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Everything You Need to Know About Commercial Demolition

Commercial demolition is a highly regulated industry with a series of tasks and specific equipment to demolish a structure safely. A commercial demolition project may be big or small, but no matter the size of the project, it is crucial to understand and define commercial demolition, the different types of demolition services, the steps of a project, how to determine the costs, and why you should hire the best team.

What is Commercial Demolition?

The National Demolition Association defines commercial demolition as “the partial or complete dismantlement of commercial properties, such as office buildings, shopping malls, hotels, and the like.” The purpose of a partial or complete demolition is to prepare new ground for building a structure by following safety practices. 

Other times, commercial demolition happens on structures that suffered damage due to environmental conditions or natural disasters, such as a fire, landslides, or earthquakes. No matter the case, partial or complete demolition services are required by trained professionals in the field. Below we’ll provide you with a list of different types of demolition.

Types of Demolition

Total Demolition

Total demolition refers to the complete and absolute removal of a building or structure using a variety of methods, such as explosives or using a crane or wrecking ball.

Interior Demolition

Interior demolition refers to the removal of interior walls, ceilings, or floorings to prepare or upgrade the interior of a structure. The core structure of the commercial building remains the same.

Selective Demolition

Selective demolition is just that; selecting what parts or sections of a building are demolished to upgrade a particular space to serve a new purpose, or simply make it aesthetically pleasing. 


According to the National Demolition Association, there is little difference between deconstruction and demolition, except deconstruction is a more labor-intensive process that will take longer to achieve. In addition, during deconstruction there’s a higher volume of materials that can be salvaged, repurposed, or recycled. 

At X West, we offer the following total demolition and building removal services, including infrastructure, roads, and organic materials that can be recycled or repurposed. 

  • Building demolition: when it comes to building demolition, our services include concrete, steel-framed, and wood-framed structures.
  • Selective demolition: under this demolition service, we remove concrete, steel, or wood structures while making sure the integrity of the building remains solid and undamaged during the process.
  • Rock breaking and haul off: many times, rock or boulders are too hard to excavate when preparing the ground for new construction. We use hydraulic hammers and equipment to break down and excavate the rock.

Regulated Industry

Demolition is one of the highest regulated industries as many demolition projects need to handle structures that suffered a fire, harsh weather, or have structural deficiencies due to the age of the building. Oftentimes, hazardous materials and toxic substances, such as asbestos or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are present in the materials of a building, and demolition must follow state and federal environmental regulations. 

Due to how the industry is regulated and the safety precautions for the workers, community, and the environment, there are several steps to complete a demolition project. 

Steps of a Demolition Project


A demolition permit may be required before work can start on a structure demolition, and at times, the permit requires a review from either the state or federal government. In the state of Idaho, the Department of Environmental Quality overviews all construction and demolition debris to ensure materials or waste are recycled to save money and avoid filling up landfills faster. 

There are also federal permit requirements for the removal and disposal of asbestos as stated in the Clean Air Act amendment of 1990. Note that site inspections will likely happen during the permit stage, and acquiring permits will cost money and time that should be implemented during the project management planning process. 

Clear Out the Building

Some commercial properties will have some type of furniture or appliances inside, so we need to determine if these will stay within the structure as part of the demolition process or if they can be removed before work begins. At times, clearing out the building will provide you with the option to reuse, recycle, salvage, or even sell any of the items. 

Safety Precautions

A site evaluation of the commercial building up for demolition ensures the type of safety precautions that need to take place for the safety of workers and the community. The site evaluation determines the type of materials in the building, such as concrete, metals, insulation, flooring or carpets, wood, wiring, pipes, tiles, or roof materials. Most of these materials have a market value, meaning they can be repurposed, recycled, or reused. 

During the site evaluation, the commercial building is checked for any dangerous or life-threatening materials, including asbestos, lead, or any other toxics. The information gathered from the process helps create a demolition project plan for the site.

Demolition Starts

After the permits are acquired, the building is cleared, and the safety precautions are in place; the commercial demolition takes place using one or more of the types of demolition. Hand-held tools or heavy machinery (or both) are some of the tools used during the process. Depending on the size of the project, commercial demolition can take anywhere from 2-5 days or a few weeks. 

Debris Removal

Disposal from a commercial demolition is quite different from sending items to a landfill. By properly removing debris, the demolition project can save money, and it even helps the environment. Materials are separated based on what they are, such as concrete, rock, wood, or bricks. Then, it is determined what can be reused and recycled and what goes to the landfill.

How Much Will Commercial Demolition Cost?

The cost for commercial demolition projects will vary depending on a few factors, including location, permits, the size of the project, the building materials and their conditions, square footage, labor and equipment, debris removal, or if any hazardous materials are present, such as asbestos. 

The industry standard cost for commercial demolition projects is anywhere between $4 to $8 per square foot up for demolition. Besides estimating costs based on square footage, another option to estimate cost is the total size of the demolition process. Note that the demolition company you hire to complete a demolition process in your area will also determine the final cost.  

Hire the Best Commercial Demolition Team

Unlike many “Do it yourself” (DIY) projects, you should always use the services of a professional and certified demolition company, such as X West USA. As shown above, a series of steps and safety precautions are essential to have a successful and safe commercial demolition.

As it is a highly regulated industry, we worked with the right equipment using safety training certifications to correctly perform demolitions. We also take pride in our customer-first service as we commit to daily communication with our clients while meeting deadlines, no matter the season. Our standards for sustainability are also high to ensure the minimal environmental impact on our Idaho Falls community.

If you are interested in hiring a professional demolition company, contact us at X West via phone at (208) 709-6962, or by completing our contact form to learn more about our services. We are a family-owned and operated business that proudly serves the Idaho Falls community. We would love the opportunity to help make your next project a reality.