In popular culture the idea of demolition seems to be synonymous with a rebirth; the idea that by tearing apart an old decrepit building you are also exercising the run-down parts of yourself and making room for something to new emerge. The whole thing is viewed as almost a sort of spiritual cleansing, a physical path to self actualisation.
This idea is of course not new, just look at the myth of the Phoenix or countless stories of resurrection that permeate mythology. What is new, is the way that it seems to have attached itself to structural demolition.
Take for example a recent piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald in which the author links demolishing his late father’s shed to the emotional work of moving on from the death of your dad. Although we certainly can’t argue with the personal journey the author went one while dismantling his father’s beloved shed, as professionals in the demolition industry the story raised a few red flags with us.
The author talks about removing asbestos sheeting that was stored in the old shed, brushing it off as just another item to get rid off; however, getting rid of asbestos is dangerous and Australia’s disturbingly high rates of mesothelioma - one of the highest in the developed world - are in part due to home renovators removing or modifying asbestos without knowing what they are dealing with.
The other concerning part of the article is the author’s account of taking apart his fathers custom built and bizarrely constructed shed, armed only with a sledge hammer and a crowbar.
Going to town on an unwanted building with a sledge hammer may look cool on screen, but in reality if you don’t know what you are doing there is risk of injury from the building collapsing or debris falling.
This is why when we perform house demolitions we work systematically, carefully knocking down one section of the structure at a time.
A more extreme example of society’s fascination with demolition is the demolition party, which involves a group of party goes descending on a house doomed for demolition. What follows is exactly what you would expect from a group of intoxicated party goers given free reign to mistreat a doomed property; unsavoury words getting scrawked on every conceivable surface, windows get broken and walls get kicked in.
As you might have already guessed, damage to walls and fittings can often lead to asbestos exposure and the house becoming contaminated with dangerous asbestos fibres. For this reason we strongly advise against having a demolition party.
Don’t get us wrong, here at Home Demolitions we love a fresh start as much as the next guy (after all that is what we are offering our customers) but this ongoing narrative that demolishing a building is a spiritually cleansing experience shouldn’t exclude the dangers that come with someone untrained undertaking demolition works.
So please, next time you are think of getting all spiritual with a sledgehammer maybe try some yoga instead!