4 Types of Precision Demolition and the Advantage of Each Method


Dynamite or a crane with a wrecking ball can undoubtedly knock down a structure quickly, but for many projects, a more precise approach is necessary. With those destructive methods, you may not have a lot of choice about what gets destroyed, and there are many other downsides. 

Precision demolition allows more control over taking a structure apart, decommissioning a property, or making changes to a structure. Here is what you need to know about precision demolition as well as five different types of precision demolition methods and the advantages of each one. 

What Is Precision Demolition?

Precision demolition is also referred to as “controlled demolition.” Instead of blowing something up or knocking it down, it involves a more calculated approach to deconstruction. This can protect the integrity of the rest of the structure if only certain parts need to be removed or altered.

It can also save money because this type of demolition can produce less waste than traditional methods. Finally, precision demolition is a safer and more environmentally friendly approach to the deconstruction or alteration of a structure. 

4 Types of Precision Demolition and the Advantages of Each

Depending on the size and scope of the project, different types of precision demolition methods may be used. Here are five different types of precision demolition methods and the advantages of each.

Diamond Wire Sawing

Diamond wire sawing is a core component of Bluegrass Bit’s precision demolition services. We can configure and deploy these versatile saws to cut a variety of materials in some of the most extreme environments, excelling at underwater cutting. 

We custom build and test our diamond wire saws in-house, allowing us to deliver the most precise concrete and metal cutting services possible. The diamond beads along the wire do most of the work, creating friction that cuts through hard materials. 

Diamond wire saws are so versatile that they can be used to depths of up to 5,000+ feet. They are also a cost-effective solution compared to many other demotion methods. 

Bluegrass Bit recently used diamond wire sawing in support of Denver’s Gross Reservoir Expansion project. We removed the dam’s ogee crest in Project Phase 1 by sawing through the dam’s 28’ width.

Metal Cutting

Cutting through metal takes the right tools and expertise. Bluegrass Bit uses its specialized cutting tools and methods combined with industry-leading experts to offer precision metal cutting services. We cut through a variety of metals, such as exotic steel, stainless, inconel, zinc, and carbon-based alloys.

We make precise cuts in any environment, including those that require no sparks. Some of the jobs we tackle include cutting objects in nuclear reactors, airplane wings, ship rudders, compressor foundations, pipelines, steel turbine shafts, underwater conductors, and more. 

The main benefits of our tools and methods are their safety and precision. We can use air- or water-cooled cutting systems to avoid contamination or dangerous sparks. Many of our methods will also avoid excess vibration and reduce noise. 

We used our metal-cutting resources on a project for the Port of Los Angeles. The project required underwater cutting of metal berths before they could be removed by crane. We used a custom-built saw to complete the job at up to 28’ below the waterline safely and on schedule.

Core Drilling

Core Drilling is a precision demolition method used to achieve precise cuts in various demolition and repurposing projects. Bluegrass Bit can drill cores at depths up to 50’+ and any angle, with core diameters of up to 42”.

One of the main advantages of core drilling is the trueness of the cut. A core drill creates a perfectly round hole in a concrete structure with minimal disturbance. This hole can be used to access the structure for repairs or utilities. It is also used to feed in a diamond wire for saw cutting operations. 

Bluegrass Bit used core drilling as part of its Brunswick Nuclear Plant project, where we drilled a 42” diameter hole through the three-foot thick condensate pit.

Concrete Shaving

Concrete shaving is another precision demolition process that involves removing a layer from the concrete surface. This is often necessary to remove contamination in nuclear, waste, and other facilities constructed from concrete. 

Concrete shaving works by reducing the volume of concrete material on a wall, ceiling, or floor by shaving them to a predetermined depth. The contaminated materials are then carefully removed from the area, leaving it contamination free. The obvious advantage of this technique is that it allows facilities to remove contamination without a complete demolition and rebuild. 

Bluegrass Bit used concrete shaving during the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant decommission project. The initial phase required decontamination of all surfaces, which involved concrete shaving to .5” depths. 

When Precision Demolition Is Used

Precision demolition is a process that has come a long way over the past several decades. Bluegrass Bit uses its advanced equipment and technologies to assist clients in offshore, nuclear, heavy equipment, heavy metals, and heavy civil industries. Our methods work hundreds of feet in the air and in sub sea applications.   

Contact Bluegrass Bit for Your Demolition Project

If you need a precision demolition project completed, contact us to find out how we can help. Bluegrass Bit is a global expert in precision demolition and decommissioning services. Founded in 1979, our company has received worldwide recognition for its pioneering use of diamond wire sawing as a non-explosive technique and method for cutting concrete and metal underwater. 

Headquartered in Alabama, we also have offices in Louisiana, Texas, Wyoming and Florida.  We support every one of our jobs with a highly skilled team of engineers, mechanics, project managers, machinists, and administrative staff. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

What Is Selective Demolition? When Is It Applicable?

There are times when a part of a structure needs to be torn down or reworked to meet certain needs. It doesn’t always make economic or functional sense to rip everything apart and start from scratch. The solution is selective demotion.

Selective demolition, also referred to as precision demotion, is the process of demolishing specific materials or zones within a building or structure. It’s slightly different from interior demolition, which involves the complete demo of all interior elements of a structure. For example, a structure may need to be made higher, lower, wider, or safer. 

Selective demolition can also refer to the precise process of taking a structure apart. Instead of using explosives to blow it up or a crane to knock it down, this process is more precise. In other words, selective demolition techniques are preferred to preserve usable areas of the property and avoid the collateral damage that explosives can cause.

How Selective Demolition Works

Every selective demolition project is different, but here are a few key steps that characterize most successful projects.

Planning and Surveying

Any project that involves demolition will also require a significant amount of planning and preparation. Depending on the nature of the project, the contractor might need to invest in extensive site surveys and materials testing. 

The results of the testing and surveys will allow the team to create a detailed plan for execution. Specifically, what equipment, experience, and expertise will be required for the project? How long will it take to complete? What are the inevitable challenges that still require addressing?

“Cutting and Capping” Utilities

Another vital step to take before launching the project is to cut and cap any existing utility lines. This ensures there is no damage to the remaining structure during the project. Also, any part of the structure that will remain in operation could do so if this step is planned correctly. 

Obtaining Licenses, Permits, and Insurance

Many selective demolition projects are massive undertakings. They may require separate permits or the company may have to adhere to various state and federal regulations. Insurance and bonding for the specific project is generally a requirement. 

Emphasizing Safety

Precision demolition can also be dangerous work. One of the trademarks of a successful project is a company’s ability to achieve the desired goals without any major incidents or injuries. This happens through careful planning, experience, and strict safety procedures. 

Planning for Removal

One of the major benefits of selective demolition is that it’s a cleaner and more sustainable option. Instead of blowing everything to pieces, you have the opportunity to salvage and even reuse materials. Assuming you don’t want to reuse the materials, at least other parts of the property or structure won’t be damaged or destroyed by the process. It’s also a more environmentally friendly option. 

When Selective Demolition Might be Applicable to a Project

Selective demolition is applicable to a variety of projects in a variety of industries. Here are a few examples.

  • Heavy industrial — Various heavy industrial industries use selective demolition for projects related to power plants, steel mills, pulp and paper mills, and refineries. 
  • Offshore — Selective demolition even takes place offshore for things like marine applications, topside modifications, and platform segmentation. 
  • Heavy civil — The heavy civil industry uses precision demolition for projects related to ports, locks and dams, and highway bridges and railroad bridges. 
  • Nuclear — In the nuclear field, these services can be used for decommissioning, seismic upgrades, and steam generator replacement. 
  • Heavy metal — Heavy metal industries use these services for projects related to decommissioning and size reduction. Selective demolition is also used to cut large metal structures for forensic testing.

Examples of Some of Our Selective Demolition Projects

One of the best ways to understand how selective demolition can work for your business is to understand how it has benefited others. Here is just a small sampling of some of Bluegrass Bit’s many precision demolition projects.

When to Call in the Professionals for Your Project

Selective demotion is a highly specialized form of destructive work. It involves proprietary processes and tools as well as the expertise of skilled workers with years of experience in the industry. 

Bluegrass Bit has built a global reputation as a leader in precision demolition projects. We have the capabilities, resources, and experience to take on the concrete and metal cutting and drilling elements of demolition jobs of any scope, anywhere in the world.

We offer diamond wire sawing, robotic hammering, core drilling, concrete shaving, and rail saw services to clients in various industries—onshore, offshore, and underwater. Contact us today for more information about how our specialized services can help your business achieve its goals.