Scheduled end-of-life

All facilities and structures have a finite life – as such, demolition is also an integral part of the construction industry. After the beneficial and safe working life of an industrial facility or structure has been reached, the facility inevitably deteriorates, and becomes a hazardous in- stallation.

All around the world, there are many ageing, redundant manufacturing assets, mainly plants built in 60s and 70s, that are approaching the end of their operational life and must be de- commissioned in the coming decades. The purpose of scheduled demolition is to prevent the accidental collapse of any structure or parts of structures, and to ensure the safety of workers, public and neighbouring properties.

Within the demolition industry, it is essential to distinguish between works in operating facili- ties, and works in facilities that are in disuse:

  • In operation: Works within active and operating brownfields facilities will require the partial demolition of structures, or portions of structures, executed in such a way as to have no impact on continued production.
  • End-of-life: Total demolition of the entire industrial facility, oftentimes returning the industrial footprint to a natural state.

In this guide we will focus on the End-of-Life, total shutdown case. This scenario has a defined date and can be planned for in detail ahead of the final closure. Many industries have pre-de- fined processes and procedures that need to be followed, but the general planning process includes the following stages:

Prior to initiation of closure: Baseline Planning

  • Internal consideration and quantification of materials and wastes in the facility (inventory including hazardous substances)
  • Internal determination of the economic value available in the facility
  • Identification of potential salvageable equipment and materials of value
  • Logging and recording of sizes, positions and conditions of buildings and structures
  • Consideration of remaining Assets (equipment and machinery) in the facility
  • Phases in the process before DDR
  • Baseline Costing and Timing of the demolition operation
  • Consideration of potential Indirect costs: Permits, permissions, licences, consultant costs, engineering studies, material handling, timeframe requirements, safe disposal costs
  • Identification and Exploration of potential business opportunities
  • Identification and assessment of Health & Safety considerations
  • Identification of persons from the facility who can actively and positively contribute to the closure thereof
  • Impact assessments on neighbouring communities, employees and suppliers
  • Impact assessments on the reputation of the company
  • Investigation of heritage commitments made during the establishment of the facility
  • Investigation and recording of historical events that will require special consideration at closure (eg. Fuel spillages, furnace burn-throughs, )
  • Identification of the final intended land-use

Planning: Engagement with Specialists and Specialist Contractors

  • Detailed Evaluation of what is in the facility, and how each of these potential waste- steams can be handled: Materials, substances, equipment, product reservoirs, hazardous
  • Determine appropriate methods and approaches that may be implemented, in particular reference to large structures, or sensitive environments. (eg only cold-cutting to be al- lowed in a petrochemical facility)
  • Proper inspection and analysis of contaminants (soils, concrete, )
  • Review of historical data and information, and implementation of this information into the planning documentation
  • Identification of all Information to be provided or requested
  • Assessment of historical obligations and legal requirements to enable the project to pro- ceed
  • Considerations during the demolition of buildings and structures
  • Waste treatment

Bidding process

  • Identification and engagement of an appropriate project team: Specialists, Engineering, Quantity Surveyors, Health, Safety and Environmental Professionals – This team to act as third-party and independent specialists, consulting to the project
  • Compilation of bid package
  • Considerations for procurement
  • Identification and pre-qualification of bidders
  • Bidding package submission
  • Site visit with all bidders
  • Update of the Bidding Package considering all suggestions from bidders
  • Bidding package version 2 submission
  • Proposal evaluations
  • Contract assistance

During demolition

  • Perform detailed planning of all demolition processes, including scheduling, method and appropriate risk assessments.
  • Deploy independent persons to site to monitor and control the demolition process.
  • Ensure suitable oversight of technical, environmental, health and safety aspects through- out all phases of the works
  • Prevention and security: avoid theft of all high-value materials generated by demolition activities.
  • Prevention of ingress of persons to the demolition site – Safety Management

After demolition

  • Identification and implementation of soil remediation measures
  • Earthworks that should be performed
  • Recycling, either on site or nearby
  •  Concrete burial and foundations
  • Circular economy
  • Preparation of the facility footprint for future use
  • Ensure compliance with all regulatory and expressly imposed final closure conditions


Consult the full guide here:

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