The Use of Hydraulic Equipment in Demolition

Building Demolition by Hydraulics

When one thinks of building demolition, the usual image that comes to mind is a tower block or an old, industrial structure being taken down with a succession of detonations caused by rigged explosives, but this isn’t always necessarily the case as this YouTube video shows, alternate demolition methods are very prevalent in the industry and offer several advantages over the more traditional method using exothermic reactions-namely, using hydraulic pumps (examples of which can be seen at to remove the supporting structure.

Firstly, as the video above suggests, demolition can be controlled considerably more easily and safely with large-scale pumps and hammers than with traditional explosives; as opposed to a comparatively uncontrolled series of detonations the action of the pumps creates no blast radius and is able to remove wall sections in a vertical arc as opposed to creating a wide spread of debris that needs to subsequently be cleaned up. Aside from this, the logistics of having to care for, protect and secure high explosives demands considerable resources, whereas hydraulic pumps despite needing fairly regular maintenance to ensure their continued good functioning require a little less looking after.

Pumps can be used both by hand and set up to work in a sequence; the hand-powered pumps going from 60 lbs. to 120 lbs. can be highly effective on smaller-scale projects, although the strength needed to operate the heavier pumps can be a serious drain on a worker’s energy, as long as this is accounted for correctly such tools can be ideal for removal work where larger, more complex machinery may be unable to reach or may be too cumbersome. Hydraulic splitters for example work within existing drill holes to apply easily-controlled, lateral force to break the concrete from within. The advantage of using air-powered pumps as opposed to gas or electric models as the duality of being able to power the drills used to create the holes in the first place, removing the need for extra equipment for contractors to carry around with them.

A recent example of the successful use of hammers can be found here, where an outdated parking building attached to a hospital was successfully dealt with by using a mixture of techniques. Vibration restrictions on-site due to the proximity to the hospital led to the use of small hammers to chip the supporting columns free in order to utilise the LXP 500 that did the majority of the legwork on the project.

Reuben Dickison is semi-retired freelance writer and blogger currently living in the United States. He holds degrees in Marketing and Public Administration with past jobs including consumer financial management, and private business management training and consulting. He has a passion for home renovation and construction and contributes to a variety of DIY publications.

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  • peterhan July 4, 2016, 1:23 AM

    the demolition effect in video show is excellent, I still don’t know how hydraulic pump precisely control the demolition


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