Complex Demolitions: Do you have the right team to succeed?

July 11, 2017

Riviera Hotel and Casino demolition

Razing the Riviera

It’s not every day a Las Vegas icon needs to be demolished, but when it does, special expertise is required.

Terracon was selected in the summer of 2015 by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to be a team member for a project to demolish all buildings on the 28-acre site of the iconic Riviera Hotel and Casino, located between the existing Convention Center and The Strip. Space was needed to attract larger conventions, and the Riviera site provided both the land for growth and direct access to the popular tourist area.

Working Together

The project team met multiple times over several months to discuss the project and work out responsibilities, schedules, and budgets. Other entities invited for input included the city, county, fire department, utilities (water, electric, and gas), regulatory authorities, and client stakeholders. The group was advised about possible environmental issues, including a Phase I site investigation.

Our team’s initial responsibilities included site exploration and reconnaissance to determine the impact, location, and quantity of asbestos, lead paint, hazardous materials, past leaking underground storage tanks, and associated contaminated soil at the site. After exploration and sampling, Terracon presented the results and provided budget estimates for complete removal of identified environmental concerns from the site. The collected data was then used to perform additional in-depth investigations and write remediation specifications for the removal and disposal of all asbestos and other hazardous materials, along with removal of the underground tanks and associated contaminated soil.

Safety is King in Demolition

After the bidding process and selection of a demolition and remediation contractor, the remediation and demolition began concurrently in April 2016. This meant safety considerations and procedures became even more important on this very busy and complex demolition site. The work was complicated by the intense summer heat (up to 115 degrees), which created a risk of dehydration to those working onsite. During the remediation phase, our team provided oversight and hazardous material removal verification. This work occurred while demolition was ongoing in areas with no environmental concerns and after other buildings were remediated.

Most of the buildings were mechanically demolished as the demolition contractor worked from east to west across the site. In the early summer, one building was imploded while remediation work continued on the older buildings on the west side. By mid-August, the remediation work was completed in the remaining buildings. In the early morning on August 16, the final three buildings were imploded and only rubble was left of the historic property. The remediation phase and the overall project was completed on time, meeting a very ambitious schedule within budget parameters and in a safe manner.

See the demolition work:


Mitch RieberMitch Reiber, P.G., C.I.H., is a national manager for Terracon’s Environmental Service Line at our corporate office in Olathe, Kan. With more than 20 years, experience, Mitch is responsible for asbestos and disaster response services, and oversees and manages environmental services.

Find an office location

More than 175 offices from coast to coast.