Thursday, March 8, 2012

I want to demolish a house so I can build a new house

When you are thinking about demolishing an existing home to make way for a new one, make sure that you hire a professional to do the demolition.

Hiring a professional to demolish an existing home might sound like a logical choice but you should know a couple of things before you open the yellow pages and phone the first one that you see.

Here are a couple of things that you should look for when looking to demolish a house;

Get quotes. A true professional will have no problem coming out to the existing home and giving you a proper quote. This will save you being handed a large bill at the end of the demolition because there was twice the amount of debris created from the house.

Do your research. It doesn’t take a lot to goggle search companies, ask around or even ask them for references.

You want experience. Demolition if done wrong can be a very dangerous thing. You are removing a structure that weighs more than any machine that is brought in to tear it down. The last thing in the world you want is to have someone hurt or killed on your land during demolition.

Insurance. You want to make sure that the demolition company has the proper insurance. You should also contact your own insurance company and make sure that you are covered encase something goes wrong.

If you are planning to build a new house on the property it can be a good idea to have your general contractor (the one you hired to build the new house) handle hiring of the demolition company. A general contractor can also assist you in all the paperwork that the township will require before you are allowed to demolish.

There are a number of services that your general contractor can help you have disconnected before you will be granted a demolition permit. Electrical, gas, telephone, cable and water/sewer all have to be professionally severed from the existing building. If you are planning to build a new house on the property then the connections should be severed back far enough not to impede the digging of a new foundation.
A general contractor a lot of the times will be bringing in a heavy equipment sub-contractor to dig the hole for the foundation. If this is the case you can save yourself some money and have this sub-contractor do the demolition as well. This could save you money because the equipment after it is done knocking down the house can immediately start digging the hole for the new foundation. There is almost no difference in a heavy equipment operator tearing down a house and a demolition company. The only real difference is that a heavy equipment operator will use a large excavator to knock the building down and then load it into dump trucks. As the excavator tears the building down it will separate the different materials and load them in separate bins or dump trucks. This is important because this will save you money when they get to the dump.  Demolition companies will use smaller machines to do the tear down that are easier to transport and will fit into smaller places.

In a dump you will pay per pound. The price per pound will vary depending on what material is contained in the load. Loads that are mixed are the most expensive, mixed loads are when you have wood or metal mixed in with garbage. The cheapest loads are all one material loads such as all wood or all metal. If you end up with an all metal load you can have it taken to a metal recyclers that will pay for the load instead of you paying for the load.

If you go through the general contractor you will pay a management fee on top of the demolition bill but it will save you money in the long run. Because the services have to be disconnected then with the general contractor in charge of the job they will know exactly where those underground services are terminated and capped. If you do not involve your contractor then you could end up paying later when the contractor starts digging around the site trying to find all the connections that are underground. It doesn’t take much for the marking stakes to be lost on a construction site when you are building a house especially if it’s a small sight.
So remember if you are thinking about demolishing an existing house don’t just pick the first company you find, do your research and ask your general contractor it could save you a lot of time, money and aggravation.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.


  1. I know that there are lots of requirements you have to meet in order to demolish a home. Depending on where and how much you want to demolish will also determine which requirements you need to meet. You can contact your local building permit office to find out the specifics.
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