Mistakes during demolitions happen. Sometimes contractors knock down the wrong buildings, other times the explosives used don’t knock the building over, and other demolitions are carried out with a complete lack of regard for human life. As fun as they are to perform and watch, they’re inherently dangerous and there should be a plan in place in case things go wrong.
Earlier this week, a rowhouse, which was occupied by a laundromat, in Baltimore, Maryland was mistakenly destroyed as demolition crews were working on tearing down the building next to it, according to the Baltimore Sun. Thankfully, no one was injured, as police occupied the area the night before demolition to keep people away.
The building that was supposed to be demolished had developed a large crack, estimated at several inches at its widest, and one of its exterior walls had started to bow. After city inspectors determined the building was unstable, an emergency demolition was ordered.
The owner of the mistakenly demolished building was actually across the street watching the demolition, but told the Baltimore Sun that he’ll rebuild the property. He had recently purchased the building and planned to convert it into a single family home.
Around the 50 second mark in the video below, you can see a section of brick fall over onto the neighboring property, which completely annihilates it. It makes you wonder how stable that building actually was if it was destroyed so easily.
**WARNING: video contains strong language that would not be welcome on certain construction sites in Philadelphia**
Last Thursday, every construction professional’s worst nightmare happened. Lives were lost, both construction workers and civilians, by way of the catastrophic collapse of FIU’s under construction pedestrian bridge. We shared what we knew as of late Thursday night, but since this is not only a tragedy directly related to construction, but also a huge learning opportunity for the entire industry, I wanted to make sure we continued to follow and update on the story as it develops.
Terrible tragedy struck Florida International University’s (FIU) campus yesterday when a newly installed pedestrian bridge collapsed onto the road below, killing at least 4 and severely injuring many more.
It’s pretty amazing the work that can get done when a lot of resources and money are thrown at one project. Past examples of this include a gigantic sinkhole that was repaired in Japan in just under a week, the complete emergency rebuild of Atlanta’s I-85 overpass that was completed a month ahead of schedule, and this video of 116 excavators working side by side to demolish a 1,640 foot long overpass overnight.
When anyone sees a hard hat, they typically immediate associate it with construction. It’s the ultimate symbol of safety on the job site. We all know we should wear them, but it’s easy to get annoyed with the minor inconvenience that they cause and forget about the extreme consequences that could result if a falling object catches us when we aren’t wearing one.
Cameras are EVERYWHERE these days. They’re on sites documenting the full construction process of your project, they’re on projects taking 360 degree progress footage, and most importantly, they’re in your pocket on your smartphone. Having a camera in your pocket at all times can be a good or bad thing, especially for employers, because not only can it make lives much easier for communication and documentation purposes, but it also gives people the chance to show the world when things go absolutely terribly.
With cranes being on many construction sites, it’s easy for workers to get complacent. Hundreds or thousands of construction materials can be lifted by cranes throughout the project, but all it takes is one time for a disaster to occur.
On Sunday, demolition contractors tried to bring down the upper portion of the Pontiac Silverdome, former home to the Detroit Lions, but several of the explosives didn’t ignite and the structure was still upright after the smoke cleared. After videos of the failed demolition were posted online, the internet had a field day.
Construction timelapse videos make extremely complicated and long projects look much easier to build than they actually are. The recently opened Louvre in Abu Dhabi took 8 years to complete, but you can watch the full process in only 3 minutes.