General Guidelines for the Demolition Of Selected Masonry Materials

Technical Procedures Disclaimer

Prior to inclusion in GSA’s library of procedures, documents are reviewed by one or more qualified preservation specialists for general consistency with the Secretary of Interior Standards for rehabilitating historic buildings as understood at the time the procedure is added to the library. All specifications require project-specific editing and professional judgement regarding the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers are to serve as a general guideline and do not constitute a federal endorsement or determination that a product or method is the best or most current alternative, remains available, or is compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards. The library of procedures is intended to serve as a resource, not a substitute, for specification development by a qualified preservation professional.


We’ve reviewed these procedures for general consistency with federal standards for rehabilitating historic buildings and provide them only as a reference. Specifications should only be applied under the guidance of a qualified preservation professional who can assess the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers serve as general guidelines and do not constitute a federal endorsement nor a determination that a product or method is the best alternative or compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards.



This procedure includes guidelines to follow for the selective removal and subsequent disposal of selected masonry materials.

Note: Historic materials should be retained whenever possible. Demolition of historic materials should not be undertaken without prior approval from the Regional Historic Preservation Officer. See also Section 3.03.B.3 below.


  1. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  2. American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI), 1430 Broadway, New York, NY 10018.
  3. "Manual of Accident Prevention in Construction" by Associated General Contractors of American (AGC).
  4. Basic Safety Code of state.


The procedures proposed for the accomplishment of salvage and demolition work shall be submitted for approval. The procedures shall provide for safe conduct of the work, careful removal and disposition of materials specified to be salvaged, protection of property which is to remain undisturbed, coordination with other work in progress, and timely disconnection of utility services. The procedures shall include a detailed description of the methods and equipment to be used for each operation, and the sequence of operations. Coordinate with owners continuing occupation of portions of existing building.


  1. Contractor Qualifications: Minimum 5 years' experience in demolition of comparable work.
  2. Regulatory Requirements:
    1. Requirements of Regulatory Agencies: Comply with applicable requirements of rules, regulations, laws, ordinances of City, Environmental Health Department; Environmental Protection Agency (National Emission Standard for Asbestos); other organizations having jurisdiction.
    2. Dust Control: The amount of dust resulting from demolition shall be controlled to prevent the spread of dust to occupied portions of the building and to avoid creation of a nuisance in the surrounding area. Use of water will not be permitted when it will result in, or create, hazardous or objectionable conditions such as ice, flooding and pollution.
    3. Photographs of existing conditions of structure surfaces, equipment, and adjacent improvements that might be misconstrued as damage related to removal operations. File with Owners' Representative prior to start of work.
    4. Patching of Work Outside Limits of Demolition Work: Should any existing work which is scheduled to remain be damaged as a result of work under this Contract, the Contractor shall repair or replace such affected work in a manner acceptable to the City and governing authorities. This work, if required, shall be done at no additional cost to the City.
    5. Contractor Furnished Permits: The Demolition Contractor shall be responsible for obtaining all required permits, such as Sewer Capping Permit, etc.; all costs for these permits shall be paid for by the Contractor.
    6. The Contractor shall arrange for disconnection of utility services, such as gas, electricity and telephone, to building to be demolished, in accordance with regulations of utility concerned. All equipment on site which belongs to a public utility company will be removed at this time. Utility companies shall also be responsible for capping supply ends of lines which are to remain.
    7. The Demolition Contractor shall seal sewer lines leading from structures; cap in approved manner at property line or where required by utility. Use capping and sealing materials required by utility.
    8. Contractor shall comply with the national emission standards for hazardous air pollution promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency, Code of Federal Regulation (CFR 40, Part 61), when demolishing any structure, facility, installation, or portion thereof which contains any boiler, pipe or any load-supporting structural member that is fireproofed or insulated with friable asbestos material.


  1. Occupancy: Owner will occupy portions of the building immediately adjacent to areas of selective demolition. Conduct selective demolition work in manner that will minimize need for disruption of Owner's normal operations. Provide minimum of 72 hours advance notice to Owner of demolition activities that will affect Owner's normal operations.
  2. Condition of Structures: Owner assumes no responsibility for actual condition of items or structures to be demolished.
    1. Conditions existing at time of inspection for bidding purposes will be maintained by Owner insofar as practicable.
    2. However, minor variations within structure may occur by Owner's removal and salvage operations prior to start of selective demolition work.
  3. Partial Demolition and Removal: Items indicated to be removed because of salvageable value to Contractor may be removed from structure as work progresses. Transport salvaged items from site as they are removed. Storage or sale of removed items on site will not be permitted.



Provide all materials necessary to perform demolition work as specified.



Prior to commencement of selective demolition work, inspect areas in which work will be performed. Photograph existing conditions to structure surfaces, equipment or to surrounding properties which could be misconstrued as damage resulting from selective demolition work; file photographs with Owner's Representative prior to starting work.


  1. Safety: Provide interior and exterior shoring, bracing, or support to prevent movement, settlement, or collapse of areas to be demolished and adjacent facilities to remain.
    1. Cease operations and notify Owner's Representative immediately if safety of structure appears to be endangered.
    2. Take precautions to support structure until determination is made for continuing operations.
    3. Cover and protect furniture, equipment, and fixtures from dirt or damage when demolition work is performed in areas where such items have not been removed.
    4. Erect and maintain dust-proof partitions and closures as required to prevent the spread of dust or fumes to occupied portions of the building.
      1. Where selective demolition occurs immediately adjacent to occupied portions of the building, construct dust-proof partitions of minimum 4-inch studs, 5/8- inch drywall (joints taped) on occupied side, 1/2-inch fire-retardant plywood on demolition side.
      2. Provide weatherproof closures for exterior openings resulting from demolition work.
    5. Locate, identify, stub off, and disconnect utility services that are not indicated to remain.
      1. Provide bypass connections as necessary to maintain continuity of service to occupied areas of building.
      2. Provide minimum of 72 hours advance notice to Owner if shutdown of service is necessary during changeover.
  2. Protections: Provide temporary barricades and other forms of protection to protect Owner's personnel and general public from damage due to selective demolition work.
    1. Provide protective measures as required to provide free and safe passage of Owner's personnel and general public to occupied portions of building.
    2. Erect temporary covered passageways as required by authorities having jurisdiction.
    3. Provide interior and exterior shoring, bracing, or support to prevent movement, settlement, or collapse of structure or element to be demolished and adjacent facilities or work to remain.
    4. Protect from damage existing finish work that is to remain in place and becomes exposed during demolition operations.
    5. Protect floors with suitable coverings when necessary.
    6. Construct temporary insulated dustproof partitions where required to separate areas where noisy or extensive dirt or dust operations are performed. Equip partitions with dustproof doors and security locks.
    7. Provide temporary weather protection during interval between demolition and removal of existing construction on exterior surfaces and installation of new construction to ensure that no water leakage or damage occurs to structure or interior areas of existing building.
    8. Remove protections at completion of work.
      1. If damage or settlement occurs to portions of the building to remain, immediately provide shoring to prevent further damage or settlement and prepare a plan for repair.
      2. The plan for repair shall be approved by the Contracting Officer before repair work begins.
  3. Damages: Promptly repair damages caused to adjacent facilities by demolition work.
  1. Traffic: Conduct selective demolition operations and debris removal to ensure minimum interference with roads, streets, walks, and other adjacent occupied or used facilities.
    1. Do not close, block, or otherwise obstruct streets, walks, or other occupied or used facilities without written permission from authorities having jurisdiction.
    2. Provide alternative routes around closed or obstructed traffic ways if required by governing regulations.
  2. Flame Cutting:
    1. Do not use cutting torches for removal until work area is cleared of flammable materials.
    2. At concealed spaces, such as interior of ducts and pipe spaces, verify condition of hidden space before starting flame-cutting operations.
    3. Maintain portable fire suppression devices during flame-cutting operations.
    4. Follow procedures in "Fire Prevention Precautions for Hot Work".
  3. Explosives: Use of explosives will not be permitted.
  4. Utility Services: Maintain existing utilities indicated to remain in service and protect them against damage during demolition operations.
    1. Do not interrupt utilities serving occupied or used facilities, except when authorized in writing by authorities having jurisdiction.
    2. Provide temporary services during interruptions to existing utilities, as acceptable to governing authorities.
    3. Maintain fire protection services during selective demolition operations.
  5. Environmental Controls: Use water sprinkling, temporary enclosures and other methods to limit dust and dirt migration.
    1. Comply with governing regulations pertaining to environmental protection.
    2. Clean adjacent structures and improvements of dust, dirt and debris caused by demolition operations, as directed by the City or governing authorities.
    3. Return adjacent areas to conditions existing prior to start of work.
    4. Do not use water when it may create hazardous or objectionable conditions such as ice, flooding, and pollution.
    5. Noise: Comply with rules and regulations of governing agencies for the use of air hammers and other noisy equipment during normal work hours.


  1. General: Perform selective demolition work in a systematic manner.
    1. Use such methods as required to complete work indicated in accordance with demolition schedule and governing regulations.
    2. Demolish concrete and masonry in small sections. Cut concrete and masonry at junctures with construction to remain using power-driven masonry saw or hand tools; do not use power-drawn impact tools.
    3. Locate demolition equipment throughout structure and promptly remove debris to avoid imposing excessive loads on supporting walls, floors, or framing.
    4. Provide services for effective air and water pollution controls as required by local authorities having jurisdiction.
    5. For foundation walls, demolish to a depth of not less than 12" below existing ground surface.
    6. Demolish and remove below-grade wood or metal construction. Break up below-grade concrete slabs.
    7. For interior slabs on grade, use removal methods that will not crack or structurally disturb adjacent slabs or partitions. User power saws where possible.
    8. For sidewalks and curbs, use removal methods that will not crack or structurally disturb adjacent walls, or curbs. Use power saws where possible.
    9. Completely fill below-grade areas and voids resulting from demolition work. Provide fill consisting of approved earth, gravel, or sand, free of trash and debris, stones over 6 inches in diameter, roots, or other organic matter.
    10. Do not cut structural steel except as specifically detailed.
    11. Refer to the structural drawings for demolition work requiring detailed sequenced procedure to protect remaining construction.
  2. Salvaged Materials:
    1. Salvaged Items: Where indicated to be salvaged and delivered to Owner, carefully remove indicated items, clean, store, and turn over to Owner and obtain receipt.
    2. Reused Items: Where indicated to be removed for reuse, carefully remove, clean, store and reinstall at locations indicated.
    3. Historic artifacts, including their contents, commemorative plaques and tablets, antiques, revolving doors and other articles of historic significance, remain property of Owner. Notify Owner's Representative if such items are encountered and obtain acceptance regarding method of removal and salvage for Owner.
  3. Disposition of Material:
    1. Title to all materials and equivalent to be demolished, excepting reserved items, is vested in the Contractor upon receipt of Notice to Proceed.
    2. The Government will not be responsible for the condition, loss or damage to such property after Notice to Proceed.
  4. Reserved Items: Remove items indicated as reserved property of the Government in a manner to prevent damage.
    1. Pack or crate in a manner to protect the items from damage in handling, temporary or permanent storage or shipment.
    2. Securely attach embossed metal tags to identify items prior to storage, in a manner not damaging to items.
    3. Deliver to the designated storage areas on the site or off the site as directed by the Government and place in permanent storage or reinstall in the work as required.
    4. Repair items damaged during removal, reinstallation handling or storage, or replace with new to match existing as acceptable.
    5. When directed, turn over items, damaged during removal, reinstallation, handling or storage, including broken pieces to the Government.
    6. The Government reserves the right to repair items and to withhold the cost of such repair from any payments due or becoming due to the Contractor.


  1. Remove from building site debris, rubbish, and other materials resulting from demolition operations. Transport and legally dispose of off-site.
    1. If hazardous materials are encountered during demolition operations, comply with applicable regulations, laws and ordinances concerning removal, and handling, and protection against exposure or environmental pollution.
    2. Burning of removed materials is not permitted on project site.
  1. Remove tools, equipment and protection, leaving interior areas broom clean.
  2. Repair demolition performed in excess of that required. Return elements of construction and surfaces to remain to condition existing prior to start operations. Repair adjacent construction or surfaces soiled or damaged by selective demolition work.