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Skyscraper Demolition: How to Deconstruct the Giants of Our Skies

By Rizwan Ahmad - 06 December 2012 No Comments
Over the past few decades, skyscrapers have been built taller and taller; however the technology to safely demolish them has not yet been determined. Although current techniques exist and have been largely successful, these skyscraper demolitions have only been used on buildings a fraction of the size of past demolitions. Thus, how will engineers go about skyscraper demolitions of unused or outdated buildings that are over 200m high? Although skyscrapers are a symbol of wealth and power, surely what comes up must come down at some point. This article explores the past, present and future of skyscraper demolition.

Skyscraper Demolition
                                          Image is licensed under CC Attribution

An Introduction to Skyscraper Demolition

Skyscraper demolition has and always will be an extremely difficult task, and as skyscrapers get higher the task will become even more complicated. Today’s tallest building is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, measuring 829m. So far, the tallest skyscraper that has been successfully demolished is the Singer Building in New York, which was manually dismantled in 1967/68. However, the primary obstacle for skyscraper demolition is not only the height of the skyscraper but also the safety of the buildings around it, as skyscrapers are always built in dense urban areas. Thus, one of the most used method for skyscraper demolition is implosion.

Skyscraper Demolition – Implosion Method

Simply put, an implosion is getting a structure to collapse in on itself and is a highly skilled task. It is one of the best solutions for skyscraper or building demolition in densely populated areas, but because of the accuracy that is acquired and the resultant safety risks, implosion demolition is not always permitted. Thus, engineers had to device alternative methods for skyscraper demolition.

Alternative Methods to Implosion Skyscraper Demolition

A more elaborate skyscraper demolition technique to implosion was pioneered by a Japanese construction firm. The bottom floor is knocked down and the structure above is lowered down by means of computer controlled hydraulic jacks. The manual method of skyscraper demolition involves engineers dismantling the building or skyscraper from top to bottom. However, because of fire or structural damage this can be unsafe. After the Christchurch earthquake, a massive mechanical excavator was imported from the UK and was used to pull down damaged buildings. However, many engineers agree that the life expectancy of a skyscraper is never really known and that instead of skyscraper demolition; buildings should be refitted indefinitely in order to suit new purposes. Thus, it is possible that the tall skyscrapers of today may become permanent features in our skylines.

Penny Munroe is an avid writer in business related news and tips. Articles include reviews on mens workwear to the latest construction industry news.

Rizwan Ahmad
About the Author:
This article is contributed by Penny Munroe and posted by Rizwan Ahmad Author and founder of, He is a tech blogger from India and he loves to share his thoughts by writing articles on this site to the different topics related to technology world,

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