What should you do before demolition? Preparing & budgeting.

foundation excavation project in colordao springs

Demolition projects are messy and may often take more time and effort to do than what we may initially expect. Because of this, planning accordingly should always be done to prevent mistakes or to avoid being too overwhelmed with the process.

There are a lot of things we need to prepare before the actual demolition work. For a smooth process, we should consider the most important tasks such as contacting a contractor, scheduling inspections, and acquiring the necessary permits required in your state, just to name a few.

The things you need to prepare before a demolition

Need to knock walls and structures on your property? Take time to do the following:

  1. Planning your budget and availability
  2. Hiring a reliable contractor
  3. Determining which method works best for you
  4. Conducting a pre-demolition inspection
  5. Getting the necessary permits
  6. Removing trees and debris from the property
  7. Disconnecting utilities and services
  8. Informing the neighbors and keeping the area safe
  9. Planning for the wastes and what to do to dispose of them responsibly

Before you are able to demolish things and structures on your property, you need to ensure that you are allowed to do so and are equipped with the necessary things and tools for the ‘before and after’ of the actual demolition project. No worries – we will guide you in the process and explain each of these tasks and why it is best to do them. After all, preparation is essential, most especially when it comes to demolition work.

Step 1: Planning your budget and availability

Demolitions are often a major project we may not be 100% ready for. Even if we are only expecting to knock down a couple of walls or ceilings, chances are, we may have to wait for a longer time to complete the entire work. Because of this, planning the basics will greatly help just to make the process less stressful for you and your family.

Two of the things you need to prepare are your budget and availability. Even if you are hiring a contractor, most of the decisions may require your presence. Also, depending on what you need to demolish, you may also have to arrange for a hotel or a place where you and your family can stay in until the work is complete.

Before contacting a contractor, searching for data on the internet will be extremely helpful while saving up for the project. Since there are many factors that will influence the costs of the demolition, you can also inquire or ask for quotes from local experts.

excavator digs a trench in a residential area

Step 2: Hiring a reliable contractor

When it comes to demolition work, we will always recommend getting professionals to do the job. In fact, it is even illegal to do ‘do-it-yourself’ demolitions in some states and doing so could even get you in trouble. This is because demolition is a serious project that requires knowledge, skill, and experience. Since it is a job that is risky and may result in unfortunate accidents, it would always be best to hire a professional demolition contractor.

Granted, though it would cost you more to get the help of an expert, there are also a lot of advantages you will get from it. As an example, you would not need to acquire the equipment and tools by yourself. In most situations, the demolition company will take care of the equipment themselves, which will be less stressful for your part.

Surely, if you have the time to do the work yourself and the project is minor enough to not need the experts, nobody is stopping you. However, if you are not confident about your expertise and just want a safe and smooth process, then contacting a contractor should be on your to-do list.

excavator digging earth

Step 3: Determining which method works best for you

There are many types of demolition methods. Depending on what may be good for the type of project you have, your contractor may touch base with you to see which one you prefer. Schedule a meeting with your demolition contractor to get into a run-through of what you need. Doing this allows you and your contractor to be clear of what is the expected result after the work is complete.

This is also the step where you can make a game plan with your contractor. In this stage, you can have a general gist of the work timeline, such as the acquiring of permits and the schedule for the preliminary inspections. However, just remember that you are just planning the process, and there are some instances where it may not work or may change. This is usually the case when it comes to demolition work, as there can be some snags along the way.

You can ask your contractor for a written statement, a document which details the work plan for the demolition. This statement can serve as your guide and reference once the demolition work starts to take place.

Step 4: Conducting a pre-demolition inspection

Before starting a demolition project, inspections are necessary and often required by many states in the U.S. This inspection aims to identify items and structures that may contain harmful materials or may cause accidents, such as a structural defect.

Pre-demolition inspection reports provide you information about the condition of the site and its structures, basic data such as its size, the materials used in the buildings, and other information that may cause the workers or the future dwellers harm. During the inspection, suspected hazardous materials may be found and may need to be tested. These materials cause serious damage to the people doing the demolition or for the individuals who will live in the area soon. Some of the most common hazardous materials are asbestos, lead, CFCs and halons, Mercury, and PCBs.

Inspectors will watch out for the presence of:

·     Asbestos

Commonly found in the roofing, insulation, plaster, tiles, walls, and paint of old structures. Asbestos is known to be a human carcinogen that may cause serious health issues once inhaled for a long period of time. Because of this, the asbestos materials should be removed before starting demolition work.

·     Lead

Also common in older buildings, lead can be found in certain plumbing systems, paints, batteries, and varnishes. Disturbing materials that contain lead may result in inhalation or ingestion, which may cause serious health problems and diseases. Because of this, certain practices must be done to prevent exposing the workers, neighbors, and owners to the hazardous material.  

·     CFCs and halons

Chlorofluorocarbons and halons, which are considered ozone-depleting substances can be present in certain refrigerators and air conditioning units. Since it is possible for these materials to be a radioactive source, they must be handled properly to prevent accidents.

·     Mercury

Mercury can be present in various types of devices and equipment that use batteries. This can be anything from smoke detectors, lamps, HVAC systems, and thermostats. Since mercury spills are dangerous, these devices should be properly disposed of before starting the demolition project.

·     PCBs

Also known as Polychlorinated Biphenyls, this material may be present in several building materials such as roofing, paint, and insulation. They can also be used on transformers, capacitors, and caulking. Since PCB can be very harmful to humans and animals to the point where it can cause cancer, testing for it is essential before demolishing a structure. 

Step 5: Getting the necessary permits

Depending on which state you live in and the type of project you need to do, getting demolition permits is necessary before starting the tearing down process. You should prepare to take care of a bit of paperwork and pay some fees to your local municipality. If you are hiring a professional contractor, ask them about their process. Chances are, they will secure the permits themselves which are included in the demolition package.

If you are unsure about the process, always ask your local government. Remember, you can get fined if you are starting an unauthorized demolition project. After all the permits are approved, only then can you start the demolition.

Step 6: Removing trees and debris from the property

property grading project in the springs

In some situations, trees, vegetation, or other debris may block the property and hinder the demolition project. For this type of case, preparing the site is essential before your demolition workers can start doing their work.

If the problem is an unwanted tree, you may need to hire a tree removal company. Just keep in mind that depending on the location and the type of tree you have, permits may also be necessary before they can be uprooted. Because of this, prepare to spend a couple of dollars to remove these obstructions properly.

If the obstruction is a large rock or another type of debris, hiring a site clearing company may also be necessary. Check with your demolition contractor to see if they offer these services. If not, prepare to hire another group of workers to take care of the job.

Step 7: Disconnecting utilities and services

One of the most important things you need to do before starting the demolition project is disconnecting your utilities and services. This includes your water, electricity, sewer, and natural gas. Make sure to inform your utility company of your pending demolition work or this may be the cause of an unfortunate accident.

As the owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your workers. Because of this, you should always contact your utility companies and inform them of your demolition schedule.

Step 8: Informing the neighbors and keeping the area safe

Demolition work is usually messy, loud, and just not fun for everyone, especially for your neighbors. Since you are also inconveniencing them, it is best for you to inform them of your plans before they see the bulky machines and loud equipment.

Also, make sure to consider their convenience and resting time. Talk with your contractors and only schedule the work at a time that your neighbors are already awake or not getting ready to sleep. Put up a temporary fence around your area along with some warning signs to keep away children and other individuals and avoid putting them in harm’s way.

Step 9: Planning for waste disposal

Before starting the demolition work, you should already have plans on what to do about the rubble and demolished material. Ask your contractor about the possible disposal processes that are environmentally friendly. As much as possible, look into practices that allow you to recycle these materials or donate them to organizations that accept them.

As the owner, it is your responsibility to dispose of the materials properly. For materials that cannot be recycled, contact a professional to rid the materials in the proper place.