Only once the building is down and materials have been segregated for shipment is a smaller group of workers brought back in to deal with non-ferrous metals.
For Brandenburg, safety comes first. “We go above and beyond the industry standards to implement the best safety program we can,” says O’Keefe. “We are the first demolition contractor to successfully complete OSHA’s Challenge Program and to be certified as a Star Member in OSHA’s prestigious Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). Besides doing the job effectively and efficiently, our other big advantages are doing it safely and the use and ownership of specialized equipment.”
Reuse On Site Cuts Costs
By using recycled aggregates on site, the costs of trucking out brick or concrete and trucking in aggregate can be eliminated. “You save those trucks running through the neighborhood,” says McGarel. “It is a huge benefit that they recognize a lot more today than they did in the past.”
Often, a processor attachment is used to sort the concrete or brick, which is then sent to a mobile crusher. “Any site that has a large amount of concrete, we bring in mobile crushers,” says O’Keefe. “At one point in time, we had what was known as the world’s largest mobile crusher. It was actually 21 truckloads to move it on the site.
“We use anything from a small mobile crusher to setting up a whole mobile crusher plant on site, depending upon how big the site is,” he indicates. “On most jobsites, the majority of the brick and concrete that we process is used and left on site to fill voids in basements and to grade the site to the final level. Obviously, there is a cost savings to do that on site and let it remain on site.”
Brandenburg is unique in that if it needs a tool that doesn’t exist, it will fabricate it internally. “We have a fabrication shop which allows us to do a lot of modifications of the machines,” says McGarel. “Some attachments we make ourselves. Extension poles, which allow us to reach a lot higher, are particularly helpful with wood buildings. We will skeletize the building. The more material we can get out of the building before we start wrecking it, the better. So we have poles on our excavators that allow us to reach up 100 ft. and take the entire shell off the outside.”
“We have even gone as far as to fabricate our own rail cars,” O’Keefe adds. “We fabricate our own trailers and boxes that we use for transportation of the material. So we are definitely unique in the industry. We don’t market anything that we fabricate as aftermarket. It is only for company usage.”
A mechanized approach
Costello Dismantling typically achieves recycling rates of 90% or higher. Dan Costello, the owner, attributes this success to staying current with the latest developments in the recycling industry.
“We are very involved on a corporate level in recycling organizations. We are a member of the National Demolition Association (NDA). I serve on the board of directors of the Construction Materials Recycling Association. We are members of the Institute of Scrap and Recycling Industries. And we are members of the environmental business council in Massachusetts and New England,” he points out. “We are constantly staying on the front line of what is happening in recycling. And we are always trying to find better and higher uses for materials that we are able to derive or harvest from the buildings that we dismantle.”
With LEED building increasing in popularity, demolition contractors play an increasingly important role in the process. “We provide a log that we maintain for every project which shows the owner of the location where all of the material went and what the recycling percentages are,” says Costello.
Every region has its own unique challenges. “In New England, we have a lot of 19th century mill buildings, primarily from the textiles and trade industry,” says Costello. “They are typically brick with timber framing. We have developed a very well-honed specialty in dismantling those types of mill buildings so that we can salvage the timber framework and the structural timber. We can take a building like that apart and recover well over 90% of the structure for reuse.”