If you’re looking to establish reliable, long-term wealth, there’s nothing quite like real estate. People have been using real estate assets to accumulate wealth for a very long time.
However, sometimes in order to build, you must demolish. You can’t renovate every property, so there comes a time when demolition is the smart option. If you’re thinking about demolishing a property, you need to know how much it costs to demolish it, understand the difference between deconstruction and demolition, and think about a few other factors before you begin the project.
What does demolishing a house mean?
Demolition is the act of tearing down an existing house. You can do it by hand, or with specialized equipment like bulldozers, cranes and excavators. A demolition is normally handled by a licensed demolition contractor, and it requires permits. Once the house is demolished, you can start a new construction on the lot.
The cost to demolish a house
The total cost to demolish a house will depend on several factors. These include: property location, the size of the house, the method of demolition used, and the presence of hazardous materials such as asbestos - often found in older insulation.
The final cost will include:
- Building demolition service
- Removal of demolition debris
- Dump fees
- Remediation if needed
Note that you might not want to demolish the entire building. In some cases you can opt for the following:
- Total demolition
- Partial demolition
Total demolition is basically what it sounds like: the property is completely demolished. This is normally done by demolition specialists with specialized heavy machinery. They will also handle the removal of debris after the demolition. The average cost of a total demolition varies greatly - it’s somewhere between $2 and $17 per square foot.
In most cases, demolition contractors will have a starting cost that will then go up based on the square footage. A typical starting cost for a total demolition project will be around $15,000.00
This wide variation in cost is due to the labor costs in a given area.
A partial demolition is also fairly self-explanatory. In this case, only certain parts of the interior or exterior of the property are demolished or deconstructed.
This type of demolition is common in large renovation or remodelling projects. It’s often needed when wood supports are rotting, foundations are cracking or when the exterior of the home needs to be kept intact while the interior is re-done.
The average cost of a partial demolition can range anywhere from $500 to $12,000.
Deconstruction is an option for property owners who want to demolish the building in order to start a new build, but want to keep certain elements of the old building. In this case, the property is deconstructed or disassembled by hand.
This is a popular route when it comes to saving heritage buildings or incorporating reclaimed materials into the new build. It’s also used when the owner wants to incorporate the same elements in the new home as they had in the old one, such as kitchen cabinets or flooring.
Deconstruction is more labour intensive, as everything needs to be carefully done by hand. This is often carried out by a demolition specialist. In some cases, it’s possible for the homeowner to do it themselves. This will cut down on the cost.
What to think about before demolishing a property
Before any work is carried out on your property, make sure that you get it inspected. You want to know if it contains any hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead or mold. If you find materials such as these, it will cost you extra to have them abated by specialists. The cost of that service can range anywhere from $200 to $700 per hour and this material must be removed before demolition work has begun.
It’s up to you to decide whether the property should be salvaged, repaired, or simply torn down. A total demolition is often the cheapest and fastest way to start fresh, but it’s not always the best option for every situation.
Some other considerations that may affect your demolition costs include:
- Depths of basements and underground walls or floors in the house
- Cancellation of utilities
- Site safety, including workers, and fire prevention
- Fencing around the property
- Trenching required
- Back filled as needed
- Tree and Landscaping removal
- Hazardous material removal
When it comes to public trees, construction related activities that occur with 6 meters of a tree (that is considered public) all applicants for demolition permits are required to submit further documentation to the city of Calgary which include a tree protection plan for approval.
It's also important to note that all homes that apply for a demolition permit in Calgary are reviewed by a heritage planner for approval.
Calgary Demolition Permit Costs
As of 2021, the city of Calgary charges $1.52 per m² for demolition permits, and the city also has a flat administration fee of $112 and also carries a 4% safety codes council tax on your total bill.
You can utilize this quick demolition permit cost calculator to get an understanding of the permit costs associated with your demolition.
It's important to note - Interior residential work will typically require a building permit and not a demolition permit, please be sure to connect with the city of Calgary permitting office to fully understand your permit needs and requirements before you commence work.
You should also look into the risks of asbestos, this hazardous material was used for many different applications including drywall and even in the glue for old vinyl tiles, we highly recommend having your property tested if you're not sure whether it contains any asbestos before you commence demolition work.
It should also be noted that not all walls can be taken down in a residential renovation, some walls are load bearing and the removal of them could compromise the structure of the home.
Demolishing a home conclusion
Real estate is a great way to build wealth, but you have to educate yourself in order to make the right decisions about your assets. Tearing down buildings is a common occurrence for property owners, and it’s often the right thing to do to maximize your investments in the long run.
But it’s important to remember that when it comes to getting the most out of your properties, you have several options. Demolishing a house is one of them, but you can also partially demolish or deconstruct the property as well.
Consider the implications of each option carefully for your particular situation, and you’ll be sure to start your project on the right foot every time.
Posted by Calgary Homes Real Estate Partners Team on