A large number of homeowners choose to undertake certain renovation activities on their own in a bid to bring down the overall cost of the renovation exercise. Demolition of concrete floors and walls is among the various activities referred to. There's nothing particularly wrong about doing this so long as you know the risks involved.
This article highlights a few things that you may want to know before you choose the DIY route for concrete demolition.
Working At Ground Level
Whether you choose to go manual with a sledge hammer or you choose to automate the demolition exercise with a jackhammer, there's the risk that the hammer will send flying shards of concrete your way. The projected shards of concrete can easily cause serious injury depending on their size and the velocity at which they're sent flying off the ground. The concrete "missiles" might also be projected towards windows that may be nearby, thereby causing damage. The demolition exercise is also bound to release a lot of dust into the atmosphere, which can trigger severe allergic reactions.
Covering the concrete slab with plastic sheeting (e.g., a sheet of polyethylene), wearing safety goggles and using a gas mark might be the best you can do to prevent injuries, allergies, and property damage. The polyethylene sheet will keep the concrete "missiles" in check, and it will keep dust levels low. However, polyethylene is known to be quite slippery which exposes you to slip-and-fall hazards during the demolition exercise.
Working Above The Ground Level
In a large number of cases, the demolition of concrete structures involves working at relatively great heights. This creates the need to use an elevated work platform (e.g. a scaffold) that will enable you to demolish a tall concrete structure safely.
There are various risks associated with the use of scaffolding equipment and similar elevated work platforms. For example, there is the risk of getting into contact with overhead power lines running across the property when using a scaffold.
A DIY-minded homeowner would also need a high-risk work license to undertake a demolition-related exercise that involves the use of wire-rope scaffolds and similar work platforms. Concrete demolition contractors are also exposed to the type of risk described above and many of them already have the relevant high-risk work licenses. These contractors also have the safety training required to undertake the demolition of concrete structures high above the ground level.