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Demolition Exclusion Zones – Definitions

Within our method statements we will indicated the definitions of the different demolition zones and each will have a risk assessment carried out which relates to the method of demolition applicable to the structure.

Red Zone – This is the most restricted and is an area of work where no operative shall work on the ground. It will be for machinery only to operate.

Amber Zone – Only specialist qualified personnel will be allowed to work.

Green Zonegenerally for welfare areas where no PPE is required

Rest of Site – Access will only be allowed for inducted and authorised workers

Because demolition is obviously a fluid process zone locations are likely to move as the project progresses.



Significant problems may result if a RED ZONE – is not large enough – or the method of demolition is unsuitable.

A red zone should never be entered by a worker – an obvious example is inside and around an unchecked dangerous structure during machine demolition.

Where a high reach machine is being used for demolition the base of the machine must not sit in the red zone. This is despite the protection measures on such machines. The boom and tools and therefore the slewing area/working zone of the machine will be in the Red Zone.

During demolition Red Zones may move, change in size and category. An exmaple would be a lift shaft is being used as chute for waste.  To empty the waste the Red Zone will change to an Amber Zones. When this happens radio communication is used and the locking out of mid levels and physical barriers is used. This stops waste being put down the chute when this is happening.

During top down demolition consideration must be given to the need for Red Zones to be designated in the floors below the working area. This will require a proof of concept, where engineering calculations are used to predict the worst case outcome of falling materials or plant.


This is restricted access to qualified persons only and must be controlled. These include:

  • Areas where asbestos removal is being carried out
  • Noise protection
  • Machine demolition areas – operatives working in these areas must be briefed before entering site. If any additional operatives arrived to work in the area work should stop and all parties informed before work commences again.

These zones can change quickly as demolition progresses.

On large complicated projects the use of orange stickers for hard hats is a useful control tool for those designated to enter these zone.


Anyone entering the general site area should have a specific site induction, be wearing the correct PPE and been briefed on the risk assessment and method for their work.

Typical operations carried out in these zones are:

  • Servicing and repairing of plant
  • Removing furnishings and non-structural elements (soft stripping)
  • Salvage work such as cleaning bricks

Specific trades such as scaffolders may wish to create their own Amber and Red Zones.


The site offices, welfare and parking are generally considered whee PPE is not required.

Demarcating Zones

The usual method for creating Demolition Exclusion Zones  within a wooden hoarded site is using Heras Fencing covered in debris netting and warning signage cleared displayed. Other options include metal control barriers, chapter 8 plastic fencing, chestnut paling, scaffold A frames, road pin and netting.

NFDC Guidance

For full detailed information you can download the NFDC publication here

For more insights into demolition click

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