Costello Dismantling Co. Inc.

Demolition isn’t exactly the right word for what Costello Dismantling does. Instead of the average bulldozer and wrecking ball lineup, this company uses precision equipment such as excavator-mounted shears, grapples and electromagnets to meticulously break down buildings, bridges, tanks, dams and other structures into reusable and recyclable parts.

“Costello Dismantling uses the most sophisticated equipment available in the industry,” the company states. “[Our equipment performs] much of the work previously done with manual labor, greatly reducing exposure of workers to hazardous situations and greatly enhancing productivity.”

For Costello Dismantling, recycling and reusing have always been in fashion. So when many companies scrambled to develop precision demolition techniques, Costello was at the forefront, ready to serve a growing number of clients who favored the more cost-cutting demolition process that Costello and similar companies employ.

In January 2009, the company set to demolishing Quaker Fabrics – an old textile mill in Fall River, Mass. The mill consisted of 800,000 square feet of timber frames, granite walls and structural steel, with some components dating back to 1895. When the mill closed, investors sought to develop a commerce center in its place. The soil grade below the mill and the mill itself were incompatible to today’s building standards so the entire thing had to come down.

“Many factors were integrated to develop the strategic plan for executing the work,” President Daniel Costello states. “An abundance of very valuable, salvageable building materials made well-planned removal and recovery techniques an essential component of the demolition plan and work training for the project.”

Piece By Piece

For the structural steel, Costello used a fleet of five excavators with shears and grapples. Using this equipment, Costello Dismantling was able to take apart and process the steel into finished mill-ready grades of steel scrap. Given the excess space – an uncommon feature on New England construction projects – the prepared scrap was processed and stockpiled on site and later sold at peak market times. “In [that] current economic environment, markets for scrap commodities are driven by very specific demand,” Costello states. “When that demand is met, prices recede quickly. It is important to pay close attention to economic forecasts and consumer information and, above all, to have prepared grades of material ready to be able to fill and order when demand spikes.”

Using this “ready-set-go” formula, Costello was able to sell more than 2,000 tons of prepared scrap at fluctuating prices that reached more than $70 per ton. Scrap was sold at four order points close to peak demand times.

The timber portion of the building was made of southern yellow pine, also known as heart pine, antique pine and long leaf pine. It’s a well-known variety used around the world for buildings, flooring, cabinetry and other millwork. The company says it is a strong, durable wood but “can be very fragile if not handled properly” during dismantling. Because splinters don’t add up to much, Costello Dismantling devised a plan to recover as much undamaged wood as possible.

The company used high-boom excavators with rotating grapples. These offered excellent precision and control while removing individual pieces and resulted in the least physical damage to the wood. Wood was taken to a separate area for grading, de-nailing and packaging. “With well over 1 million board feet of lumber to deal with, the marketing effort was continuous,” the company states.

“In the end, buyers from 10 states and several foreign countries purchased wood that was located on trailers and sea/land containers right at the job site.”

The last material Costello managed to recover was the 50,000 tons of granite, an atypical material for 19th century mills, which tended to use brick, according to the company. “It became apparent very quickly that the stone had a great value for architectural, landscaping and masonry applications,” Costello states.

Some of the residual stone was crushed on site with concrete and brick to a desired grade. It was to be used for fill at the future project’s new grounds. The Costello team was able to limit environmental impact by reusing the residual stone while eliminating costly landfill fees, according to the company. In total, 100,000 tons of stone, concrete, brick, metal and wood was reused or recycled. Less than 2,000 tons of non-recyclables such as roofing material, insulation and non-metallic building materials was disposed. The end-result was a recycling and reuse rate of more than 98 percent without a single lost-time incident. 

“The Fall River textile mill had been a major center of industry for over 100 years,” according to Costello. “The property will be revitalized as a new commerce center, while components of the old mill will continue to live on in the local area and around the world in a new, revitalized form through the demolition and recycling process.”

Capable Company

The demolition of the Quaker Fabrics mill is just one of many examples of solutions Costello Dismantling provides to its clients. In 2008, the company demolished the Vincent Burnham Kennedy and Tilton Clinics at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Also, in 2004, the company was contracted by Alabama’s Fort McClellan base for a deconstruction pilot project, according to Construction & Demolition Recycling. Costello dismantled three old barracks to determine which method was the most cost-conservative. The first method used was taking each piece apart to get as many individual pieces possible. The second was to pull off small panels, a few feet by a few feet, with the help of workers and equipment. The third technique was to extract large modular panels, such as a large portions of the roof.

Costello told Construction & Demolition Recycling that all three had similar recovery rates but the third method was the biggest money saver. “We put the big panels on the ground, and it was easier to work with them,” Costello told the magazine. “That method fit better into our overall capabilities.”

Those capabilities Costello speaks of are certainly wide-ranging. The company’s services include total or partial demolition, with the ability to crush, pulverize, hammer and process building components. It also specializes in process equipment removal, in which it removes generators, conveyors, pumps, pipes and other machinery. It can also separate the equipment and recycle individual parts.

Another key service is deconstruction. Costello Dismantling can recover nearly every component of a building to be reused or recycled – a competitive advantage in the green construction world. “We also work closely with developers seeking LEED accreditation for their project to ensure the most environmentally conscious deconstruction methods are used,” the company states.

It Takes a Team

No matter what service it provides, Costello Dismantling credits its skillful people and advanced equipment that both promote precision demolition and safe workplaces. “Safety is paramount in our business,” the company says. “We are committed to reducing any risk to our workers and their surroundings. Each crew has a safety meeting before work begins that day, and safety issues are constantly evaluated as situations arise on the job. By using and maximizing the proper equipment, we reduce, and in most cases eliminate, exposure of people to potentially hazardous situations.”

But it’s not just equipment and Costello employees that help this company thrive; it also has the vendors surrounding Costello Dismantling to thank for its success. Those key partners include The Driscoll Agency Inc., C.N. Wood Co. Inc. and Enterprising Europa Inc.

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