Demolition, Residential

4 Things You Need to Know For a Residential Demolition

Are you ready to tear down an eyesore on your property? Whether it be your entire home or to finally make room for the pool you’ve been dreaming of. Doing the job yourself is an option but hiring a professional group is a much less stressful option. An option that will free up your impressive handyman skills for other pending projects.

The most important step is to lay out what your expectations are for the project. Define the budget and timeline, develop a hiring strategy, and plan for post-demolition. Completing this “checklist for demolition” will help streamline the construction.

  1. It’s permanent.
  • Making a drastic change to the landscape of your property is a big deal. Consider how it will change the function and views. Demolishing a large structure could mean literally seeing a lot more of your neighbors.
  • Sweet-talk the neighbors! It will help when it comes time for noisy construction and the dumpster in your driveway.
  • Your neighborhood may have a Homeowners Association that will want notification. HOA’s typically have noise regulations or even guidelines for construction. And now that I mention it you should start attending those HOA meetings to show support.
  1. Timeline. Communication with your demolition contractor is essential before the project begins. Responsibilities should be assigned, a disposal strategy chosen and a timetable agreed to.
  • For a complete destruction it would be fair to expect 3 to 6 days until completion depending on the size of the building and the foundation. Buildings are usually on the ground within the first day or two, it’s amazing what some brute force can do. The remaining time is spent on removal and clean up.
  • Hazardous materials found could delay work because of extra safety and legal steps.
  1. Budget. A thorough conversation with your contractor will help to plan for the cost of demolition.
  • Know exactly what you expect from the contractor and be sure that everything is accounted for in the bid.
  • Would you like to recover any salvageable material before knocking it down? You could donate materials to those in need, or solely for the tax deduction. Selling whatever junk you can recover will help offset some of the job costs.
  • If your home is of a certain age, inspections for Asbestos or lead-based paint will be necessary. Some demolition companies will get necessary permits and inspections for a fee. But this is a step you can do easily to save any associated fees.
  1. Be Prepared. As soon as equipment arrives it is time to start work so make sure you’re ready when the machines are rolled off the trailer.
  • Don’t forget to disconnect all utilities including water ahead of time.
  • Access to the site is often times overlooked. Equipment strong enough to demolish a house is going to be large. Not only will it be bulky, requiring a large entry point, but also heavy. Heavy enough that it’s important to think about what is underground. The placement of sewer lines or septic tanks should be clearly marked. That’s a mess no one wants to clean up. Property surveys are essential in pinpointing what is below the surface.

Now that you have the money budgeted, the time to commit, and a site that’s prepared for construction you are ready to get your demolition started! Congratulations! Now things are being knocked down and crushed causing endless piles of trash, now what? Are you leaving the disposal arrangements up to the hired crew? Do you have a strong desire for materials to be recycled? Disposing of what remains is just as big of a job as the destruction itself.

10 thoughts on “4 Things You Need to Know For a Residential Demolition

  1. I agree that it is very important to properly evaluate the consequences of demolition before following through. It may be detrimental to your relationship with neighbors if you don’t clue them in on your plans. We have currently been considering tearing down our pool house in our backyard. It is a probably a good idea to get our neighbors opinion to prevent the development any hard feelings.

  2. There are some changes I want to be done to my home. However, I’d learned that it might turn into a demolition project, so I’ve been putting aside getting these renovations done. I’ve been worried about my budget, so it was helpful to learn that a thorough conversation with a contractor is where I should start.

    1. Thank you so much for your input, Ms. Holton. So long as the contractor is willing to provide an initial consultation for free, there is no harm in testing the waters and getting as much ‘free’ professional advice as possible. (Just always remember to ask if the initial consultation is free as not all contractors offer this).

  3. That’s a good point that demolition is a big project. Like you said, you might see more of your neighbors. I want to take down a shed on my property, so I might need to rent some tools or get a contractor.

    1. John, we’ve seen people take down ‘unwanted’ juniper (often mistakenly called cedar down here) only to discover that their neighbor’s house is literally a stone’s throw away. Sometimes the ‘unsightly’ shields us from the even ‘unsightlier’!!! Also, consider YOUR time when choosing whether or not to pull the shed down yourself. If you don’t already have the necessary tools for the job, while renting them can save you money, you still spend much of your precious time collecting them, using them and returning them (hopefully without having broken any)! What’s more, the time it’d take you to pull down even a smallish shed (what, maybe a handful of days), a professional can likely do in an afternoon. Including cleanup. While you COULD save a bit of cash doing the job yourself, sometimes, you could have made more cash putting in those extra hours on your own business and paying a pro to come in and do the job for you.
      Either way, best of luck and make sure you visualize very clearly what the area will look like once you pull the shed down cuz there’s no going back!

  4. Huh, I never thought that to have a demolition done, one must make sure the equipment can reach the intended house or building to be demolished and that all utilities connected to it are disconnected. If I were to have a building demolished, I would ask the help of experienced contractors. Not only will they be able to level it down properly but also be able to clear the debris fast enough to start constructing a new building or house on the empty property.

  5. I do agree with you that coming up with a drastic change to your property is no light matter especially if that is quite large. That is really true as you need to consider a lot of things like how that will affect the people in the neighborhood and if there is enough equipment to use for that purpose. Since we are planning to demolish the old warehouse we have to turn that into a small office that will require the putting up of some structures later, we need to seek the permission of the neighbor for some extensions that we need and seek the help of those engaged in the demolition service to do the job for us.

  6. I agree that its a huge deal to make such a drastic change to a landscape. My sister wants to tear down her home and start building a new one. I think that that the best option would be to hire a cleaning service to clean all the debri from the demolition. It would save a lot of time and it would keep your neighbors happy!

  7. Thanks for helping me learn more about residential demolition. It’s nice to know that you can actually talk to the contractor to help you learn how much the demolition will be. This sounds very helpful especially if the cost of demolition could depend on the project.

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