If the construction machines can drive up comfortably, and there is sufficient space for maneuvering, plus the entrances and exits are readily accessible, then the conditions for complex demolition work are perfect. In practice, this often remains wishful thinking. Münster, June 2019, 34 degrees. Who wouldn't be pleased to have air conditioning? Peter Elstermann, the driver of the longfront excavator at Hagedorn, is pleased that his machine has this. Meter by meter he carefully works his way forward with the crusher. Preparations for the upcoming dismantling have already been in full swing for a week. In the middle of the busy pedestrian zone in Münster's city center, a four-story building is to make way for something new. Salzstraße is considered the oldest trade route of the Westphalian university city. But the surroundings are not necessarily ideal for working with heavy equipment. The Hagedorn team is confronted with narrow alleys and listed adjacent buildings, such as the Dominican Cathedral from the 18th century.
A 100-tonne excavator in the pedestrian zone
Experience and extreme caution are called for here. This is because the longfront excavator, a 100-tonne digger with a arm length of 34 meters, is not particularly suitable for pedestrian zones. How can the excavator be maneuvered here? Where can construction waste materials be stored? What options are there for removing waste from the site? No easy task. In addition, the building to be demolished and the adjacent building share a common wall. This was a piece of information that the plans did not reveal beforehand with absolute certainty. In view of this, the common gable wall was separated by hand using morticing and sawing. After all, the building needs to remain stable during demolition. Safety first! The Hagedorn team succeeds in this with measures such as getting the fitters to cut through the reinforcements floor by floor just before demolition. Also, the building was shored up by professionals to ensure almost complete stability. To ensure that the neighboring buildings and the pedestrian zone are not damaged, Hagedorn put appropriate safety precautions in place. A sand bed was prepared to preserve the ground surface.
Final demolition with heavy equipment: Safety always comes first
To ensure that demolition can be carried out as smoothly as possible, a number of important things need to be taken into account in advance. These include tasks such as developing routes as well as drawing up schedules and safety plans. In addition, residents must be informed and the walls, ceilings, floors, statics and load-bearing capacity must be checked. Furthermore, the technical order in which the machines are to be used is determined well in advance so that all work can be carried out according to plan. Another consideration is that the City is deliberately scheduling the building demolition to be carried out at the same time as the planned renovation of the cathedral, as this is then already protected by the redevelopment project. The day of the final demolition with the longfront excavator is approaching. A demolition curtain keeps noise and dust pollution to a minimum. A few nights earlier, Peter Elstermann maneuvered the longfront excavator through the narrow streets of Münster with great precision and sensitivity. This allowed him to start dismantling the roof truss at the back of the building on Friday and Saturday. In order for Hagedorn to easily demolish the front portion of the building, Salzstraße will be completely closed. The team has just over ten hours to dismantle the 15-meter-high building. By the evening, 5,000 tonnes of construction waste will be generated. The red Hagedorn trucks transport the mineral and non-mineral waste – strictly separated and sorted – dumpster by dumpster. At 6 p.m., the demolition is considered complete. This means that the longfront excavator can be maneuvered like a raw egg back through the narrow streets of Münster and transported away as early as Monday night. At the same time, both mobile and zero-swing excavators are being delivered to take over the finishing work on the construction site, which will continue for a few more days. After extensive preliminary work and fast and precise implementation, the residential and commercial building in Münster's city center is history and space has been created for something new.