Just 15 stories into the construction of the Norman Foster-designed Harmon Hotel, inspectors found that rebar wasn't installed properly, putting the future of the planned 47-story residential high-rise, part of the $8 billion, 67-acre CityCenter complex, in jeopardy. The 2008 discovery led MGM Resorts to plan to cap the building at around 25 floors. But engineers said even that wouldn't be enough to keep the building from falling in a major earthquake. Instead the planned hotel sat vacant, with the blue-green glass exterior creating a hollow shell and massive billboard backing, until crews—after the lengthy legal dispute—started dismantling the structure piece-by-piece in 2014.

It takes several weeks or months to prepare a building for implosion. All items of value, such as copper wiring, are stripped from a building. Some materials must be removed, such as glass that can form deadly projectiles, and insulation that can scatter over a wide area. Non-load bearing partitions and drywall are removed. [6] Selected columns on floors where explosives will be set are drilled and high explosives such as nitroglycerin , TNT , RDX , or C4 are placed in the holes. Smaller columns and walls are wrapped in detonating cord . The goal is to use as little explosive as possible so that the structure will fail in a progressive collapse therefore only a few floors are rigged with explosives, so that it is safer (fewer explosives) and costs less. The areas with explosives are covered in thick geotextile fabric and fencing to absorb flying debris. [6] Far more time-consuming than the demolition itself is the clean-up of the site, as the debris is loaded into trucks and hauled away.