Commercial Demolition FAQs: Your Biggest Questions Answered

commercial demolition with excavator

Updated January 23, 2023

Commercial demolition is the demolition or dismantlement of commercial properties, like office buildings, factories, stores, hotels, churches, and more. It requires greater caution and scrutiny than residential, so make sure you know what to expect.

We answer the following common questions:

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How is commercial demolition done?

Similar to residential demolition, there’s more than one way to demolish a commercial structure.

mechanical commercial demolition

Mechanical Demolition

The most common method for commercial demolition is the kind performed with heavy machinery, like excavators, bulldozers, wire rope pulls, wrecking balls, etc., as well as impressive technology for accuracy and safety.

This equipment requires highly qualified professionals and can create quite the mess and noise. Lots of dust, vibrations, airborne debris, and more are just some of the by-products of mechanical demolition.

If you have the right debris removal solution and the required permits, disposing of the debris isn’t a major headache.

This method is generally the most moderately priced option.

commercial demolition deconstruction


Deconstruction is one of the most rewarding methods of demolition, albeit a much slower and detailed process than standard mechanical demolition.

During commercial deconstruction, the building is deconstructed piece-by-piece using hand tools—opposed to heavy machinery—to carefully dismantle the building with the objective of recovering as much salvageable material as possible.

The process is essentially reverse construction, dismantling the structure from top-to-bottom, starting with the roof, and is an excellent way to recoup as much of your property as possible.

Note: During the process, larger machinery (e.g. cranes, shear legs, etc.) may be used to support the structure.

This method is more expensive upfront, but you can often recoup much of your investment by re-using or selling the salvaged materials.


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commercial demolition by explosion or implosion


The most efficient of all commercial demolition methods is explosion or implosion, but it’s typically only suitable when mechanical demolition and deconstruction aren’t an option.

There are public health concerns with this type of demolition, including environmental issues, damage to adjacent structures, flying debris, air quality concerns, noise, and more.

Demolition with explosives requires expert hands and skill.

Most structures, except timber and brick structures, can be adapted to this type of demolition.

Make sure you have all the documents and legal permissions to continue demolition.

Accurately calculated and controlled explosions ensure a commercial building comes down quickly, easily, and precisely.

When used, this is typically the least expensive commercial demolition method.


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How much does commercial demolition cost?

The national average for commercial demolition is roughly $4 - $8 per square foot.

However, the average square footage cost decreases as the square footage of the project increases.

Other factors that affect commercial demolition cost include permit fees, project size, building materials, whether or not hazardous materials are present, and debris cleanup and disposal.

asbestos inspection and removal

Are there certain requirements for commercial demolition?

The Clean Air Act states that the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulations must be followed during any commercial building demolition or renovation.

These regulations require that the owner or operator of the building notify the necessary state department before any demolition (or renovation) of buildings that could possibly contain a certain amount of asbestos takes place.

Particular operations are prohibited from releasing visible emissions into the air and are required to follow proper air cleaning and hazardous waste removal procedures.

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Commercial building demolition

Who can perform commercial demolition?

Under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, any contractor, inspector, supervisor, worker, management planner, or otherwise that works with asbestos-containing building materials in a commercial building must be accredited under a training program as rigorous as the EPA Model Accreditation Plan (MAP).


State and local agencies may have more stern requirements than those required by the federal government, so make sure you research the demolition and asbestos requirements for your state.

Because commercial demolition requires great care and knowledge, it shouldn't be taken on by just anyone.

With Hometown Demolition Contractors, you can get quotes from as many contractors in your area as you'd like. You can read their company profiles, see what other customers have to say about their services, and more.

Get free demolition quotes from providers in your hometown

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