Demolition Practices, Technology, and Management reviewed

By Lindsay Gale16 November 2010

John Woodward reviews the latest textbook to come onto the market relating to the demolition sector. Produced by Purdue University, in conjunction with the National Demolition Association, it is intended to give engineers and managers to the basics of the demolition industry.

In their book, Richard J. Diven, with over 40 years experience in the US demolition industry, and Mark Shaurette, a professor in Building Construction Management at Purdue University, have written a definitive guide to demolition as practised daily in North America. The book clearly sets out to explain what is demolition and how it should be accomplished. This book will be invaluable to the students of Purdue as they undertake their demolition studies before embarking on a career in the best industry in the world.

The 13 chapters in the 180 page book take the reader through all stages of the demolition process, from an introduction to the industry that we love, via demolition regulations in the USA, safety, and techniques before closing with chapters on Disaster Response and Project Management.

With references throughout to National Demolition Association Guidance from previous years and Rubble; Unearthing the History of Demolition by J. Byles 2005 , a book that is in my own library at home, the writers refer to times past and how demolition has moved forward to the science that it is today.

The inclusion of sample study questions at the end of each chapter enable the reader to explore their own understanding of the text, and chapter references offer the opportunity for further reading and personal study.

Clearly, the books focus is on USA techniques and the USA demolition industry. However, there is a great deal of content in the book that relates to demolition wherever it is practised throughout the world. The demolition industry has become popular of late and we have recently seen the emergence of TV documentaries and series focusing on large demolition projects. Whilst primarily a text book, this is a publication that would prove of great interest to the ' demolition enthusiast' and is therefore a book to appeal not only to students of the industry but to a wider audience.

The many photographs within the book from leading demolition figures in North America show demolition practices from varied sites and illustrate well the written guidance in all chapters.

My particular favourite chapters are those on Bridge Demolition, Safety and Disaster Response where my own knowledge has been improved considerably by reading them.

The National Demolition Association and Purdue have, with their decision to publish this first reference book of demolition practices, produced a book that clearly shows how the work is done, from estimation to final account and the book will be a valuable source of information for demolition professionals working today and in the future.

About John Woodward

John Woodward currently acts as a consultant to the demolition industry through his company, C & D Consultancy, which he established in May 2005 following a career spent in the industry, latterly with Loxley Dismantling Ltd, a National Federation of Demolition Contractors member company.

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