Fort McMurray Demolition FAQs

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the Fort McMurray Coordinated Mass Demolition (CMD) Program.

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Who is doing the work?  The Coordinated Mass Demo (CMD) General Contractor is Fort McMurray #468 First Nations / Morgan Construction and Environmental Ltd.

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Why is SPECS involved?  SPECS Limited is a post-loss consulting company that provides appraisal and project coordination services to the Insurance Industry. Several insurers asked SPECS (based on our successful coordinated mass demolition following the 2011 Slave Lake wildfire) to coordinate the mass demolition for Fort McMurray. A coordinated approach to mass demolition helps reduce strain on infrastructure caused by many contractors working simultaneously in the same neighbourhood and timelines.

The Coordinated Mass Demolition General Contractor is committed to meeting or exceeding all environmental requirements (e.g. dust control), permit and process requirements of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (e.g. backfill and/or fencing as required), and all Health and Safety requirements (e.g. Personal Protection Equipment/PPE requirements for demolition workers).

SPECS and the CMD General Contractor are committed to protecting all personal information in compliance with PIPEDA regulations.

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How much will this cost?  

The deadline to participate in the coordinated mass demo has passed.

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Is there a cancellation fee if I choose to remove my property from the coordinated mass demolition? There is no cancellation fee. However, if a permit application for your property has been submitted, the permit application fee (currently $325.00 plus tax) must be reimbursed to the CMD General Contractor.

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Can you also backfill if required?  

The deadline to register to have your property backfilled has passed.

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How do I register to participate in the Coordinated Mass Demolition?  

The deadline to participate in the coordinated mass demo has passed.

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When will my property be demolished?  The Coordinated Mass Demo General Contractor has demolition crews working 24 hours a day and will continue with demolitions as weather permits.

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Is there a minimum number of registered properties required for this program?   Yes. The Coordinated Mass Demo General Contractor contractor's agreement is based on 1,500 participants with a clause that allows the number of participants to be 25% less than that (or 1,125 homes) and maintain pricing.

Based on the number of potential participants we have recorded in the Coordinated Demolition program, we do not anticipate this will be an issue.

If less than 1,125 properties are registered, the contract with Fort McMurray #468 First Nation/Morgan Construction stipulates that there could be an increase of $2,000 to the total cost per property. This increased total cost would still be considered very competitive for the services provided.

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Who is responsible for the environmental testing?  SPECS Ltd. will coordinate with an environmental consulting firm to conduct selective testing of ash and debris for asbestos. The same consultant will conduct air sample tests throughout the demolition project to ensure dust is controlled.

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Do I need to get a demolition permit?  The Coordinated Mass Demolition General Contractor is responsible for applying and obtaining all required permits to complete the Coordinated Mass Demolition.

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What is the Demolition Process?  The process to complete the clean-up of the sites will occur using a series of “equipment waves” to ensure maximum productivity by reducing congestion and equipment downtime. The workflow will occur as per the following steps:

  1. Prior to performing work on-site, CRC is required to obtain demolition permits and utility disconnect permits prior to any ground work starting. This step involves gathering and submitting to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo all of the documentation that landowners have signed and supplied to SPECS over the past weeks. Documentation and plans are reviewed for completeness and proper execution methodologies, and when approved, demolition utility disconnect permits are issued. Once permits are received, field work may start.
  2. The steel removal from the properties will be completed by using excavators. The excavators will pick out the pieces of steel and load into haul trucks for transport to an off-site recycling facility.
  3. The surface soil and ash will be excavated, transported and disposed of at a Class 2 landfill facility.
  4. The utilities (both deep and shallow) will be cut and capped (if required) to ensure no damage to the services during foundation removal.
  5. The concrete in the foundations, sidewalks and driveways will be broken up into smaller manageable pieces, loaded into trucks and hauled away for recycling.
  6. The remaining excavation will be sloped and a berm installed at the surface to prevent water entry.
  7. Residents who signup for backfill will have the excavation filled with suitable backfill material and track packed.

Once the cleanup process is started on a property, the process will take +/- 3 weeks to complete to allow for each equipment wave to finish their step.

Both SPECS and the RMWB have inspection points during the cleanup steps to ensure that all waste material are properly removed, utilities are disconnected and capped in accordance with requirements, and the final site is cleaned up to the satisfaction of SPECS and the RMWB.

The benefit of a multi-step process is efficiency.  In the same way that economies of scale help to reduce overall costs; the multi-step process allows the CMD General Contractor’s crews to flow quickly through a neighbourhood completing a single step in the process, on multiple properties, which reduces equipment and labour downtime. 

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What type of work happens during the demolition?  The mass demolition program is about far more than removing debris of damaged homes.  It includes:

      1. Selective testing of ash and debris for asbestos;
      2. Cleaning up of controlled substances such as propane tanks, ammunition, and aerosol tanks;
      3. Disconnection of utilities for any participating lots that have not already been disconnected by the RMWB;
      4. Removal of all recyclable metals excluding vehicles. Please contact your auto insurance company or adjuster for more information regarding removal of insured vehicles.  For information regarding removal of non-insured vehicles click here.  The definition of vehicles includes anything licensed for use including, but not limited to:
        1. RVs;
        2. Utility and/or boat trailers;
        3. ATVs; and
        4. Motor vehicles.
      5. Removal of any planted trees/shrubs;
      6. Removal of all fire-related debris including scraping top two inches of soil off the entire lot (this will be to a 30-foot radius around rural homes);
      7.  Removal of all concrete including foundation, sidewalks, driveways, patios, etc.; and 
      8. Air monitoring and inspections to ensure dust is controlled during Coordinated Mass Demolition.

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Will you also remove my damaged vehicle?  No. If the vehicle was insured, you must speak with your insurance provider or insurance adjuster to coordinate removal.  The Coordinated Mass Demolition General Contractor is only able to dispose of small recreational vehicles such as ATVs or Snowmobiles. Any registered (or non registered) cars, SUVs, Vans, Trucks, RVs, Boats, or Utility Trailers must be disposed by the homeowner.

Here are a list of service providers in the Fort McMurray area who can help with the disposal of vehicles:

Please note: This list is not exhaustive and does NOT represent all the options a homeowner may have for vehicle removal.  SPECS does not endorse or recommend any company listed.

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Fraud Warning. Several homeowners have received calls from an individual (or individuals) fraudulently claiming to be a SPECS representative. They offered to conduct a demolition at a price similar to what was published by SPECS. However, they are asking for payment before work can begin. Also, at least one insured/homeowner has received copies of our agreements via a Hotmail email account.

Please be advised that SPECS does not require payment upfront from participating insured homeowners to include their property in the Coordinated Mass Demolition program. Individual arrangements can be made for homeowners that are self-insured.

Additionally, any communication from SPECS via email will come from an “@specs.ca” email address.

If you have any concerns that the person you are communicating with may not be a SPECS representative please call us at 844-262-1836.

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