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Demolition of burnt buildings?

Discussion in 'Demolition' started by JoshA, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. JoshA

    JoshA Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Excavation contractor
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Hello everyone!

    Have had some inquiries into demolition of fire destroyed buildings, and was looking for some insight as to the differences, perhaps hidden hazards associated with them. Most of the ones I've been contacted about are burnt right to the foundations, essentially nothing left of the structure above ground. I'm familiar with demo, mostly residential, but have never taken on a post-disaster clean-up.

    Any thoughts are appreciated.
    -Josh
     
  2. grandpa

    grandpa Senior Member

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    Here in Minnysota, all the ash has to be hauled to a certified landfill to accept that waste. The regular charred lumber and debris can go to a regular landfill. Im sure your restrictions may vary greatly.
     
  3. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    The only thing I've found is it's real hard on air filters, and watch for hidden void spaces. Of course, I spent 21 years as a paid and volunteer firefighter, so the first burnt building I demo'd was not the 1000th I'd been in, but I really can't think of any other differences.
     
  4. movindirt

    movindirt Senior Member

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    I assume you'll be working around the fort MacMurray area? If so post up some pictures, I think most of us here would like to see what all happened. Other than that, I can't think of any ways demo'ing a fire damaged building is different than a normal one. Expect to have to clean filters a little more often like what was already mentioned, make sure your windshield washer fluid tank is full. Watch on buildings if it just has roof damage, keep an eye on the trusses and ceiling joists as they will be more prone to break easily if they are already damaged. Don't leave a section hanging or drive under it. Also, if they are saving the foundations you might want to invest in a good smooth edge bucket for cleaning up the basement floors. On the same note be careful pulling the subfloor off a foundation thats getting saved so as not to damage the tie bolts from the sill plate to the foundation.

    Edit: Saw this earlier, seems strange they aren't letting the locals help? I know fire is different than tornado cleanup, but we had a EF-4 come through town a few years back that damaged 1,100 homes, and the guys from the outside aid groups screwed more stuff up and made more people mad than they did good. http://globalnews.ca/news/2769815/f...im-theyre-being-left-out-of-wildfire-cleanup/
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  5. JoshA

    JoshA Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Excavation contractor
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Thanks guys.

    Movindirt, thanks for the tips. As for the locals, two questions come to mind... how local is local, and do they need to be prime? I'm not from Fort McMurray, I live about 3 hours south, but I've done work up there, as much of Alberta's trade workers have over their careers. It is my understanding there are not a ton of Fort Mac based large scale companies, though there are many companies that do work in the area and hire as many locals as they can.

    I think what the powers that be want to avoid, is being involved with a lot of smaller contractors and their struggles. They have a relatively short timeline to get things done, and only want to have a few disposal sites. As with most large scale projects, from building a refinery to a housing development, there is usually a prime contractor over-seeing the whole thing. If the insurance companies let every Bob's Backhoe Service come in working independently, well I think we all know what would happen. In the case of how I was contacted, we would be operating our machines as subcontractors, responsible only for the demolition and loading of the remnants, loading onto provided trucks and taken to the prime's site for crushing and sorting.


    There are plenty of local WORKERS that should be utilized, as well as local companies that should be subcontracted to perform within their scope of work, even if they are not qualified to be prime on the jobs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  6. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    I'll give my experience living in "tornado alley" and the cleanup efforts that ensue after a major catastrophe.

    Just like you described one "prime contractor" is hired to perform all of the cleanup because they have the "ability", connections, etc. This prime contractor then sets out to hire other larger contractors for areas they've determined. Those contractors hire another set of medium sized contractors to perform the work.

    The local medium sized contractors hire "Bob's Backhoe Services" and many small operators to actually do the work. They promise them big money by the large quantities of CY, SF or what ever unit of measurement is used. What's usually not apparent is the prime contractor for example is getting $20 a cubic yard for debris disposal. The second tier larger contractor is getting $15 per CY, the medium sized contractor is getting $10 per CY and they're paying Bob $6 a cubic yard to actually do the work. The money is made in the paper shuffling. I made those numbers up for example but you get the point.

    Once Bob realizes he's not making any money because the process to do the job and get paid is not what he was promised, it's too late and he has to fight for what's owed him and he has to detangle the web of the ladder above him.

    I've seen it time and time again here in tornado land and I don't chase storms or any other natural disaster for the reasons listed above. I've seen many a contractor here flock to a disaster area with the lure of big money only to come home broke and someone else has taken care of his clients while he was gone.:cool:

    Of course this situation may be totally different, so your milage may vary.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  7. movindirt

    movindirt Senior Member

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    Is that type of deal paid out by FEMA? For my situation it was our home town where we work out of, so many of the folks we helped were ones we had worked for over the last 25+ years. FEMA didn't oversee any of the cleanup, but nobody wanted them to anyway. It was all done by local non union contractors, the largest one had a dozen or more excavators and track loaders, more than a dozen tandems and end dumps. By time you get a few other contractors that are that size working too it moves along pretty quick, in a year and a half it was pretty much all cleaned up and mostly rebuilt. We demo'd 40+/- homes, each property was a different price amount from the insurance company, many of them wanted bids after the first few weeks. That weeded out a lot of the storm chasers that tried to get away with charging outrageous prices. We charged the same prices as always, and in some cases less than normal if the folks didn't have the best insurance. Helping out our community was the idea. Talked to a few people that swore it would be at least 5 years before it was rebuilt, 2 years from the day it happened it was 90% rebuilt. What we came across was the people who weren't from the area didn't care about the homeowners and in most cases tried to get away with charging double or triple in some cases.
     
  8. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    Yes what I described is a FEMA run situation. FEMA hires the big GC and after it trickles down through the layers many local contractors are the ones actually doing the work. The small local contractors can get screwed if they are not careful.

    I've also seen what you describe with individual homeowners and the storm chasers going after their insurance money. Natural disasters can bring out the best in people and also attract some of the worst people.:cool:
     
  9. movindirt

    movindirt Senior Member

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    I see, I don't have really any experience with FEMA, don't care to get any either. Definitely saw the worst in some people, also saw a lot of homeowners trying to work the system to get more insurance money. Its a shame to see someone whine that they are broke when their $150k house gets blown away and then they rebuild a $300k house in its place, bigger and nicer all insurance paid, and yet they still act like a victim and they are owed the world. I can say I definitely don't want to go through all that drama again, I'm not chasing down any storms lol
     
  10. Dozerboy

    Dozerboy Senior Member

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    Just one tip I can think of off hand. Treat any fridge or frezzer like it's a bomb ready to expel the most god-awful smell you've ever smelled in your life because it is. I'm guessing when these people were evacuated they didn't take the time to clean their freezers out. So everything in there is been fermenting for a little while.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
     
  11. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    "Free money" will show a persons true character.:cool:

    Spoken with true experience right there.:yup Words can't really describe how horrible that smell really is and how it lingers...:throwup

    Messed up on a burn demo and busted the fridge loading it into the roll off with the 953, I swear that smell was in the A/C system for 2 weeks before you couldn't smell it anymore.
     
  12. oarwhat

    oarwhat Senior Member

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    Location:
    buffalo,n.y.
    Same thing happens here in Buffalo,NY. for Blizzards and lake effect storms. We worked the 1985 Blizzard and got paid 70% of what we were promised 2 months later. That's the first and last one we did. I see guys get burned everytime.