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How much it costs to demolish a house: The average price for tearing down a building

  • May 24, 2024
  • 5 min read
How much it costs to demolish a house: The average price for tearing down a building

Deciding to knock down a house is a big deal and needs careful thought. Whether it’s because the house is falling apart, you want to update it, there’s a chance to develop the land, or rules say it has to go, tearing down a building comes with costs, environmental concerns, and future considerations.

In our guide to house demolition costs, we cover:

  • What things influence how much it costs to demolish a house
  • The average price for tearing down a house
  • Costs per square meter for demolition
  • Expenses for demolishing a house containing asbestos
  • How to get quotes for house demolition, and more.

Related article:

What things influence how much it costs to demolish a house

Here’s a simplified breakdown of what affects the cost of demolishing a house and what you need to consider:

Old brick building demolition with an excavator bucket in dust cloud, view from above.
  1. Size of your house: Bigger houses mean more work and materials, which equals higher costs. Disposing of debris from a larger house also adds to the expenses.
  2. Type of demolition: Whether you opt for manual demolition, using machines like excavators, or controlled explosives (implosion), each method comes with different costs.
  3. Location: Demolition costs vary depending on where your house is located. Factors like local labour rates, availability of contractors, and permits needed can all impact the total cost.
  4. Hazardous materials: If your house contains dangerous stuff like asbestos or lead-based paint, safely removing and disposing of these materials will bump up the price.
  5. Foundation and site conditions: The type of foundation your house has and the condition of the site affect how complex the demolition process is, which influences costs.
  6. Utilities disconnection: Disconnecting utilities like water, gas, and electricity is crucial for safety. But it adds to the cost of demolition.
  7. Debris removal: Getting rid of all the demolished materials, like concrete and wood, costs money. Landfill fees and transportation expenses also play a part.
  8. Pest and rodent control: If your property has pests, you’ll need to sort that out. It’s often a requirement from local authorities.
  9. Tree removal: Check if any trees need to be removed. Sometimes, pruning or root work can save money compared to full removal.
  10. Demolition permits: Before you start, make sure you know your local council’s rules. You’ll likely need a permit, which can cost a few hundred dollars.

Remember, these factors can affect each other. For example, a bigger house might mean more time spent on hazardous materials or utility disconnection, leading to higher costs. Similarly, the presence of hazardous materials might influence which demolition method you can use.

The average price for tearing down a house

On average, demolishing a house in Australia can range from $12,000 to $40,000, with the typical cost around $17,000.

Using heavy machinery like excavators and bulldozers for mechanical demolition is often the quickest and most cost-effective method.

You can cut costs by considering salvage and sell options. Some companies salvage materials like steel and bricks for reuse, potentially earning you between $800 to $12,000, which can significantly reduce demolition expenses.

Excavator destroying brick house on land in countryside. Bulldozer clearing land from old bricks and concrete from walls with dirt and trash. Backhoe machinery ruining house

Costs per square meter for demolition

Now, let’s break down demolition costs per square meter:

Demolition costs per m2 If you’re wondering how to estimate demolition expenses for your property, many companies use a per-square-meter rate, providing a useful way to gauge potential costs.

Typically, demolition costs range from $40 to $100 per square meter for standard demolitions without hazardous materials.

For an accurate estimate tailored to your specific property, it’s best to consult demolition contractors. They can evaluate your property’s unique features and provide a detailed breakdown of costs.

How much does it cost to demolish a house with asbestos?

Removing asbestos significantly increases the demolition cost, typically by around $2,500 compared to a standard demolition. However, the final cost varies depending on factors such as the type and quantity of asbestos, its location, and local disposal fees.

If your house was built between 1920 and 1990, it likely contains asbestos. Asbestos removal is usually three times more expensive than dealing with regular construction materials due to the need for specialized expertise, extra labour, and specific handling procedures.

Handling hazardous materials like asbestos or mould also adds to the demolition expense. Before demolishing your house, arrange for an inspection to identify any asbestos or mould. This assessment will help determine the appropriate demolition approach.

Demolition of an old house, wooden planks and rubble and the ruins of the house for new construction project.

Need to know how much it costs to demolish a house?

To get accurate quotes, you should gather estimates from several reputable demolition contractors.

Before contacting them, gather essential details about your property, like its size, location, construction materials, and any potential hazards.

Most contractors prefer to visit the site in person to assess the project’s scope. This helps them understand challenges and provide a precise quote. During the visit, you can also ask questions.

Ask for detailed quotes covering labour, equipment, permits, debris disposal, and other expenses. Ensure the quote breaks down each cost for clarity.

Don’t just focus on the price; consider the contractor’s reputation, experience, timeline, and guarantees. Check online reviews and references to gauge reliability and quality.

Remember, the cheapest option might not deliver the best results. Balance cost with quality and the contractor’s ability to meet your needs.

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