June 13, 2013

On Rebar and Demolition

The building has been reduced to rubble. It was quite a classic apartment building, unfortunately.
I have a friend in Holland who is an architect/engineer, and every now and then she needs to go to a construction site to supervise the work; see if they’re doing what the plan says they should be doing, and if not, she comes in to correct or amend it.

I know this, because I once saw a pair of steel-nosed construction boots in her hallway, and I asked what on Earth she needed those for. It’s not like you can hike on them.  I said that sounded cool, 'working on a construction site', and she replied that it felt as cool as it sounded like. There’s not that many women in construction in Holland, not on the excavation site at least.
This guy squeezes the rebar into tight balls
There’s even fewer here. What am I saying, there’s none here, although there are female architects in town. Not on demolition sites like these, though. I like watching demolition. I share this habit with my dad, who is capable of pulling up a chair and spent an afternoon just watching this. No wrecking ball for Beirut, the proximity of other buildings makes it impossible. So what they do is first they break out the roofs. They do this by hand. Yep, a couple of guys and sledge hammers climb up and start breaking away. Once that is done, they send in the caterpillar which slowly reduces the building, bit by bit to rubble. 
Ready for Resale
We’re often (third world countries, that is) reprimanded by the west for the fact that we do not recycle our waste. At least, this is one complaint I constantly hear from the expat community here. “They do not recycle their plastic bottles.”
But actually, we do, and quite well. It is not us, the consumer, though, but rather a small army of entrepreneurs who dive the dumpsters and empty them of anything that is recyclable; plastic, cans, and metals.
He cuts its loose from the concrete
And that is the same with demolition. They are recycling the rebar. Rebar is used to strengthen the concrete used in buildings. The rebar in the concrete gets separated from the concrete by cutting it loose and then pounding and pounding it until they’re tight, transportable balls.
‘Lebanese contractors have started, over the past few years, recycling structural steel, rebar, or any scrap metal used in construction. This is because the resale value of this material is higher than the cost of recovery. ‘ (Source) 
He pounds the remaining concrete off the rebar
Rebar is almost 98% recyclable, and can be used to make new rebar. I wonder how though, because we don’t have any rebar recycle factories in Lebanon. We do have one rebar factory in Lebanon, called Blue Steel Factory, somewhere up North, but most of the rebar used in Lebanon is imported from Egypt.  I always thought they’d sent the recycled metal to Syria, but that obviously isn’t working anymore, but it seems we have a metal recycling factory as well. They say the export the materials. I wonder where too.
And this guy (who sits and watches) probably is the surveyor.
The concrete is another issue. Apparently it is recyclable as well, but we don’t do that yet.
 ‘In the city of Beirut alone, approximately one million ton of construction demolition waste (CDW) has been generated over the past two years.’ (source)
That could be the subject of another post. I think my train-of-thought went on a tangent here. What I was saying was that I like to look at demolition work. Are you still with me?
Another given at a construction/demolition site; The Demolition Couch. 


Anonymous said...

I've been reading your posts recently and they've been all interesting and cover a wide range of topics, good job! keep it up :)
This post was quite informative to me and next time I come across a demolition, I'll pay more attention.

Anonymous said...

I saw a wrecking ball take down an apartment building on Sidani Street once (last year maybe?). It was terrifying!

Anonymous said...

Yes you better pay good attention next time you pass a demolition site because she is a teacher and all readers of this blog will be asked to take an exam soon now. Let's hope we pass, or else...

duy pham said...

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