The importance of safety when demolishing a house

As any homebuilding hopeful knows, buying a plot of land is not an easy task. Many dream of purchasing a blank canvas on which to build a beautiful, dream home, but the reality is, there is fierce competition for empty land, and it is often expensive for the homebuilder to invest in a piece of land.

What happens, more often than not, is that a piece of land may be purchased with a property already built on it, often not fit for purpose and set for demolition.

There are many advantages to demolishing a dwelling in order to start your build fresh. One is that building work on a new building has no VAT, whereas extensions and renovations to an existing home come with the 20 per cent VAT price tag. Another is that you can shape the property to your exact specifications, making fewer compromises. You can also imbue the property with all the technologies and modern materials you would like, from the start, rather than trying to hack them into an existing property.

There are important considerations when demolishing an existing property though. If the property is detached, this can be incredibly straightforward, but it is also possible to demolish terraces or semidetached dwellings. The process of actual demolition can be relatively quick – taking up to a week; but there are safety concerns that must be addressed.

Chiefly, it is important to consider the threat and danger of asbestos in the property. Although the substance has been banned for use in modern buildings, many older buildings will contain it as insulation. It is absolutely imperative that before any demolition work takes place, a qualified specialist surveys your property and any removal work is agreed to be come by a qualified professional. Asbestos exposure has severe consequences and recent cases of mesothelioma compensation have shown that the deadly lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure has become apparent in people whose asbestos exposure was environmental or incidental. Care must be taken here.

Other safety concerns may be the environmental impact of demolition. If there is any evidence of an endangered species being present within your dwelling (e.g. bats, barn owls, badgers or some species of newt) then their safety will be of utmost importance. A specialist will be able to make a report and recommendations for their migration to new habitats.

Ultimately, the demolition of an already present building can save you money and provide the fresh canvas you need to build your dream home. Being open to demolition work opens up brownfield sites or other quirky options for development, rather than being restricted to using only land that has already been cleared.