A guide to demolishing a property

When you’ve succeeded in your search for the perfect piece of land for your dream home, you could find that the plot has been developed earlier.

This is known as ‘knock-down’ or a replacement plot: land occupied by an existing structure that for one reason or another, it is not feasible to recover or expand and is only suitable for demolition and replacement.

Image credit

Perhaps the current structure is not the right size or shape. It is also more attractive to demolish and rebuild as new dwellings benefit from 0% VAT while a renovation and extension is usually rated at 20%

Do I need Planning Permission to demolish?

Planning permission isn’t usually needed for demolitions that are classified as Permitted Development. Restrictions by the local authority can apply to listed buildings or those in a Conservation Area. In this case, any demolition will need planning permission. You will also need a special permit if the building is registered, or in a Conservation Area.

Do I need Planning Permission for a Replacement Dwelling?

Planning policies usually allow a replacement residence, even in open countryside, providing the building has not been abandoned.

The legal definition of abandonment is not defined entirely, so it is always best to get permission to replace a structure before demolition. The policies regarding replacement dwellings do vary across the country and in many areas there are restrictions on the scale of magnification, and positioning relating to existing homes.

Mitigating costs

Demolition cost will be reduced if there is any material with residual value. A demolition contractor will list the value of each item recovered and offset this against the quote for demolition and cleanup work at the location.

If there are existing power services, such as water, electricity and sewerage, these are usually reusable thus enabling further savings when compared to a virgin plot of land. Most of the cost of demolition relates to landfill and transport, so it can reduce the cost if there is scope for reuse or disposal of toxic waste at the site.

How long will it take?

The time needed to work dismantling depends on the scale and complexity but will usually take four to eight days. If the property is a semi-detached or terraced house, remaining buildings will need support throughout the demolition, adding to the cost.

If additional needs are identified, such as removing asbestos, this may complicate the process. There are strict rules on the removal and handling of asbestos, and it may be best to get reports and quotes from specialist contractors. For Demolition Bristol, visit a site like David Horton specialists in Demolition.

Image credit

The environmental impact

In a rural area, it is a possibility that a wildlife survey conducted by ecological consultants will be required by the local planning authority, as part of the pre-application process for replacing a structure.

If there is evidence of endangered species, such as owls, bats, newts or badgers, reports will be sought from wildlife specialists before work can continue, and it will usually make suggestions on the best time of year for demolition work to be carried out and necessary mitigation measures, such as providing an alternative habitat.