipment to help with the process of dismantling a building. These range from heavy machinery to hand tools. 

Examples of heavy machinery are:

  • Specialized excavators used to move material and break it down
  • Loaders to move materials on to another vehicle, such as a dump truck
  • Skid-steer loaders, a type of loader that has its wheels mechanically locked in synchronization on either side allowing them to make tight turns
  • Backhoes, sometimes called rear actors, are a type of excavating equipment used to dig trenches
  • Attachments like wrecking balls, crushers, shears, and hammers 

Hand tools are used for precision demolition especially when asset recovery is a top priority. Personal protective equipment like respirator masks and hard hats are used to keep demolition workers safe during these types of tasks. There are also new technologies on the horizon like robotics and drones that could allow for greater safety and efficiency at a worksite.  


Before any demolition begins, the site must first be surveyed. There are two types of surveys that are conducted: a building survey and a structural survey. Both are aimed at gathering information about what materials are present at the site so a demolition plan can be formed and the proper equipment and safety measures can be implemented. 

A survey can assess:

  • The types of materials and methods of construction
  • The surrounding buildings and any shared facilities
  • The presence of hazardous materials
  • Traffic and pedestrian conditions surrounding the site
  • The condition of the building
A building must be surveyed before commercial demolition begins and there are two ways to do it, which include a building survey or a structural survey.

Our Portland Demolition Company Brings Experience & Expertise

When deciding on a commercial demolition contractor in Oregon, Washington, Montana, or Idaho choose one that brings years of experience to both commercial and industrial demolition.

Elder Demolition offers a range of demolition services that include asset recovery. Whether it is scrap metal, concrete recycling, or steel processing we have you covered. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us today.

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