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All Fall Down: Tips for Your Building Demolition

A couple of decades ago, watching videos of buildings being demolished or imploded was popular network television viewing. It still seems to be fairly popular online, as Youtube has over 100,000 videos of buildings collapsing in a heap.   

Apparently, watching skyscrapers, offices, stadiums and homes being ripped to shreds or blown to bits is a thrilling sight for millions of people. Now, why that is so entertaining is fodder for conversation among social scientists and pop psychologists. But, that’s not our focus here.

When it comes to demolishing a building, we are the technicians and construction workers who do it. It’s not entertainment for us. It’s a job and one that has to be done to make way for new homes, new roads and other practical and beautfication projects.

But, more importantly, many buildings are demolished for the health and safety of that location’s citizens. There are thousands of buildings demolished each year which have been inspected and proven to be unsafe due to age, fire or storm damage or outright neglect and postponed maintenance.

So, when the time comes to get the job done, here are Eleven Tips to Consider for Your Building Demolition:

1. Determine if it needs to be demolished: If you are at the point of wondering if it should be demolished, it probably does. However, it can’t be done only by a sight inspection.

2. Hire a building inspector: For records and permit purposes, have a licensed building inspector inspect the building. They will probably confirm that due to the buildings condition, it should be demolished and will give you an inspection report to use as you apply. Additionally, they will report on the presence of any asbestos, mold, rotted wood, lead paint or hazardous materials.

3. Apply for all necessary permits: Every locality requires a permit to demolish a building. You can get them at city hall. Your local government website should have all the information on applying for one. They will ask the standard questions concerning the noise, notifications to neighbors, time of the demolition and how the debris will be disposed. Permits usually take only a few days or weeks to obtain. Just don’t wait until the last minute.   

4. Disconnect all utilities: Major messes might occur if you haven’t cut off the supply to the gas, water, sewage or electrical services. Serious accidents to workers or even fatalities might occur if the electricity and gas are not shut down. Give the power company two weeks or more notice to do it before demolishing the building.

5. Contract all the demolishing equipment: It can be costly if you have your demolishing day(s) all set up but are missing a piece of equipment to do it. That delays doing the project and could cost thousands of dollars. So, meet with the excavation company to see which vehicles you will need. Will you require a front end loader? A dump truck? A mini-excavator? A wood chipper? They can help you choose the right equipment and reserve them for you on the day you do the demolishing.

6. Make sure the site is safe: You will need to erect temporary fencing around the site. Place all signs and permits where they can be clearly seen by pedestrians and motorists. Also, send letters or fliers to your neighbors letting them know about the project and that there will be considerable noise and hubbub until the project is completed.

7. Make salvage arrangements: Most buildings have its share of reusable or recyclable materials such as fixtures, boards, bricks, nails and other items. You can donate them to Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation Army or other non-profits. That helps your local charities and as a tax write-off, too. (Consult your accountant, of course, on that one.)

8. Make disposal arrangements: All of the other materials that cannot be salvaged, need to be gathered up and taken to the dump. Have a local trash company pick up the material or you may want to use the dump truck you rented to transport the junk to the trash dump. Make sure this is done promptly after the demolishing of the building or you will have some angry neighbors.


9. Demolish the building: You’ve done all you’re supposed to do in the prep work. Now, tear it down! For the social media fanatic, record and post it on your social media channels. Okay, that was only a suggestion.

10. Start on the next project: Congratulations, it’s done! Now, after you have cleaned up the site, finished off the bottle of water and wiped your brow, begin planning on the new project on that same site. To save money and time, use the equipment and materials you have on the site and begin constructing the new building. No time like the present.

11. Hire a licensed contractor to demolish it!: If you’re demolishing an old shed, you may be able to do it yourself. However, larger buildings are not for amateurs. Hire a licensed contractor to complete the task as it can be dangerous and even reckless to demolish the building on your own.  

Demolishing a building can be done efficiently and affordably. Just do the prep work and make sure you have it all ready the day you tear it down.

Williams Loader Service, Inc., will demolish a house or building for you. We recommend we hire a licensed contractor. We also do partial demolitions due to fire, flood or storm damage. Contact us at (434) 589-3759 for a consultation or email us at susan@williamsloaderservice.com.


4104 Ruritan Lake Rd 

Palmyra, Va 22963

TEL: 434-589-3759

EMAIL: susan@williamsloaderservice.com

© All Rights Reserved 2015 by  Philip Day Communications


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