Deconstruction and Demolition FAQs

Issued: 11 March 2011

What is the difference between “deconstruction” and “demolition”?

Sometimes it is important to carefully take a building apart for heritage restoration reasons, for identifying victims or for other similar reasons; this process is called “deconstruction”.

In contrast, other buildings may simply need to be taken down for public safety or other reasons and there is limited concern about analysing the building materials or putting them aside for reconstruction; in those cases the buildings are said to be “demolished”.

Who conducts deconstruction of buildings?

The deconstruction process is initiated by Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) operational requirements.

What is the process for deconstruction?

An engineering report supported with photographs is submitted to the Demolition Team.

The Demolition Team contacts:

  • The owner – to inform of the need for deconstruction and to seek any pertinent information and identify significant personal possessions which may be able to be recovered in the process of deconstruction.
  • Tenants – there will also be an attempt to contact tenants of properties for information.
  • Heritage where such a classification exists at that property or next door properties.
  • Lifelines service for input on critical utilities – communications, energy, etc.

The report is presented to the Director of Operations for sign-off and is then handed back to USAR for their final consideration of added information. USAR presents the report to the National Controller for sign-off before any deconstruction work is undertaken. Once signed, the work is tasked within USAR operations.

What is the process for demolition?

The demolition process is similar to the deconstruction process. The only real difference is that the work starts with

  1. the property owner initiating a demolition request or
  2. our Civil Defence-tasked Engineers identify buildings requiring demolition.

In both these cases we require Certified Engineer reports and photos supporting the demolition request.

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