Knockdown rebuilds are becoming a popular option among new home buyers. A common question we receive is how does the knockdown part work? The builder takes care of that right? Well, actually… usually they don’t. Something that can catch a property owner off guard is that it is up to them to organise the demolition of their house. While it may sound intimidating, with a little guidance, you’ll find it isn’t as daunting as you thought. So let’s look at home demolitions in Brisbane. We’ll run through what you need to know and what you should try to avoid during the residential demolition process.
Do I need council approval to knock down a house?
Yes. You’ll need to get permission from your local council before you can knock down your house. With any major building project or renovation, it’s always a good idea to run it by your local council to avoid any trouble down the line. There are a few key ways to obtain demolition permits and council approvals.
A building certifier can help you attain any necessary permits for your demolition. They’ll also be able to advise you on whether you’ll need building approval for your project.
Demolition companies will often take care of the council approvals and certificate requirements for your demolition job. Be sure to establish whether or not your demolition contractor is willing to do this for you so you’re not left in the lurch.
Keep in mind not every house can be demolished. Here are the key reasons houses aren’t allowed to be knocked down:
- house is on a heritage site
- on the Local heritage register
- is a site in the Pre-1911 building overlay
- A commercial character building
- a rooming accommodation or a registered boarding house
- on a site where demolition is assessable under a neighbourhood plan
It is possible to get an exemption from some of the above, though the likelihood of you getting approval will depend on a lot of factors specific to your scenario.
What is included in home demolition services?
Most demolition services will include at the very least, the following
- Dismantling structures (house, sheds, other buildings)
- Internal strip outs
- vegetation/tree removal
- pool removal
- clean up and removal of debris.
The exact services provided by a demolition company will vary. Some will also obtain permanents and organise all disconnection of your services, while others will expect you to take care of this yourself. It’s important to know what you’re getting into when you sign the contract, as assuming your contractor will take care of something, only to later find out they won’t lead to delays and additional costs.
Asbestos removal services
If your home was built between 1920-1990, there is a 50-50 chance your home contains asbestos. You’ll need to check whether your demolition contractors offer this service and make sure they’re qualified to do so. Asbestos removal is a delicate and complicated procedure that is dangerous when done incorrectly, so it is essential whoever’s performing the removal is qualified to do so. This is definitely NOT a DIY project and even professional contractors won’t do this unless they’re qualified to do so.
What is the house demolition process?
Let’s have a quick rundown of the usual process of commercial demolition:
- Initial Consultation – The company will discuss the project with you, and inspect your property.
- Quote – After the initial consultation, a quote with be offered. This should have a detailed rundown of what services your quote covers. You’ll either sign with this contractor or keep looking.
- Obtaining Permits – Either you or your demolition crew will obtain all necessary permits and approvals.
- Disconnect Service – All services will need to be disconnected.
- Manual Work – What needs to be removed manually will be done so during this stage.
- Machine Work – Machinery will be used to knock down your house.
- Remove rubbish, materials and site clean – All debris and materials will be removed.
- Demolition Clearance Certificate – You’ll be provided with a demolition clearance certificate to give to your builder.
How Long Does a house demolition project take?
The entire process, including organising permits, takes around 21 days. The actual demolition itself, usually takes 2 days. Each job is unique so don’t be surprised if it takes a shorter or longer time to complete the job.
What are my responsibilities?
Delays in buildings are not only a pain, but they can also end up costing you money. Therefore, it’s always best to avoid any mistakes when possible. This means knowing what you need to do and getting it done on time.
While it is the demolition company’s responsibility to check all services have been disconnected before they start demolition, depending on the company, it may be your responsibility to actually organise these disconnections. From our personal experience, it’s best to start these procedures sooner rather than later.
Services you’ll need to disconnect include:
- Phone lines
- If your property has air-conditioners, they need to be professionally degassed before demolition services begin.
How much does it cost to knock down a house in Brisbane?
It will depend on the project itself, but usually, it’ll cost between $12,000-50,000. We know that’s quite a spread, but the specifics of your project will be key to determining a price. Like any building project, one or two variables can change this number significantly. Some of the most common influencing factors include:
- Site access, or how accessible your property is
- The size of the building you’re knocking down
- How much vegetation, secondary buildings and other demolition works need to be completed
- How much hazardous material needs to be removed.
To give you an idea of how much difference one variable can make, asbestos removal can easily add another $30,000 dollars to your costs. Tree removal can vary wildly from $300-20,000 depending on the size, location and condition of the tree. Any job that has a danger element will probably add to your costs.
The cost of a knockdown rebuild is a big enough topic that we’ve written an entire article on it, breaking down what you’re paying for and what can add to costs. Click here to read the article yourself.
Our tips to help find a home demolition contractor in Brisbane
A demolition is a big project that doesn’t come cheap, so it’s worth putting in the legwork to find the best demolition contractor for you. Let’s take a look at some of the questions you need to ask before hiring a demolition company.
Questions to ask home demolition contractors
Most demolition companies are reputable and trustworthy, however, there are some shady characters out there ruining it for the rest. Here are some questions you can ask your potential demolition contractor:
- What are your credentials? Anyone who is fully licensed with the right credentials should be more than happy to show them to you. Why wouldn’t they if it means they get the job? Any company or individual who’s reluctant should be someone you’re suspicious of.
- Can I see some referrals? Good word of mouth is the lifeblood of any business. Ask for some referrals from previous clients. You can also conduct your own research by searching for online reviews.
- How much experience do you have? Demolition is a big job, so you’ll want someone who’s done this before. A highly experienced team will be more efficient it’ll be and more adaptable they will be should any problems arise.
- Can I have the quote in writing? Verbal agreements have a way of not being kept. It quickly becomes a he-said, she-said scenario. Getting a quote in writing means the company is willing to keep its word and they aren’t all hot air.
- Can you run me through your process? During your initial consultation, bring some photos of the building you want to demolish and ask the demolition contractors to take you through their process. This is their bread and butter, so they should be happy to take you through it and answer any questions you have.
Red flags to look out for before hiring demolition contractors
We often want to assume the best of people, but when it comes to a big project like a demolition, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. With that in mind, here are a couple of red flags to watch out for.
Inability to valid references
If your potential contractor weasels out of providing references, you really need to ask yourself why? Surely if clients were singing their praises, they’d be thrilled to share this to help their business. When you’re provided with references, don’t just take it in good faith that they’re valid. Take the time to contact the references and ask detailed questions about how they felt their demolition went.
Reluctance to show qualifications
Just because someone is qualified for one thing, doesn’t mean they’re qualified for everything. If the contractor is reluctant to offer their credentials or makes out you’re asking too much, it might be a sign they’re not as qualified as they’re making out.
Vague or non-existent contract
This is a big one. Written contracts are vital to any agreement, especially when there are thousands of deals. They’re your go-to documentation of the agreement and are legally binding. If your contractor doesn’t want to draw up a contract, turn around and get out of there. If anything seems fishy about the contract, don’t ignore your instincts. Have a third party look over it for you if need be.
Project and Payment Details
Some of us feel uncomfortable being blunt about money, but this isn’t a time to be shy. How much you’re paying, what you’re paying for and a payment schedule are things that need to be crystal clear to you. Your contractor should be upfront about costs and provide a detailed plan for the project. This will include the scope of the work, start date and estimated completion date. There should also be stipulations outlining what happens if there are unforeseen issues, delays or problems.
Offer quote without coming to see the property
Some demolition companies will offer to provide a free quote online without coming to inspect your property personally. Don’t accept this quote as it’s bound to be overpriced. It also isn’t a great look for the demolition company if they can’t be bothered to come out to your property to provide a detailed and accurate quote.
Examples of quotes
Below we’re going to have a look at some real-life examples of demolition quotes. While we’ve removed all identifying information, all the below are quotes from different companies for the same potential project.
Below you can see the second quote for the same job from a different company:
As you can see from the above, the quotes are quite different and vary in price by $12,000. However both offer different levels of service, with one offering asbestos removal while the other doesn’t.
When you receive a quote, you don’t want to just receive a number. Ideally, you’ll have a layout of exactly what is included, any extra costs (asbestos removal for example) clearly specified and any exclusions you need to be aware of. It’s worth getting a few quotes from a few highly regarded demolition contractors to give yourself the best chance of snagging a deal. How do you know who the best demolition companies are? This is where Buildi can help…
Who are the most reputable and highly rated home demolition contractors in Brisbane
When most people are demolishing a house, it’s the first time they’re doing it. It can be a steep learning curve and with every demolition company claiming they’re offering the best deal, it’s tricky to tell who’s got the goods and who’s trying to pull a fast one on you.
At Buildi we help home builders through the entire building process. Buildi has worked with many clients on knockdown rebuild projects and demolition projects. We know a good demolition contract from a bad contract. We can also help with leading asbestos removal services. Whatever your demolition requirements, we’ve got you covered.