Feb. 19 - A construction company in Japan has developed a method of tearing down a building without the noise, smell or dust caused by conventional demolition. It's a novel but effective approach to deconstruction in densely built cities. Rob Muir reports.
Tokyo's Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka is a shadow of its former self - and it's shrinking by the day. Floor by floor the building is being demolished from the inside, a clean and efficient technique being used for the first time. It was developed by ther Taisei Corporation's Hideki Ichihara. (SOUNDBITE) TAISEI CORPORATION, CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT SECTION MANAGER, HIDEKI ICHIHARA, SAYING: "The cap which sits on top of the building will be jacked down in stages so the building you see behind me has been reduced from an original height of 140 meters and is now around 80 meters." And in six months, it will have disappeared from the skyline completely. From the outside, the demoliton s barely noticeable but inside, it's a hive of activity. Heavy machinery on the top floor destroys beams, columns and most of the floor itself, before temporary jacks underneath bring what remains of the floor, and the debris down a level. An interior crane then lowers the debris to the ground, a process that generates electricity for other equipment at the same time. In a densely built city like Tokyo, it's a practical alternative to methods used elsewhere in the world. (SOUNDBITE) TAISEI CORPORATION, CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT SECTION MANAGER, HIDEKI ICHIHARA, SAYING: "You can only use explosives to collapse a building under the condition that there are no other buildings around. But if you collapse this building using explosives, that building and the one over there will be affected so in conclusion, we obviously can't use explosives in Japan." But it's a method Ichihara says has application all over the world. Not only is it much cleaner than conventional demolition, its also much quieter, something Ichihara says is worth shouting about.