Structural demolitions pick up pace

An image of an overnight pedestrian bridge removal

SWIFT DEMOLITION Demolitions that impact in use roads need to occur swiftly to ensure roads are reopened within the shortest possible time

15th June 2023

By: Nadine Ramdass

Creamer Media Writer


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Requests for proposals for structural demolition have increased recently, following a backlog in maintenance and repairs of critical infrastructure, owing to the temporary suspension of non-critical works during Covid-19.

The proposals form part of remedial works or of larger replacement projects. Many of the projects being awarded currently were originally tendered for in 2018, with works that were deemed necessary then, but are now being escalated to urgent, says demolition contractor Jet Demolition contracts manager Kate Bester.

Left unattended, such structures pose safety risks; however, demolishing these structures can also pose safety risks.

“We have a responsibility to the travelling public in terms of safety and inconvenience, and work with main contractors, engineers and the client’s team to best identify approaches and methods to limit the impact on the public,” says Bester.

The majority of the larger infrastructure projects interface directly with the public.

These projects include the overnight demolition of bridges over roads that are in use. In these instances, clients would generally permit a full road closure for a limited number of hours so that the road can be reopened to the public within the shortest possible time.

Therefore, it is critical that the project is completed within the allotted time, as safely as possible, and the road returned to full use as quickly as possible.

The majority of Jet Demolition’s bridge projects relate to the rapid, overnight demolition of structures over active roadways.

However, projects also extend to the careful, partial demolition of structures for repair, as well as roads, and bridges over dam walls, where control and precise execution is of critical concern.

“Our most recent bridge project included the rapid demolition of bridge decks, which had errors in their original design, while preserving the original abutments and piers,” says Bester.

Both decks were completed within a few hours, but required substantive planning and preparation to ensure the safety of the remaining structures.

In similar cases, Bester explains that detailed and thorough preplanning is critical, as time is limited and it is often not possible to make alternative arrangements.

Jet Demolition uses its experience and most skilled personnel to tackle rapid, overnight and critical projects.

“Detailed planning and integration management are critical, as it is essential that every party knows not only what to do but also . . . what to expect from one another,” Bester emphasises.

Jet Demolition also ensures the availability of additional operators and equipment. While this can result in personnel and equipment redundancy for the company, it ensures that the project will not be affected in the unforeseen event of illness or a breakdown.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor




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