What should I consider before demolishing a building?

Before embarking on the no-return path of demolishing a building, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself first with what may be involved. It’s also important to consider several plans of action because inevitably, the unexpected will occur to sideline your progress. These are also good arguments for hiring a demolition company because they specialize in this and can get the job done right the first time and probably much faster than a DIY’er can manage on their own. It can also eliminate the risk of somebody getting hurt or worse. If the demolition work will require moving staff until the job is done, time is literally money and the downtime can often be shortened by professionals. If you’re a homeowner who will be displaced or inconvenienced for the time it takes to complete the job, it may appeal to you as well to have a shorter demo schedule.

Here’s a short list of what to consider before swinging that sledge hammer, and why you may wish to at least get a cost estimate from a demolition company rather than plunging in yourself:

·         You will likely need a demolition permit. In some areas of the country, this isn’t necessary but those locations are in the minority. You will need to know which permits to obtain, from where to obtain them, and you will have to pay for them. You must also post them in a visible location. Or, you can hire a contractor and have them include these services as part of the job.

·         You must safely and securely remove the debris from the demolition. In addition to the many sharp edges that can slice off fingers if the proper gear isn’t worn and safe working techniques aren’t followed, you must load the debris into an appropriate vehicle and take it to the approved dump locations. You cannot legally dump toxic or hazardous materials with the other debris and trash. As a DIY’er, you may not even know if the floor tiles or pipe insulation contain asbestos. However, ignorance is no excuse and if you are caught illegally disposing of materials such as asbestos, you may face criminal charges and mandatory fines which are typically quite steep. In addition, there are usually additional costs for the disposal of hazardous materials. When quoting a cost estimate, a demolition company will usually include the price of disposal of materials.

·         You have the duty of care to ensure that nobody is injured or killed when you perform the demolition work. In addition, you must secure the job site so that it does not become an “attractive nuisance” and lure curious children who may be hurt while exploring the debris site. If you do not take appropriate actions to ensure safety of everyone, including trespassers, (such as constructing a fence if necessary) you may be held liable in criminal as well as civil actions. A construction company will limit or eliminate their liability by bringing portable fencing or taking other appropriate safety measures.

Before demolishing a building, consider consulting a company for demolition services in Malibu, CA for a cost estimate and an explanation of the services they offer.

Thanks to Nielsen Environmental for their insight into demolition services and what to think about before demolishing a building.