A Brief Overview of Building Demolition: Part One

by Jon Sockol

Over the course of my career in the commercial real estate development industry, I have undertaken a number of building projects throughout Marlborough, Massachusetts, and its surrounding areas. I found my experience working with simpler projects key when it became time to tackle one involving demolition. One of the first ventures I completed involved erecting a single-story unit located on Northboro Road in Marlborough, a seemingly simple job that required a great deal of work on the front end before the actual construction process could even begin. To start, I submitted detailed site plans to Marlborough’s Office of Inspectional Services for approval. Once I received permission to move forward, I collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to ensure safe access to the construction site, subsequently fabricating a 64- by 90-foot edifice slated for commercial use. With that project successfully completed, I was ready for an opportunity to rehabilitate a plot of land located in close proximity to it. Considerably larger in scope than the first project, the second Northboro Road development presented the additional challenge of demolishing an abandoned building to make way for new offices and retail outlets.

Razing a structure, whether that building has been properly maintained or not, is far more difficult than one might think. For the most part, people outside of the construction sector have only experienced demolition through film, often as an event recreated with the assistance of a gifted special effects crew. In reality, demolishing a building entails painstaking preparatory planning carried out by an experienced and specially trained team, as well as an arsenal of equipment. A qualified demolition crew will likely employ explosives, blasting caps, sledge hammers, and steel cutters to take down a structure in its entirety. Moreover, any capable demolition expert should be prepared to deal with problems that could arise should the razing fail. To this end, a well-stocked first aid kit, evacuation plan, and designated emergency area are absolute necessities. In 2012, Jon Sockol started another realestate development company called Adrian LLC. Jon Sockol is currently involved in realestate ventures.

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