The cost of demolition projects
Last modified: 2019/02/08 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
It might take years to find your dream home, especially as neighbourhoods continue to develop and become congested. Maybe you’ve found the perfect spot, but the house itself isn’t quite what you’d envisioned. Have you considered demolition? Demolishing whole homes or pieces of their interior would allow you to take the land that you want and construct your dream home. Of course, these projects will come at a cost, so what is it?
When it comes to different demolition projects, the cost to carry them out will vary widely. It will come down to the area where the building is located, the size of the home and land, the climate and so on. If you’re considering this project, it’s crucial to understand the costs so you’re aware of what’s involved.
Here’s everything to know about demolition project costs
Demolitions: average cost rundown
As mentioned in our introduction, the costs involved in demolishing a house can vary widely. Some points to consider are when it comes to cost are:
- The cost of permits;
- The size of the space;
- Structural additions or level of stories;
- The materials used to build the home;
- Waste management;
- Debris removal;
- Demolition workers or experts to carry out the project.
On average, rates can range anywhere between $4,000 to $25,000. The cheaper end of the scale will be houses that are demolished in rural areas, versus those in densely populated cities and thus, with more risk involved. If you’re looking at a complete demolition with basement and foundation included, costs will be tipping toward the higher end of the average, no matter where your home is located. Most demolition projects will be charged per square foot.
The average per square foot can range anywhere from $5-$15. Therefore, taking full measurements of the property can help you to obtain a more accurate idea of what kind of base-budget will be required. Now that we have an idea of average costs, let’s look at some of the specifics that will definitely affect these averages.
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Factors that will affect the cost of a demolition
Permits and site preparation
In every single case of a home or partial demolition, you are going to need to register for the correct permits. This is a result of many factors including the noise the demolition will create, safety precautions, potential exposure to dangerous materials as well as a potential interruption in the daily lives of your neighbours. Another note is that demolition regulations will need to comply with municipal building codes, and thus applying for permits is an agreement to follow them.
If your demolition is part of a bigger project, such as a home remodel, usually the demolition permit will be included as part of it. In the majority of cities and municipalities, permit applications cost money. The price of this will be dependent on where you live and could range anywhere between $50-$200. Do bear in mind that if you are going to be demolishing the foundation of the home, the permit's price will likely increase or you may even need to apply for a separate one.
When it comes to site preparation, you’ll need to consider factors such as gas, water, electricity and HVAC units. All plumbing and electricity will need to be addressed by professionals in each respective field.
Especially if you’re taking down an entire structure from head to toe, everything will need to be turned off. Be certain that anyone working on site has the proper protective and safety gear including boots, gloves, protective eye and headwear and so forth. If you are working with professionals to carry out this project, it’s paramount that they have the proper certification.
Another huge factor when it comes to the cost of a demolition project is working with hazardous materials. Especially in older homes, the presence of asbestos is common and extra fees will be added if it’s detected. Asbestos poses a threat to both the health of yourself and loved ones as well as the environment, as it becomes airborne when handled.
For this reason, you’ll need to have removed prior to the demolition of your home. Depending on the city where your house is located, the rules and regulations for removal will be different. For more information regarding the correct way to dispose of asbestos, check out our article: All About Asbestos Removal.
Demolition or deconstruction?
Deconstruction is another option that may be more financially feasible for certain homeowners. Although deconstruction and demolition are commonly confused, their processes are different. Here’s a little bit more clarity on both.
Demolition: Teardown of an entire structure or a piece of a structure. Leftover debris from a demolition project is treated as waste.
Deconstruction: A slow teardown process of a structure that is done in a way to deliberately preserve parts of it to be recycled or sold.
If you’re looking to get something finished tomorrow, you’re likely to opt for a demolition. This process will actually be cheaper upfront and should take a day or two. In contrast to this, deconstruction takes time and could take up to a few weeks depending on the structure being taken down. As it’s time-consuming, deconstruction can cost more money upfront.
However, this process is usually accompanied by tax breaks or benefits, and selling the salvaged pieces can help you to recoup money. Not to mention, deconstruction is environmentally-friendly. If you’re looking for detailed information about deconstruction, we have an entire article on the subject.
Remember, it's always recommended that you work with professionals on large-scale renovation projects. Demolitions require and involve many safety precautions, so consult the right contractors and experts if you've decided to take this on.
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