An asbestos-extinguishing robot is being used as a critical component of the demolition of the Pensacola News and Journal building located at Romana and Jefferson streets. This is in preparation for the construction of the 269-unit apartment building worth $50 million by Quint and Rishy Studer.
High pressure water is utilized by the robot to get rid of the layer of stucco on the facades of the building. The asbestos is subsequently vacuumed into a hose attached to the bottom of the robot.
According to Andrew Rothfeder, president of Studer Properties, the robot takes as much time and money to remove asbestos as an all-manual procedure. Laborers are still required to get rid of asbestos on the tops and bottoms, areas the robot cannot access.
Rothfeder adds that it doesn’t really help save time. Instead, the robot is used since it presents the most environmentally friendly way of removing asbestos.
The site was bought by the Studers in 2013 for $3.4 million. The apartment building has a wait list of 222 residents scheduled for occupancy in the spring of 2017.
Asbestos is a substance that had seen prevalent use in the 1970s in construction materials thanks to its cost, fire resistance, strength and heat insulation properties. The substance has been banned, however, after researchers found that inhaling asbestos dust can lead to cancer.
The robot has been in action since the middle of June. It should finish its job of Melbourne VIC asbestos removal within the next couple of weeks. The vertical structures are also targeted to be brought down by the end of July.
Rothfeder explains that as the asbestos removal takes place, the demolition company works behind the scenes and tears down parts of the building that has already been worked on by the robot.
The concrete foundations are scheduled for removal in August. There is also a planned soil remediation on the site’s northeast corner the following month. This is an attempt to address the issue of soil contamination that started in the 1940s and 1950s. Gas stations and other business establishments were erected at the site and the lax environmental laws led to the soil being contaminated.
The apartment building is scheduled to be constructed in November.
The developers made it a point to salvage certain materials during the demolition process. This is an attempt to minimize the amount of used materials going to landfills.
Rothfeder says that Studer Properties has made it a priority to recycle materials as much as possible. Their goal is to recycle 75% of the materials of the old building.
The architectural planning’s design development process should be done within a week. The next step is construction drawing, which should be complete before the end of September.
There have been two conceptual design phases already approved by the Pensacola Architectural Review Board. Rothfeder adds that materials review is scheduled for ARB’s meeting on September.