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Structural demolition of an office building
During the demolition, water is sprayed onto the demolition site so that the fine dust does not spread over a wide area.
Prototype of a machine with a demolition cutter on the cooling tower of the Mülheim-Kärlich nuclear power plant in summer 2018

Demolition , demolition or dismantling , in Austria also demolition , refers to the complete or partial destruction and disposal of structures of all kinds in the construction industry . The demolition itself takes place through processes such as tearing, removal, dismantling, smashing ( wrecking ball ) or the use of controlled blasting. Blasting is preferred for larger structures , provided local conditions allow. If only parts are to be torn off, more "gentle" demolition devices such as wall saws and core drilling machines are used.


Most demolition work requires special demolition permits detailing the demolition procedure. A demolition permit may also be required in the event of a partial demolition within a house, especially if load-bearing components are to be removed or if fire protection- relevant components are affected by the demolition measures .

It is often torn down in order to erect a new structure on the area that has become free. In the case of partial demolition, there are often changes in the form and quality of the building fabric. Since not only the demolition, but also in a demolition planned construction or demolition House occur special risks, hedging against unauthorized access is particularly important. Difficult demolition projects (e.g. demolition with large equipment, blasting, etc.) may only begin once the demolition contractor has received a written demolition instruction on the construction site. This work is carried out by building mechanics for demolition and concrete cutting technology . The planned safety and health protection measures must be coordinated with the safety and health protection coordinator (SiGeKo). The focus of the individually determined measures depending on the demolition project is on the one hand to guarantee the statics of the surrounding buildings. On the other hand, it must be ensured that residents, passers-by as well as those on the construction site are not exposed to any danger. In order to ensure that there is sufficient breathing air, water systems are often used to bind the amount of dust produced during the demolition.

Especially in the case of concrete buildings , demolition can be a process of months with a lot of noise and dust . One of the best-known examples is the demolition of the Palace of the Republic in Berlin , which was carried out from 2006 to 2008 .

Demolition, demolition and dismantling

The terms demolition , demolition and dismantling are used synonymously. They are often used in conjunction with the adjectives in an orderly , systematic or selective manner . However, this is a tautology or a pleonasm in that a demolition is always organized, systematic and selective.

In practice, the term “dismantling” has established itself as it sounds less brutal (see also euphemism ).

A distinction is made depending on the type of building structure: The non-structural demolition is also called gutting and is usually necessary before the “actual” structural demolition. With him, the static building structure is retained and only non-load-bearing components are removed, e.g. B. non-load-bearing (drywall) partition walls, ceiling suspensions, floor coverings, doors, windows, wall and ceiling coverings, etc.

In the case of structural demolition , on the other hand, structural (= load-bearing, statically relevant) components are torn off. These are mainly reinforced concrete and masonry (see structural analysis ).

Dismantling also occasionally includes clearing out ( clearing out ), i.e. removing all loose parts in the building so that it is empty.

Demolition process

The different demolition methods that can be used individually and in combination are as follows:

Sometimes a wrecking ball is used


Demolition of a chain of high-rise buildings in Ludwigshafen-Pfingstweide , 2009
Demolition of a GDR residential building in Markneukirchen , 2010

The demolition of structures means the controlled demolition of complete buildings as well as extensions and conversions as well as floors.

The demolition of power plants, especially nuclear power plants , and also its financing was considered an unsolved problem for a long time - among other things, because when planning and building the plants, apparently nobody thought about demolition after the final shutdown.

Since the Second World War, many thousands of kilometers of railway lines have been shut down in Europe and then dismantled. Some of them became cycle paths . Railway connections of industrial companies ("industrial track") were also dismantled in this way.

Urban development and regional planning

Extensive, partly extensive demolition measures took place in France in the suburbs of large cities and in eastern Germany after reunification . In France, the main purpose of the demolition was to eliminate social problems . In Germany, the demographic development is the decisive factor for urban redevelopment in the new federal states . In the western federal states, as in Bremen - Osterholz - Tenever, the demolition was initially carried out for social reasons. Here, too, the decline in population will become more important for the so-called demolition in some regions.

The demolition of previously commercially used areas is being carried out in order to recycle unused properties. Through the conversion of already built-up urban areas relationships are maintained or recovered and avoided the seal land surface.

Partial demolition

If an approved complete demolition of a structure is only partially carried out and the remaining remainder is then to be put back into permanent use, the partial demolition must be applied for like a new building in accordance with Section 29 (1) BauGB.

Historical demolition methods

Before heavy construction machinery could be used to remove buildings , structures were usually demolished using human muscle power with a hammer or pickaxe . Already in the Middle Ages, buildings that were no longer needed were partially destroyed by deliberately set fires , which, if handled carelessly, often caused larger fires than planned. The tearing down of walls by pulling them through ropes, possibly in combination with winches, was a method used early on.

Basically, however, in the past, attempts were made to incorporate as much of the old building fabric as possible into a new building. This saved the demolition work. If it was canceled anyway, the reuse of the old building material and therefore its careful salvage was common. Since demolition work has become easier, faster and cheaper today through the use of machines, demolition and new construction is often preferred to the costly renovation of a building; Also, today's building regulations often speak against the retention of old building fabric, as it does not comply with them. This is a particular problem for monument preservation .


See also


  • Demolition in civil engineering ; Course letter TU Dresden, 1989

Web links

Commons : Demolition  - collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. demolish . Duden online; Retrieved August 4, 2014
  2. Dismantling and gutting. Retrieved October 24, 2017 .
  3. Ulrich Schneider: Land recycling through controlled demolition: Resource-saving demolition of buildings and industrial facilities ISBN 978-3-540-62080-8 , p. 3.
  4. ^ Sigrun Kabisch, Matthias Bernt, Andreas Peter: Urban redevelopment under shrinking conditions: A social science case study . ISBN 978-3-8100-4171-5 , p. 17
  5. Wolfgang Thielke: At the end of eternity. - The designers of the 1960s built their power plants for long periods. Now the first kilns are being demolished. A new industry is growing out of this . In: Focus , No. 6/1996
  6. ^ Hans Büchner, Karlheinz Schlotterbeck. In: Building Law . 4th edition. Volume 1. Kohlhammer, 2010, ISBN 978-3-17-021527-6 , p. 153.