A Slower Pace

Features - Demolition

The nation’s largest demolition contractors remain active, but their pace of work has slowed since 2008.

November 16, 2010
Brian Taylor

Few sectors of the United States economy have been harder hit in the past two years than the construction sector, a circumstance that is clear to those involved in the demolition industry.

There are still demolition projects taking place throughout the country, but the pace for contractors has slowed considerably in 2009 and 2010.

For several years running—prior to the lending industry bailout of September 2008—real estate developers, retailers and other property owners were actively engaged in developing new properties. This work was often preceded by removing existing structures to make way for the new.

Demolition company revenue figures for 2009 demonstrate, in almost all cases, a drop off in activity that has been mirrored in 2010.

The companies appearing on Construction & Demolition Recycling magazine’s list of the nation’s largest demolition contractors continue to employ hundreds or dozens of people and continue to manage multiple demolition projects. Owners and managers of most of these companies, however, indicate that their companies have been competing for fewer bids in their home regions and widening their geographic range to maintain a revenue base.

At least one contractor contacted commented that 2009 marked the low point in activity for his company. He says that 2010 billings have improved and his current bidding activity is making him optimistic for another increase in 2011.

But the re-ignition of the construction sector cannot be taken for granted in 2011. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out in a late October article, McGraw-Hill Construction, Bedford, Mass., “initially forecasted a gain of 11 percent for 2010, but that projection proved to be overly optimistic. Construction starts are estimated to decline 2 percent from 2009 as a recovery in the housing industry stalled in the middle of the year, credit remained sparse and municipal budget deficits widened.”

The forecasters at McGraw-Hill are predicting that pent-up demand will lift construction activity in 2011. The company is estimating that the value of new projects will increase 8 percent in 2011 compared to the 2010 figures. McGraw-Hill sees gains in the single-family housing, apartment building and commercial property sectors.

Ideally, the return of investment dollars in new construction will begin to occur in 2011, providing increased activity for the demolition contractors on this list.

Click Here to view the list of 20 largest demolition contractors.

As our publication does with each list of this type, a disclaimer needs to be issued. This list can only be as good as the responsiveness level of companies in the industry.

To compile this list, the editors of Construction & Demolition Recycling solicited larger companies who are likely contenders for the list.

While the editors are gratified for the responses received, it is also true that several of the largest companies declined to participate, or we were unable to reach them. In some cases, estimates were made after consulting with industry sources and conducting Internet searches.

What we as a publication hope for in the future, however, is greater participation from the industry. This list is scheduled to be updated and republished every two years. For those companies who were missed by us or who did not respond this time around, we hope to make better connections in 2012.

If you work for one of these companies or know of another company that you suspect should be on this list but was not contacted (or did not respond), please let us know and we will make sure to let our readers know. Editor-in-Chief Brian Taylor can be contacted via e-mail at btaylor@gie.net, or give him a call at 330-523-5324.

We like to think that the largest demolition companies will take pride in the hard work performed by the company’s managers and employees and will want to claim their rightful place on a list that honors the most successful people in their field.