So, you’ve decided to do a knock down rebuild on your block.
You’ve signed the building contract, designed your new home, and it’s time to prepare for demolishing your house.
Here is everything you need to know about the demolition process…
Approvals and Planning
Depending on where your house is located, and the style of the house, it may require approval from the local authority prior to demolition.
A building certifier and licensed demolition contractor will work together to create a demolition plan in accordance with the Safe Work Australia Demolition Work Code of Practice.
You will need to move absolutely everything out of your house, and you may want to take photos for nostalgic reasons. It can be fun to compare a room that was once in one location that has now been moved to another!
Don’t forget to check roof cavities or sub-floors in case anything has been stored and forgotten about over the years.
If you have tenants, there will most likely be a demolition clause in your agreement. Be sure to give them plenty of notice.
Finally, you will want to cancel accounts for electricity, gas, phone, internet, and so on. Although you will return to a new home on the same block, your providers need to know that you will not be using the service for an extended period of time (and you will need new accounts set up wherever you are staying).
Call and advise your home and contents insurance agent on what is happening, and they will help you decide on the best plan to cover your needs while your home is rebuilt.
The house will receive a thorough Asbestos Pre-Demolition Survey. This may include taking pieces of walls, eaves, linings and so on to test for the presence of asbestos.
If asbestos is found, a licensed contractor will be required to remove all contaminated materials.
Power and gas need to be disconnected by the authorities. The sewer will be disconnected by a licensed contractor. Changes in building regulations may change the placement of some services when they are reconnected (i.e.: overhead electrical mains are now required to be underground in new homes in the ACT).
Prior to structural demolition, several parts of the house will be removed first, such as all areas containing asbestos (if found) and the insulation.
You may want to let your neighbours know in advance what is happening.
Here is an overview on the actual demolition process:
- A fence will be set up to secure the site and a portable toilet brought in. If you are keeping your fence, it may need to be protected.
- A big truck will drop off an excavator. It can be a tight squeeze with some blocks, depending on the placement of trees, parked cars etc.
- The excavator will demolish the house (usually in one day).
- After demolition a contractor will separate bricks and concrete from other rubble (for recycling).
- The excavator will load the rubble onto trucks for removal.
- The location of services (water mains, electricity) will be confirmed, as often they aren’t where the plans indicate.
- If you come and inspect the block after demolition, be very careful when walking around. Often ground levels have changed, and there may be glass or steel fragments on or near the surface.
- The block will be set up for construction, which means levelling and preparing for a new slab.
The price for demolishing a house is between $30,000 and $50,000 in the ACT. The range accounts for the presence of asbestos and other required removals, such as trees/green waste.
You will be quoted a fixed price, however it is impossible to determine up-front whether unforeseen materials (such as contaminated waste buried on the site) will add slight variations to the cost.
The demolition costs can be incorporated into the main building contract, or there can be a separate contract for the demolition process only.