When most people hear about demolition projects, they immediately think of movie scenes where a tall concrete building implodes amid a ball of explosive dust. Although our expert demolition teams at ACECO certainly raze multi-story structures, we also specialize in services such as historic demolitions and renovations, hazardous material abatement, and facade removal or retention. With every project we take on, we make safety our top priority, and you should too.

Focus on Safety

Whatever demolition, renovation, or abatement requirements you may have for your commercial property, your first priority should always center on the safety of everyone involved, including employees, an engineer, inspection personnel, and demolition and cleanup crews. Nearby vehicles and pedestrians must also be kept safe.

Begin With a Plan

Safety personnel need to evaluate building areas where demolition will take place and review the project proposal with the building owner or manager. At ACECO, we put together an anticipated hazard analysis and discuss it with the work crew and property manager before demolition begins.

Choose Demolition Experts

The right demolition company not only knows the procedures needed to complete your project but also understands critical precautions for everyone’s safety. Make sure professionals you consider practice detailed safety protocols.

If you are contemplating demolition, abatement, or renovation projects on your commercial property, contact the professionals at ACECO today. We are happy to answer questions and ensure the safety of your undertaking.

Environmental Concerns

Unless your building is less than 40 years old, there is a very good chance that you will have some environmental remediation issues that will need to be addressed.  At a minimum, you will have refrigerants and perhaps mercury thermostats and mercury-vapor light tubes to properly remediate. 

Most likely you will need to secure the services of an industrial hygienist/testing agency to perform a survey on the property to identify known or suspect asbestos, lead, or other hazardous materials.  It is vital that they do a thorough job and identify even suspect materials, provide a location of these materials, as well as an estimated quantity. 

Many times, these testing agencies will perform what are called “non-destructive sampling” surveys.  These are actually incomplete surveys that are done in cases where the building may be occupied or where there is concern over compromising the weather integrity of the building.  As a result, window or joint caulking and glazing, roofing layers and membranes, pipe chases within walls, and flooring layers and mastics below existing floor finishes may all not be properly tested and identified as asbestos-containing materials. 

These untested materials will still need to be abated, and project costs and schedule extensions can increase exponentially as a result of incomplete surveys.  Here again, a reputable and experienced demolition/remediation subcontractor can help to identify such problem areas at bid time to help prevent unexpected costs and schedule impacts.

Recycling, Reuse, and LEED-

By using reputable contractors for your project, it will not be difficult to obtain extremely high recycling ratios.  Concrete, masonry, stonework, terra cotta, and gravel can all be recycled and reused, sometimes right on site for subgrades, drainage, or roadways.  All metallic material, to include ferrous and non-ferrous metals, wiring, piping light fixtures, MEP components, light-gage metal stud framing, aluminum ceiling grid, aluminum or steel window frames, curtainwall, or storefronts, and even rebar can and should all be recycled to the fullest extent possible. 

In most cases, demolition materials such as drywall, ceiling tile, glass, or carpeting can not be recycled due to concerns of the recycling stream becoming contaminated by unknown asbestos or lead from older buildings.  However, during the build-back or fit out of a renovation project, new scraps and extra new materials in the form of drywall, lumber, ceiling tiles, carpeting, glass, and insulation can often times be recycled to add to the project’s LEED score

Occasionally, existing fixtures such as toilets, sinks, bathtubs, radiators, and other architectural components can be donated to local charities to help the needy.

Indirect Marketing: Interaction with the Public and Traffic

During the course of a renovation or raze and re-build project, the local community can be either a great advocate or a formidable adversary.  It is important to get off on the right foot with local interested parties and neighbors as early as possible. 

You can do this in many ways.  By notifying and keeping them informed of the plans for the future of the site, and the ways this will benefit them and enhance their community, you can assuage their fear of the unknown or of an unwanted development. 

By working hard to ensure comprehensive MOT (maintenance of traffic) plans, you can help to alleviate the unavoidable traffic impacts that will occur from a major project in the neighborhood.  By clear, concise marketing, advertising, and signage, you can keep the public informed and interested in the transition that is occurring daily before their eyes. 

If a perimeter site barricade is required, consider creating safe viewing ports so that passersby can witness the progress of your project.  The more informed and engaged you can keep the surrounding community, the better word of mouth advertising you will have for your endeavor!


Whatever type of project you may have in mind that requires change, modification, updating, or removal of your existing structure, ACECO can help.  We are often asked to get involved in conceptual planning, providing rough-order-of-magnitude (ROM) costs for these conceptual plans, and helping to troubleshoot, sequence, and provide schedule input for projects from beginning to end.

  We know from over 85 years of experience what types of conditions, trouble spots, and pitfalls to look out for, what contingencies to plan for, and how to perform complicated work in restricted spaces.  Let us put our years of experience and stellar safety reputation to work for you. Contact us today for more information on how to get started.

Our Latest and Greatest Demolition Machine: The Brokk 170

ACECO is pleased to announce the addition of a new model of BROKK Robotic Demolition Machines to our existing extensive fleet of these powerful and innovative tools.

The BROKK 170 Remote-Controlled Electric/Hydraulic Robotic Demolition Machine increases ACECO’s capabilities and further separates us from our competitors in many ways.

The BROKK 170 RDM  is one of four new models of next generation BROKK machines that started being released in 2018 and 2019, and which all feature the BROKK proprietary SmartConcept system, which consists of the combination of SmartPower, SmartDesign, and SmartRemote technology to improve performance and increase uptime.

The Power Behind This Demolition Machine

SmartPower is a new BROKK feature that maximizes power output to the machine depending on operating conditions.  Demolition sites can vary widely in the sources and consistency of electrical power, be that from existing site power or from generators.  Length of supply cable, disparities in supply voltage and amperage, and erratic power generation components can cause voids, surges, and brown outs which can all destroy electrically powered machines.  The SmartPower system protects the RDM from damage by compensating for the shortfall or surge to provide a consistent amount and level of power.

Smart Design = Less Maintenance

SmartDesign is incorporated to extend the BROKK 170 RDM’s service life and provide easier daily, weekly, and periodic maintenance.  More accessible grease points, hydraulic hoses and hose connection points, and fewer cables translate into more consistent and faster service.  All LED lighting provides longer-lasting illumination to reduce service and replacement of light sources.

Powerful Communication Systems

SmartRemote technology includes improvements in ergonomically designed controls, better support straps with more adjustability for long-duration comfort and placement, better cord-free radio communication systems for wireless operations, and easier-to-see read control labeling.  The added capability provided by the SmartRemote technology increases the range of wireless operation to an incredible 984 feet!

This Demolition Machine Packs Raw Power

As for added capability, the new BROKK 170 operates up to five times faster than a comparable-capacity mini-excavator, with virtually ALL of the hydraulic output transferring to the tool of the machine, versus a much smaller percentage when using a mini-ex.  More power where it counts means better production with smaller-sized equipment.

Tight Spaces? No Problem

Weighing in at only 3,525 pounds and sized to be able to fit through a standard doorway, the BROKK 170 can deliver incredible capacity in tight spaces and inside of most modern structures without a need for re-shoring or support.  The wide stance created by the BROKK 170’s four extending outriggers means a very stable and secure working base with a large footprint to spread the machine’s weight over a larger area.

Customizing Options

The new BROKK 170 can be equipped with a high-output hydraulic hammer/breaker that is capable of outproducing anything in its class.  When noise or vibration are of paramount concern, cracking and processing jaws are optional attachments that can demolish concrete slabs, beams, and columns with minimal disturbance, making this an ideal solution for work in tenant or resident-occupied structures.

The BROKK 170 RDM can also be equipped with demolition grapples, clamshell buckets, metal shears, and concrete pulverizing jaws, making it an incredibly versatile machine that we are proud to include in our lineup. 

ACECO maintains and operates the largest, newest, and most varied BROKK RDM fleet in the Mid-Atlantic region. Our machines are routinely used on a vast majority of projects ranging from such as office towers, hospitals, parking garages, and other spaces.

So, you have an existing commercial building and wonder what the best and most profitable use for it may be-

There are many decisions to be made, and many pitfalls you’ll want to avoid along the way.  In this two-part series, we’ll explore some of the basic core issues you will need to factor into your plans.

Location and Best Use

Do you have an existing multi-story office building in a desirable location that would be ideally suited for conversion to residential use?  Do you have an industrial or warehouse building that would be ideally converted to mixed-use or lifestyle (gym, health club, etc.) use?  Do you have an outdated looking building that could be totally transformed with a façade replacement?  Do you have a less-than-desirable building that is occupying space on valuable property that would be ideal for re-development if the building were to disappear?

Perhaps there are local or federal incentives for redevelopment that you will want to capitalize on, or possible hurdles caused by local opposition to what you may have in mind that will sway your final decision one way or another.  At the end of the day, an ideal project is one which fits or fills a need of the local community, and which is going to be a welcome addition to or help the revitalization of that community. 

Design and Development: Selecting the Best Team

Although you may have what you think is a great and solid plan, design professionals are critical to making sure your ideas are feasible and consistent with what is allowable and marketable in your particular situation.  You will want to make sure to hire a design team (architects, engineers, general contractor, and marketing/advertising professionals) who will listen to your input and work to incorporate your best ideas into the best and most marketable features of the project. 

Understanding The Project

Knowing the type of work to be performed and having a solid track record and proven history of successfully completing these specific types of projects is critical to the success of this team and this project.  Designs that do not lend themselves to simple applications in structural support, layout and flow of mechanical systems, or excessive intricacy of facades and architectural features can drastically and unnecessarily increase costs. 

Benefits of An Experienced Team

Additionally, you want a team that is thorough and experienced to reduce and/or significantly limit the potential for change orders and unforeseen work scope.  The more clearly you can detail and identify existing conditions, the less chance for opportunistic subcontractors to take advantage of unknown or hidden conditions that can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in change orders.  You will want to ensure that only the best and most reputable subcontractors are part of your team to ensure that they wont take advantage of hidden conditions, and will instead proactively assist to identify potential trouble issues at bid time.

Re-purposing Your Existing Commercial Building Part 1: Conclusion

There are many things to consider when re-purposing your existing commercial building, but if you take your time to fully grasp the demands of your project and hire an experienced team, you will be well on your way to successful redevelopment. This is a two-part series on re-purposing your commercial building. In part one, we looked at some of the basic issues you need to factor into your plans. In part two, we will discuss relevant Environmental Concerns, Recycling, Reuse, LEED, and Indirect Marketing: Interaction with the Public and Traffic. 

Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

If you are contemplating demolition, abatement, or renovation projects on your commercial property, contact the professionals at ACECO today. We are happy to answer questions and ensure the safety of your undertaking.

Have you ever seen a building and been in awe by its architecture? Who doesn’t love strolling around the nation’s capital and wondering about old buildings’ pasts? It’s more than fascinating. There are benefits to commercial historical restoration through well-planned and executed demolition.

What Is Commercial Historical Restoration (CHR)?

CHR is the process of restoring or rehabilitating old buildings. Existing buildings can either be restored to their former glory or they can be repurposed to support new needs. Buildings that undergo adaptive reuse are completely transformed to prolong their building life and provide a positive update in the community. Like how an old mill can become a building full of restaurant space and a historical building can be restored to its former glory which is up to date building codes.

Why Is CHR Important?

An obvious advantage to CHR is how the property value can increase, which makes for higher leasing options. The improved building becomes something more aesthetically pleasing. Because it will perk up the neighborhood, it improves the value of the properties around it. CHR is a central tenet to community revitalization efforts, which strive to get fresh businesses into the newly improved spaces, especially community or culturally oriented entities like restaurants, theaters, and museums.

How Does CHR Work?

There are lots of methods of applying CHR to a property. Specialized selective structural demolition involves carefully removing or improving sections of the building that are part of the structure, like mezzanines or concrete stairs. This is a consequential portion of ACECO Demolition, our special projects division has proven experience handling complex and intricate historical restoration demo.

Interior and exterior selective demolition involves removing, improving, or protecting non-structural parts of the building, such as glass curtain wall systems to storefronts.

Heavy mechanical, electrical or plumbing demolition involves removing complex systems or, more often than not, specific parts of them.

Why Use ACECO for Your CHR Needs?

There is a myriad of details involved in the remastering of an old building. If you have a vision of producing a commercial historical restoration project, call ACECO to help. We have the industry experience and established safety protocols to ensure a successful project. Give us a call today at 301-588-0707!

Historic Building Conversion Of The Carnegie Library building to the new Apple Store in Downtown D.C by Aceco