Adamo’s Detroit Demolition Drive

A former automotive facility in Detroit, USA, is providing a major undertaking for Adamo Group Inc, a second generation demolition business that is celebrating 50 years in the industry this year. The company is currently engaged on demolition work at the former American Axle & Manufacturing Detroit Manufacturing Complex, where it is demolishing Plants 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9, in addition to removing the parking deck and powerhouse. Covering an area of 121,000 square metres (1.3 million square feet), structural demolition follows on from the removal of universal wastes and asbestos containing materials and the salvage of equipment and recyclable ferrous and non-ferrous materials. All the structures will be demolished down to grade level and handed over to AAM for final disposal.

The fact that the complex is actually situated over the boundary of the cities of Detroit and Hamtramck and is divided by Holbrook Avenue means that it effectively two separate sites, a fact that complicates the permitting process. In addition, other plants and facilities are remaining active on the site during the demolition work, requiring that utilities be re-routed before they were disconnected for the plants to be demolished.

Adamo is using 25 Cat, Volvo and Sennebogen machines on the work, including a Cat 385CL UHD high reach and other hydraulic excavators down to a Cat 312DL, equipped with multi-processors, grapples and shears, material handlers for sorting duties, wheeled loaders, water trucks and a concrete crushing plant. The company expects to complete the contract in early summer 2014 and anticipates that it will recycle more than 20,000 tonnes of ferrous, 62,000 tonnes of non-ferrous materials and more than 12,000 tonnes of concrete.’s-Detroit-demolition-drive

National Demolition Association Recognizes Top Environmental Projects

The National Demolition Association (NDA) is recognizing a number of projects that the association says help improve the “Quality of Life” of the surrounding community. The NDA, through its Fourth Annual Environmental Excellence Awards, highlighted the successes of 13 companies, who have permitted demolition projects that demonstrate significant environmental conservation and community improvement. The NDA announced the winners during the its 41st annual convention in Las Vegas.
“The Environmental Excellence Awards recognize NDA member companies which are true leaders in the area of environmental stewardship,” says Michael Taylor, NDA’s executive director. “Environmental stewardship is one of the demolition industry’s primary missions and these winning projects help illustrate truly dramatic efforts our members have made to make this a reality and improve the quality of life in their communities. The winning projects are the following:

Armstrong Industries and its nationwide ceiling recycling program, which the company says is the first of its kind in the ceiling industry. The goal of the recycling project is to reduce the environmental impact of new buildings while they are still on the drawing boards. Additionally, Armstrong is encouraging designers to take into consideration everything from product design and raw material selection to how products are manufactured and delivered to the jobsite when weighing their impact on the environment. Since its inception in 1999, the Armstrong Ceiling Recycling Program has recycled more than 123 million square feet of ceiling materials.

Demolition and remediation of the Merck Flint River Plant in Albany, Ga., which was performed by Brandenburg Industrial Service, Chicago. Through the project, Brandenburg cleaned up environmental hazards on the 100-acre site, enabling future development. Brandenburg subcontracted O’Brien & Gere for the demolition, asbestos abatement and environmental remediation of the plant. Work included the demolition and disposal of more than 5,000 tons of hazardous concrete, more than 10,000 gallons of impacted water, incineration of 200 tons of hazardous sludge, decontamination of all equipment, removal of all underground utilities, demolition of the main wastewater treatment plant and the crushing of more than 25,000 tons of concrete and asphalt to be sued as onsite fill. In addition, Brandenburg removed tons of contaminated block and asphalt.

Worcester Clock Tower historic reuse, Worcester, Mass. The project was performed by Costello Dismantling, Wareham, Mass. Through the project, Costello was able to deconstruct the 65-foot historic clock tower built in 1877 at the former Worcester State Hospital by hand, cataloging each piece so that the tower could be rebuilt in a different location on the site. Following the meticulous dismantlement of the clock tower by Costello, it will relocate on site as part of the new $300 million, 300-bed Worcester Recovery Center & Hospital.

Dust Control Program for Doyle Drive removal, San Francisco, Calif., performed by Dust Control Technology, Peoria, Ill. Dust Control Technology developed a model to control dust in large projects. With a 57-hour window for project completion, Dust Control Technology developed a comprehensive dust suppression plan using eight large-scale atomized misting machines to prevent all visible dust from the project area. The Doyle Drive project was a model for large-scale, open-area demolition dust control, which demonstrated the effectiveness of atomized mist technology.

Demolition at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, conducted by Lloyd’s Construction Services Inc., Savage, Minn. During Lloyd’s Construction Services’ selective demolition of Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center, the company was able to showcase the reuse of materials from the project by Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillagas that served as a model on how to effectively find outlets for seemingly unwanted materials.

Demolition and remediation of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco. For the demolition of the shipyard, Tetra Tech developed a unique U.S. EPA sampling method, which allowed for a two-day turnaround that produced defensible radiological data using gamma spectrometry. The turnaround sped up the remediation of radiologically contaminated structures and equipment onsite. In all Tetra Tech demolished nine major buildings and structures, 850 feet of railroad track, 700 cubic yards of asphalt, 350 cubic yards of concrete and 1,525 feet of sanitary and drainage and  sewer line.

Decontamination of chemical weapons facility in Anniston, Ala. NDA members involved in the project included URS Corp., San Francisco; and Spirtas Wrecking Co., St. Louis. The decontamination technique used kept thousands of tons of scrap metal out of landfills. Using high-pressure Nitrocision technology, URS Corp. and Spirtas Wrecking decontaminated the ANCDF Chemical Weapons facility. The technology used pressured liquid nitrogen to remove up to a half – inch of internal concrete surfaces that had come in contact with various chemical agents. The effort allowed the recycling of thousands of tons of steel, copper and other alloys rather than disposing of them as hazardous waste.

Decommissioning and demolition of a chemical manufacturing facility, performed by Adamo Demolition Co., Detroit; Bierlein Companies, Midland, Mich.; Louisiana Chemical & Demolition, Kenner, La.; Ontario Specialty Contracting, Buffalo, N.Y.; and Winter Environmental, Norcross, Ga. The project highlighted industry teamwork, safety standards and commitment to environmental stewardship. Since early 2012, general contractor CH2M Hill has orchestrated a project team consisting of Adamo Demolition, Bierlein Companies, Louisiana Chemical & Demolition, Ontario Specialty Contracting and Winter Environmental to decommission and demolish facility units and associated infrastructure deemed obsolete or outmoded. The project team worked safely to decommission, demolish and recycle more than 15,750 tons of ferrous and non-ferrous metals and has expended more than 240,000 man hours while maintaining an excellent record of safety and environmental compliance.

Dust Suppression A Key Element Of Adamo Demolition Projects

[Peoria, IL] — One of the nation’s leading demolition and environmental remediation specialists has completed the delicate teardown of a 6-story parking structure topped by a 2-story office building, which had been attached to a functioning hospital.  The 232,000 square foot edifice required close attention to dust control to prevent fugitive particles from creating a hazard for the hospital or a nuisance to the neighboring community.  Suppression was provided by high-efficiency atomized misting equipment designed specifically for dust control, part of the five-unit fleet of dust suppression machines at Adamo Group (Detroit, MI) that has become an integral component of the firm’s demolition services.

Adamo has become a name synonymous with demolition and site remediation, including many of the Midwest’s highest-profile projects.  The company is recognized throughout the region for providing demolition, decontamination, asset recovery and related services, consistently ranking in the top 20 of the nation’s demolition contractors by revenue and project volume.

When the firm laid out its plans to demolish the attached parking structure at the Methodist Medical Center of Illinois, company officials knew that it would be a “surgical” removal, one that placed great emphasis on comprehensive dust management.  “We’ve always been extremely diligent in our efforts to prevent the migration of fugitive dust off-site,” explained Project Manager Rick Cuppetilli.  “Containment is a component of virtually every project.” Dust management was achieved with a DustBoss™ DB-60, positioned according to the work area and wind direction.  Developed with a series of 30 specially-designed brass nozzles to atomize the water supply, the DB-60 uses a powerful 25 HP electric motor that generates 30,000 CFM of air flow (nearly 850 CMM) to launch millions of droplets per minute into the air.

The atomized spray has a throw of more than 200 feet (approx. 60 meters) under calm conditions, yet the standard carriage-mounted device is completely portable, allowing it to be located and aimed wherever it’s needed most.  The DB-60s have an adjustable throw angle from 0-50° elevation, and when they’re equipped with optional 359° oscillation, each one can cover more than 125,000 square feet (over 11,600 square meters or roughly 2.8 acres), which is more than 2½ standard American football fields.

“The unique engineering of the barrel, fan and atomizing nozzles creates a large, dense plume,” explained Dust Control Technology CEO Edwin Peterson.  “The droplets are primarily in the 50-200 micron size range, which is optimum for dust management in most applications.”

The Adamo crew relied primarily on a Caterpillar 385B Excavator with an MP-40 Multiprocessor to bring down the structure, which was located in a commercial area in the center of downtown Peoria.  Debris was trucked offsite, with materials recycled by local steel mills, scrap yards and concrete recyclers.  The takedown took approximately two months to complete.

Depending on the project, demolition equipment used and current wind conditions, crews either position the DustBoss units to oscillate over a large area or as a stationary barrier to prevent dust from carrying on the wind and migrating beyond job site boundaries.  On most jobs, the machines are powered by mobile generator.  Standing more than two meters tall (over seven feet), the DB-60 is fed by a 1-1/2″ hose with a cam-and-groove quick disconnect for coupling to a fire hydrant or other water source.

Direct-drive electric motors are used in the DustBoss fan-driven designs, which deliver several advantages over diesel-powered machines.  Electric motors are quieter than diesel engines, and they contribute no emissions at the jobsite.  Diesel designs typically include a complex arrangement of pulleys, belts and gears, which can require significant time and expense for ongoing maintenance.  Unlike a diesel motor, the maintenance requirements on the electric designs are extremely minimal, with lubrication of fan motor bearings recommended every 10,000 hours and an oscillation motor that is lubricated for life.  Despite the unit’s size, Adamo relocates the carriage-mounted DustBoss easily with a front loader whenever conditions dictate, which would be more difficult with a bulky diesel-powered design.  The DB-60 can also be moved manually by two adults. “Before we purchased our first DustBoss, we used conventional methods such as hoses, water trucks and ‘big gun’ sprinklers,” Cuppetilli continued.  “We also investigated foggers and other devices, but we didn’t feel they would be adaptable to the requirements of demolition projects.”  Atomized mist technology is one of the few suppression techniques that is effective on both airborne particles and ground-level dust.

“We first learned about atomized misting technology from an air quality inspector, who talked to us about its effectiveness in demolition applications,” he recalled.  “We were looking for better management and control from our dust suppression plan.”  Among the company’s objectives was using fewer labor hours to keep job sites in compliance, so staff could focus on core business activities.  The firm also wanted to improve the effectiveness of its dust suppression efforts, without placing workers near the demolition zone.

“Our initial encounter with Dust Control Technology was at the National Demolition Association convention in 2005.  We purchased our first DustBoss that same year, and it’s still running strong as part of our dust suppression fleet,” Cuppetilli said.  “It’s the best method of dust suppression I’ve seen in my 40 years in the demolition business, other than Mother Nature with a heavy rain storm.”

The technology has been so successful at controlling dust that the company reports significantly improved air quality readings, reducing nuisance dust to the point where it is no longer an issue.  With multiple DustBoss machines in its fleet to quickly form a network suited to nearly any worksite, the firm has positioned itself as a conscientious employer and environmental steward, able to comply with all applicable regulations.

Adamo Group, a second-generation family business founded in 1964 by John Adamo, Sr., is currently managed by two of his sons, Richard and John Adamo, Jr.  The firm has about 100 full-time employees year-round, a number that can grow to 250 during certain times of the year.  Supported by a strong infrastructure of engineers and management professionals, the company has developed into an experienced technical team that advises clients on seemingly endless environmental issues and regulatory mandates impacting demolition projects.  John Adamo, Jr. currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Demolition Association.  For more information, visit

Dust Control Technology is a global leader in dust control solutions, with expertise in demolition, mining, coal handling, ports and shipping, steel processing and material recycling.  The company specializes in atomized mist technology, with its entire focus on customized equipment for dust suppression and large-scale evaporation.  With the recent introduction of the DustBoss DB-100, the company’s largest model can now project a plume more than 300 feet (about 100 meters) on a calm day, blanketing as much as 280,000 square feet (26,000 square meters, nearly 6.5 acres) with a single full-oscillation machine. DCT equipment carries the industry’s longest warranty at three years / 3,000 hours, and can be purchased outright or rented from an extensive dust suppression fleet.

Job Security

When demolition contractors work a temporary job site, one of the most important responsibilities they have is to keep the general public out. For years, demolition contractors have installed temporary fencing, posted “Do Not Enter” signs and set up barricades to prevent the public from wandering onto the site.

However, as scrap metal prices have surged over the last decade, so too has the number of job site security measures that contractors use daily. Demolition contractors say theft of high-value scrap metals has become so prevalent in the industry that owners have had to expand security efforts at job sites in order to protect their assets.

Mike Casbon, senior demolition/construction manager of Environmental Resources Management, a global demolition and environmental remediation company based in Carmel, Ind., says the industry is integrating more security measures at job sites than in years past as a result of increased thefts.

“There is definitely more security now than there’s ever been because of the value of the commodities on site,” Casbon says. “The upsurge in copper and brass prices and the downturn of the economy has turned more people to try to recover things where they can, a reason there has been a large upsurge in job site theft of these types of materials.”

Casbon as well as others in the industry say theft at job sites is extremely common and contractors are employing various security techniques to protect their scrap metals, fuel, fleet, equipment and other valuables.

“If you don’t have control of your site, you don’t have control of your job,” Casbon says.

Guarded investment

Site security starts with perimeter fencing, says Rick Givan, special projects manager of Fiore & Sons, Denver. The demolition firm sets up a secondary fence, a “compound,” inside the general perimeter site where the company’s trailer, computers and other electronics as well as any specialized machinery are housed throughout the job.

It is in this fenced-in compound where Fiore & Sons houses one of its security tools: a guard dog. Givan says the guard dog is used in limited applications, mostly when the company is working with high-valued assets in poor neighborhoods, but it is practical. Fiore & Sons does not let the dog roam around the job site and leaves it out at night, he adds.

“The compound within the compound is a limited area where we can secure our assets. Often times if we have highly specialized equipment or attachments, we’ll also put a guard dog in the compound,” Givan says. “If your intent is to penetrate the outside fence and do something that is a crime, you have to climb two fences to get there and you’re the one at fault. You made the mistake,” he says, referring to the guard dog.

John Adamo, CEO of Detroit-based Adamo Group, says even if a site does not require temporary fencing, his company installs it anyway. Adamo Group offers demolition, environmental remediation consulting, real estate adaptive reuse and site preparation services. “We get it because it keeps the general public out,” he says.

Temporary fencing also protects the company’s custom-built portable trailer system. Some of the trailers are self-sufficient with solar panels while others are connected to portable light plants, another deterrent, Adamo says.

Adamo Group typically erects light plants at each job site to ensure the location is illuminated, he says. The company, which sees copper and aluminum targeted most often, is currently working on a 2-million-square-foot industrial site where workers installed nine temporary lights, Adamo adds.

To further protect nonferrous metals at night, Adamo Group usually hires a security guard, who may or may not be armed, Adamo says. He explains that he has heard horror stories of security guards at other contractors’ sites having a shootout with potential copper thieves. Stories such as those, Adamo says, show how times have changed. In the last 10 years, the value of nonferrous metals and the awareness of that value have escalated, he says.

“When the values weren’t as high 10 to 15 years ago, there wasn’t that much of a need to protect your investment,” Adamo says. “It was a progression of things; the security guard and the fencing have been something we’ve almost always done, but now we’ve done it at a much greater level.”

He likens it to a grocery store. “You certainly don’t want to leave the cash register open because someone is probably going to grab a bill or two. That’s how we look at these jobs. We’ve got these sites, people know they are being demolished, and if they believe they can go in and take the goodies out of it they will and we have to be mindful to protect that investment.”

Deterrent and aide

Adamo says other than having a full-time security guard on its premises, the second most effective security measure the company uses is cameras. The web-based cameras, which are installed on top of a pole or trailer, allow Adamo Group officials to view the site at any time from any device with Internet access. The company’s superintendents have portable tablets that give them the ability to check a job site at all hours, Adamo says.

Cameras have come a long way in terms of quality, he adds. Pictures from the camera used to appear choppy and the camera lens would often get fogged up from dust, he says.

Adamo says, “When we first started implementing web-based cameras about six years ago, the technology wasn’t there. We sunk a lot of money into doing this, and I thought we were on the losing end of it.” But, he goes on to say, “Over the last few years, the technology has improved the connectivity speeds and uptime that as long as we can keep our cameras running, we get good signals back.”

The company has not received good-quality pictures from its latest experiment: Adamo Group tested out fairly new and unfamiliar drone cameras. A camera sits on the helicopter-like robot that hovers throughout the site, snapping photographs as it flies over the job site, Adamo describes. The drone camera is not web-based but it is technology that Adamo Group may consider in the future, he says.

For Fiore & Sons, cameras act as a deterrent and an aide in preventing crimes, Givan says. The Colorado company sometimes positions a camera to monitor the site entrance as well as an overview of the location.

Givan says that cameras serve as an activity monitor; when a different company he worked for hired additional subcontractors to demolish a power plant in Texas, workers realized the subcontractors’ reports weren’t matching up. “After going back and reviewing the camera, you can see these trucks coming in and going out absolutely loaded with copper,” Givan says.

He adds, “Internal theft is an issue. Some of the greatest thefts that occur on the job site are done by the personnel or subcontractors to the contractor, which goes back to the cameras. If you have a suspicion, you can see.”

Casbon says camera technology has advanced significantly as he has witnessed cameras catching internal theft as it happens. Some workers stash metals in their lunchboxes while others sneak pieces in their trucks. Anyone who has been caught stealing has lost his or her job, all the way up to superintendents, officials warn.

“With the prices of copper and brass so high, your own employees may be involved in theft of these materials, and they think no one will notice these things going out. It’s a very big problem industrywide. We’re all searching for answers,” Casbon says.

To stop just about anyone from getting away with stolen equipment, Givan points to GPS-embedded equipment. Some machinery today is equipped with GPS coding so that if someone tried to get away with the high-dollar equipment, the owner could easily locate it. While equipment theft is less common, he warns that it does occur.

“There is a general knowledge of being more security conscious for two reasons: First, shear liability if there is an accident, and second, you have high-value equipment on the site,” Givan says. “If you come up short, then you want to know why.”

Protected piles

To keep track of materials as a building is being demolished, demolition contractors segregate salvageable materials into separate piles at each job site. Casbon says it is ideal for recycling as well as getting the high-value metals off-site as soon as possible. Contractors work with scrap dealers to remove those assets as quickly as possible at the beginning of the job, he adds.

Casbon says, “If you know you have a lot of high assets in a building, you’re going to do anything you can to protect those. During the removal process, instead of the open roll-off box, [demolition contractors] have gone to locked containers, heavily locked and armored, to keep people from stealing materials.”

Adamo says one locked container could add up to several thousands of dollars in value, so “any high value metal you would see accumulated throughout the day is put in a box and taken off-site by the end of the day.”

To protect piles of material that do sit overnight, Adamo says he has buried them with brick and concrete; hidden them in basements of buildings on-site and covered them with yellow caution tape. He has heard of others painting a stripe across the pile or placing heavy machinery buckets on top.

“It’s very difficult to monitor everything, but it helps when you have controls in place. People see a camera and a light plant going and they stay away,” Adamo says.

Adamo Helps Deter Heidelberg Project Vandalism

In response to the recent vandalism of the famous Heidelberg Project in Detroit, Michigan, the Adamo Group has helped fund a remote control construction site surveillance camera system, or MobiPod. The DP MobiPod was supplied and installed on March 11, by Digital Planet, an IT systems development and solutions firm headquartered in Livonia, Michigan. Adamo Group is pleased to assist the Heidelberg Project, the ATF, and the Detroit Police by providing another tool for fighting the recent rash of arsons in the art district neighborhood.