Site clearance and the removal of demolition material from sites – a brief review.

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Many customers have asked us for advice regarding equipment and methods for general site clearance and the removal of demolition material.

The site location may well determine the size of equipment and method of clearance available to you. For example, a large country property on a plot of an acre or more with good access may utilise a 13 tonne excavator (or larger) for demolition. A fleet of tipper lorries of 20 tonne capacity could then remove material from the site. However, a similar project in a suburban environment may require more manual labour, smaller excavators and skips or grab lorries.

We’ll now take a quick look at each of the main factors involved in site clearance and try to show some of the key equipment used, with video clips. We know that there are many factors to take into account when organising site clearance, resulting in each site having to be assessed carefully.

Things to consider:

Site Access – What is the maximum size of excavator and/or transport vehicle that can be accommodated?  Might it be possible to remove part of the site boundary to enable access for a larger machine? If haulage tipper lorries are to be used, minimum straight run access width is 2.75m on level ground. However, where high walls or pillars border the access, then 3.05m is needed.

Haulage Road –  If the ground conditions are poor, for example clay soils, then a haulage road or track may need to be laid. This is so that transport vehicles can access and exit the site in most weather conditions. Maybe part of the demolition material could be used to form a haulage road?

Excavators – Excavators are used the most for site work and the largest machine possible that can be used is generally the best. Excavators are generally classed according to their weight. They are usually from 3 – 13 tonnes for site clearance.

Dumpers – These may also be needed and range from 1 tonne skip capacity machines (able to load an 8 yd skip) through to 3 tonne and 6 tonne capacity machines (to transport material across the site for loading by grab lorry).

Tipper Lorries – These provide another option for removing large amounts of material or spoil from site where it is possible to use a 5 tonne excavator (or larger) to load them. The excavator can be used to build an earth ramp level with the load deck for loading the lorry quickly. Ideally, the excavator should be sized to the lorry. An 8 wheeler can be filled in around 15 minutes with an 8- 12 tonne excavator.

Tipper lorries are available in the following sizes:

8 wheeler – 20 tonne capacity

6 wheeler – 15 tonne capacity

4 wheeler – 10 tonne capacity

Grab Lorries – These are tipper lorries fitted with a clamshell, hydraulically operated grab. Sizes are the same as above. However, loading time is slower than an excavator – typically 15 -30 minutes to load an 8 wheeler.

Skips –  Generally, this is an expensive way to deal with site clearance. There is also the added difficulty of coordinating skip exchange and collections. The common sizes are 8, 10 & 12 yard skips, with larger roll on – roll off skips in 20 yard and 40 yard sizes for green waste and light material, often being used where space permits. Visit:

Mobile Crushing plants – The option of recycling demolition material on site is worth considering where environmental considerations such as noise and dust pollution are less of a concern . The hire of mobile diesel driven concrete crushing equipment enables material to be crushed down to sizes ranging from 40mm to 10mm. This can be reused on site for hardcore, infill etc.  Mobile site crushers are available with outputs of crushed material from 6 tonnes to 80 tonnes per hour dependent on machine and material being crushed.  Visit: and

Crushing buckets – Another option to consider is hiring a hydraulically operated crushing bucket for attaching to the on-site excavator. The load /crush / release material cycle time is approximately 40 seconds and outputs vary from 1- 3 tons per hour on a bucket sized to a 1.5 tonne machine to 15-30 tons per hour  for a crushing bucket on a 13 tonne machine.


Environmental considerations – How close to the site are the neighbours? Is noise going to be a factor? Is dust going to be a factor? If environmental considerations are a priority then a combination of the above may be required in order to minimise disturbance generally.

Cost – This is where it gets tricky. The quickest and most efficient method may not be the cheapest. All the factors mentioned above, together with the availability of labour on site, need to be incorporated into the overall plan. Everyone wants a practical and cost effective solution!

We hope you’ve found this article interesting and informative. For more information please contact us – Tel: 01784 433984 or use our contact form.