Time to Demo Your House? - Avoid These Common Mistakes

Stephen Weir December 05, 2018

As commuters look for the ideal neighborhood instead of the ideal home, replacing aging homes in desirable neighborhoods has become the way to marry the ideal neighborhood with the dream home. This redevelopment of residential properties is breathing life back into communities and changing the faces of neighborhoods all across Canada. Redeveloping sites comes with its own set of challenges, being prepared for these challenges can help ensure it is an exciting and enjoyable process right from the start.
Regulations: As home owners and builders are working through the permitting process with their local municipality, we regularly see owners not getting a Pre Demolition Designated Substance Survey/Report(DSS or DDR) on the building that is going to be demolished. Typically, it’s just from not knowing a DSS is required prior to demolishing any structure, and no, houses are not exempt from this requirement. Often the owner will not be aware that it is required until they are getting prices for the demolition. We’ve even seen municipalities tender large demolition projects without having a DSS completed and then delay the project until this can be properly dealt with. 
Being prepared and knowing about this can help the owner right from the very start of the project. In addition to a DSS being the law, having one will be helpful when considering purchasing the property, when working through the budgeting or costing phase of the project and during the tendering of the demolition work. A DSS will identify any Designated Substances, like asbestos, and quantify the amounts present. This can then be used to determine the cost to remove the asbestos in accordance with regulations and dispose of in accordance with local requirements. Another helpful thing for owners to do when budgeting for the project, is to allow for some additional costs during the abatement, as sometimes designated substances are found during the demolition of the structure, and while no one likes surprises, being prepared for them can take some of the sting out of the additional cost.
Permits and Disconnection of Services: Spending the time to plan out the construction and not rushing into things will start you off right. Every municipality has different requirements when it comes to demolition permits, service disconnection and reconnection. Taking the time to understand and know what is required will help in the planning and execution of the work. Permits and disconnects can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 12 weeks to obtain, depending on what your doing with the site, what you are hoping to reuse and what municipality you’re working with. Contacting each of the main service providers, water, sewer, gas and hydro, during the planning phase will ensure awareness ahead of time and will help the homeowner or contractor with the scheduling of the work.
Taking on a redevelopment project is exciting; the neighborhood’s landscape is changing in a positive and rewarding way for the community. Taking a practical and realistic approach to access and the constraints of the site combined with open discussions with the contractors can help the owner to leverage the experience of the team to best maximize the site space. By taking the time to carefully plan the project out, ensuring you are working with a team of experts and utilizing the team to their fullest potential, will help make your project a success.

Post written by: Christina Murray budgetbin.ca

builder, construction, demo, demolition, home, landscape, permit, regulations, renovation, residential

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