Demolition in Christchurch

Today, the 13 storey police station building was demolished by implosion. It was damaged in the earthquakes four years ago. It took about 10 seconds and you can watch it here. This is only the second building in Christchurch which has been demolished using implosion. The first one was the Radio Network House in April 2012. This is not a suitable method of demolition for most buildings. It depends on many things, especially how close it is to other buildings.

In fact it took a lot longer than 10 seconds to demolish the building because first, all the asbestos had to be removed. The contractors made 185 holes in the building and placed high explosives in the holes with cords leading to the switch. It took 37 days to prepare the building for implosion. Next the dust and debris will be removed in the next few days. However, traditional methods of demolition, using machinery, take many months.

Christchurch contractors know a lot about demolition now as about 1,300 buildings in the central city have been demolished. In that time, 110 new buildings have been finished and are now open for business. The first public building opened last Monday: the new bus exchange. Although it is not completely finished, it is open and is a warm and comfortable place to wait for a bus in the central city.

The demolition of 8,000 homes, mostly in the east of the city, is almost finished.


• demolition (n), demolish (v) – destroy a building, push down a building
• implosion (n), implode (v) – explosives inside a building make it collapse
• asbestos – a group of minerals which can cause health problems for people who breathe the dust.
• contractors – workers who sign a contract to do a job e.g. to demolish a building
• cords – string
• debris – (French word, pronounced debree) – rubbish from storm, flood or demolition
• bus exchange – bus station in the central city where most buses stop


  • There are many passives here because we are interested in the action not in who did the action: e.g. was / has been demolished, was damaged, had to be removed, will be removed
  • It took (person) … to verb
    This is a very useful structure to learn: e.g. It took (me) 20 minutes to walk to school; it took (me) one hour to do this assignment.

Leave a Reply