Sydney Home Show

Sydney Home Show

The Sydney home show plays host to some of the greatest business in the homewares and building industries and as usual Home Demolitions will be there. Home Demolitions will be located at stand H46, you will be able to recognise us by the large excavator we are bringing with us. Feel free to come take a look and chat to us about any upcoming projects you might have.

Wildlife in the roof when demolishing a house. 

Wildlife in the roof when demolishing a house. 

Recently in Sydney suburbs such as Ryde, Gladesville, Denistone, Eastwood and surrounding areas, Home Demolitions has found some wildlife lurking in places that often get overlooked. Be it possums, snakes or even bats, we strive to make sure wildlife gets a chance to leave before demolition begins. In the event the wildlife doesn’t leave, we always contact the appropriate wildlife services so animals can be safely removed.

Trump's EPA to ease up on asbestos regulation.

Trump's EPA to ease up on asbestos regulation.

The USA’s EPA has recently enacted the Significant New Use Rule. This rule allows the government to evaluate asbestos use on a case by case basis. Unfortunately the new rule does not include the evaluation of exposure to asbestos in the air, ground or water. Asbestos has never been banned in the USA, however, it is tightly controlled.

Do I need to empty my house before demolition?

Do I need to empty my house before demolition?

When demolishing a home often many household items are found left behind. This can be due to many factors be it renters leaving things behind, home owners looking to leave behind old items and start over, items being over looked or even items that are hidden away in cavities such as roofs, under houses or sometimes buried.

Thinking About Demolishing? Here Are Five Things You Need To Know.

Thinking About Demolishing? Here Are Five Things You Need To Know.

There is a lot more to demolition than meets the eye and although we certainly couldn’t fit everything in one blog post, here are a few pointers to get you in the right direction if you are thinking about demolishing. 

So You Want To Demolish A House Part Four: Structural Demolition

For the uninitiated, demolishing a house can be a daunting task. There are countless factors that can effect the time and cost of your demolition job, lots of paper work to sign and then there’s the actual structural demolition!

To make the whole process a little less daunting we have put together a series of blogs called 'So you want to demolish a house'. Each instalment will walk you step-by-step through the process of demolishing - from getting a quote to the actual demolition.

It has taken us four weeks but we are finally here, to the part where the magic happens! That's right, at this point you should know all about getting your quote, council approval and asbestos removal, which means it is finally time to talk about the actual house demolition. 

 Time to talk about our favourite part of the job!

Time to talk about our favourite part of the job!

Given that performing residential demolition is a fairly big and multi-faceted undertaking, in this blog post we will use the term 'structural demolition', when referring to the part of the process where we turn your unwanted dwelling into rubble. 

A lot of people think of explosives or a wrecking ball when they think of structural demolition; however, most residential demolishers (including Home Demolitions) actually use excavators for this part of the process. This type of demolition, i.e demolition performed with excavators, is known as mechanical demolition.

 Sorry Miley, no wrecking balls here. 

Sorry Miley, no wrecking balls here. 

During structural demolition an excavator methodically knocks down the house, usually working segment by segment. This involves demolishing a wall or two and then sorting the rubble into bricks and waste before moving onto the next part of the house. 

Structural demolition varies greatly in the amount of time it takes: a small wooden shack could be down in just over an hour while a bigger brick home could easily take a couple of days. 

During this process trucks will also come to site to take away the waste products created from the demolition. Materials that can be re-used - such as bricks, pavers or tiles - are taken to be recycled while other materials are taken to the tip to become landfill.

 An excavator can make short work of even the strongest wall. 

An excavator can make short work of even the strongest wall. 

For this reason the location of your house can greatly affect how much your demolition job will cost. The further the site is from a tip, the more time, and therefore the more money, it will take to dispose of the waste. 

Here at Home Demolitions we care deeply for the environment and do our best to recycle everything we can from our demolition sites. This helps to preserve the environment by both reducing the amount of material going into landfill and reducing the amount of new building supplies needed. Plus, since we are able to sell recovered bricks and tiles to recycled building supply vendors like the Recycled Building Centre and Cheap As Bricks we can pass the saving on to you!

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So You Want To Demolish A House Part Three: Asbestos Removal

For the uninitiated, demolishing a house can be a daunting task. There are countless factors that can effect the time and cost of your demolition job, lots of paper work to sign and then there’s the actual structural demolition!

To make the whole process a little less daunting we have put together a series of blogs called 'So you want to demolish a house'. Each instalment will walk you step-by-step through the process of demolishing - from getting a quote to the actual demolition.

This week we thought we would talk about the elephant in the room, and by that we are of course referring to asbestos.

 Asbestos fibres can lead to serious health problems if inhaled so it is important asbestos is removed safely by a trained professional.

Asbestos fibres can lead to serious health problems if inhaled so it is important asbestos is removed safely by a trained professional.

It really is impossible to talk about demolition in Australia without talking about asbestos, as asbestos removal is a huge part of the demolition industry.

Asbestos has been banned in Australia for 15 years now, but the ban isn't retroactive, so if the home you are looking at demolishing was built before 1990 then there is a high chance it will contain asbestos in one form or another.

In Australia, asbestos is found in the home in two main forms:

Friable asbestos: The more dangerous of the two, friable asbestos has its fibres exposed. This type of asbestos was generally used in ceilings as insulation

Non-friable asbestos: Non-friable refers to asbestos fibres being suspended or encased in another material, such as cement. Asbestos fibre board, known colloquially as ‘fibro’, is the most common form of non-friable asbestos. 

Due to its warmer, more temperate climate, friable asbestos insulation products are usually not found in Sydney

 Asbestso removal in progress

Asbestso removal in progress

When an estimator comes to your property to give you a demolition quote, they will also identify any asbestos that needs to be removed before the excavators can start rolling in.

Even if the dwelling you are looking to demolish doesn’t have any visible asbestos, there is a good chance chance it could contain asbestos underneath tiles, in piping or behind fire places or splash backs. In some cases we have even discovered entire walls made out of asbestos sneakily hidden behind brick veneer!

 Asbestos has a habit of hiding where you least expect it, like behind this supposedly 'solid' brick wall. 

Asbestos has a habit of hiding where you least expect it, like behind this supposedly 'solid' brick wall. 

A few days before the structural demolition of the property starts, a trained asbestos crew will remove any and all asbestos contained in the house. Since asbestos fibres can lead to serious health problems if inhaled, the asbestos crew removes each panel of asbestos fibre board piece by piece without breaking it. The removed panels are then wrapped in plastic and placed in a skip for disposal.

As you would expect, this process is tedious and time consuming, but it is the only safe and legally compliant way to remove asbestos from a property. 

While this asbestos is being removed any tiles on the dwelling's roof will also be removed. This is so the tiles can be disposed of separately from any general waste. Since tiles are dense and heavy this saves on tipping costs and helps keep the price of your demolition down. 

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So You Want To Demolish A House Part Two: Development Approval And Service Disconnection

For the uninitiated, demolishing a house can be a daunting task. There are countless factors that can effect the time and cost of your demolition job, lots of paper work to sign and then there’s the actual structural demolition!

To make the whole process a little less daunting we have put together a series of blogs called 'So you want to demolish a house'. Each instalment will walk you step-by-step through the process of demolishing - from getting a quote to the actual demolition.

approved.jpg

In our first instalment we talked all about getting a demolition quote, and the sort of factors that will effect the price of your demo job. This time we are taking a look at what comes next after you have decided on a demolisher and signed your quote. 

Under the NSW Planning and Environmental Assessment Act the demolition of pretty much any structure counts as development. This means that approval is required before your demolisher can get started. 

This approval can be obtained in one of two ways:

The first, is by applying for Development Approval (known as DA) from council. This involves applying directly to your local council. It is worth noting that each council has its own requirements when it comes to applying for a DA so it pays to do your research.

 You must obtain approval either via a DA or CDC before demolition can begin. 

You must obtain approval either via a DA or CDC before demolition can begin. 

The second option is by organising a Complying Development Certificate (known as a CDC) which can be arranged by your contracted demolition company. In this scenario a third party certifier sends your application to council. Since CDC is a set requirement across all of NSW the requirements are always the same, regardless of what council your property is in. 

Generally speaking the CDC process takes 21 days in total: two weeks while the application sits with council followed by an additional seven day waiting period. 

During this time you are required to hand out letters to neighbouring properties informing them that demolition work will be taking place. These letters must be distributed at least seven days before demolition begins.

In addition to approval from council, all services must be disconnected from the property prior to demolition. This includes electricity, water, gas and NBN access if the property has it. If you pick Home Demolitions as your demolition contractor we can organise electricity, water and NBN disconnection for you. 

 Before the excavators come rolling in make sure all your ammenities have been disconnected!

Before the excavators come rolling in make sure all your ammenities have been disconnected!

A final thing to consider is whether the property has any air conditioning units. If it does the units must be professionally degassed before demolition can begin. Air conditioning units contain either R22 or R4 gas, and both are harmful to the environment. Under the Ozone protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act of 1989 it is illegal to discharge these gases into the environment and harsh fines apply for doing so. 

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So You Want To Demolish A House Part One: The Quote

For the uninitiated, demolishing a house can be a daunting task. There are countless factors that can affect the time and cost of your demolition job, lots of paper work to sign and then there’s the actual structural demolition. 

Plus, if you are demolishing with the intention of rebuilding you have to think about all this while liaising with a builder and planning your new dream home!

 Life's big questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? How much will it cost to demolish my home?

Life's big questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? How much will it cost to demolish my home?

So, to make the process a little less daunting we thought we would walk you through every step of the demolition process with a series of blogs. This first instalment takes a look at the first stop on your demolition journey: the quote.

Like we mentioned above, every demolition job is made up of a handful of variable factors. Factors like the slope of the land, the materials the house is made of, the location of the property, site access and the presence/amount of asbestos all affect the total cost of your demolition job. For this reason it would be impossible for us to provide an accurate quote over the phone; in order to do that we need to physically inspect the property. 

 Sure, it might not be rocket science, but providing an accurate quote is more complicated than you might think!

Sure, it might not be rocket science, but providing an accurate quote is more complicated than you might think!

Once you have filled out a demolition quote request, which will ask for some basic information about the property, we will contact you to arrange a time for our assessor to view the property destined for demolition. 

When visiting the site our assessor will also be able to establish whether additional services are required, including:

Asbestos removal: One of the most common services required when demolishing a house is the removal of asbestos. In order to be removed safely, asbestos containing products, like asbestos fibre cement sheeting, must be removed by hand and wrapped in plastic before being safely and legally disposed of. 

Tree lopping: Sometimes a demolition job will also require that trees and shrubbery are removed. Depending on the size and location of the tree this can be fairly straightforward or more complex, requiring specialised rigging and machinery.

Pool Removal: In addition to demolishing houses, we also have extensive experience removing unwanted pools. Once the cement and tiling is removed we can fill the empty pool site and ensure the filled land is compact enough to build on. 

Pool removal

Disconnection of ammenities: We can organise service disconnection for all the ammenities currently connected to the house. This includes water, gas, electricity, access to the NBN as well as degassing any air conditioner units in the property.   

Site Benching/ Levelling: In addition to demolition services if you are planning on rebuilding we can level and slope the land to your builder’s specifications. This eliminates the need for a third party excavator and means your builder can get to work even quicker. Just ask us and we can add the cost of site benching to your demolition quote!

As you can see there is more to a demolition quote than what you might think, but don’t worry, one of our experienced assessors will talk you through the process to ensure you get a competitive quote that includes all the services you require.

If you have any questions about the quoting process please don’t hesitate to get in contact!

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New research suggests Carbon Nanotubes could be the new asbestos

Carbon Nanotubes, also known as CNTs, can be commonly found in household electrical appliances, bicycle equipment, and even tennis rackets! 

The material is prized for its conductivity - which is ten times that of copper- and its tensile strength - 100 times that of steel - so it’s not surprising that many have dubbed Carbon Nanotubes a ‘Wonder Material’.

However, new research from the toxicology department of the UK’s Medical Research Council suggests that CNTs could be linked to mesothelioma.

 Carbon Nanotubes: small, but potentially deadly

Carbon Nanotubes: small, but potentially deadly

If this all sounds worryingly familiar, that’s because it is. In our nation’s not too distant past asbestos once shared a similar reputation and was prized for its impressive heat resistant properties. 

Since then, the cancer causing properties of asbestos and its links to mesothelioma have become widely known and in 2003 Australia banned the deadly mineral. 

During the CNT experiments researchers introduced CNT fibres and asbestos fibres into the pleural cavity of mice, a body part similar to human lungs. The animals were then monitored for a period of twenty months. 

What the researchers found was that mice with the introduced fibres had their cellular pathways for inflammation and caner activated and their DNA damaged; results that mymicked asbestos exposure. This was replicated over three different study groups.

 Between 10-25% of the lab mice exposed to Carbon Nanotubes began to develop Mesothelioma. 

Between 10-25% of the lab mice exposed to Carbon Nanotubes began to develop Mesothelioma. 

The results of these three study groups showed that that between 10% and 25% of the animals exposed to CNT’s went onto develop mesothelioma.

The study was carefully set-up in order to replicate the low levels of chronic exposure  experienced by workers in the asbestos industry. The lab conditions reflected what it would be like to be exposed to fibres in the air, eight hours a day, for a working life of 40 years. 

Although the study certainly doesn’t prove that CNTs can cause mesothelioma in humans, it does make it frightfully clear that more research needs to be done and that CNTs may not be safe after all.

If nothing else, it is a reminder that It would be naive to think that an asbestos-level tragedy couldn’t happen again. 

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Please, leave demolition to the professionals!

In popular culture the idea of demolition seems to be synonymous with a rebirth; the idea that by tearing apart an old decrepit building you are also exercising the run-down parts of yourself and making room for something to new emerge. The whole thing is viewed as almost a sort of spiritual cleansing, a physical path to self actualisation.

This idea is of course not new, just look at the myth of the Phoenix or countless stories of resurrection that permeate mythology. What is new, is the way that it seems to have attached itself to structural demolition. 

 Could use a little help here guys... GUYS!?!

Could use a little help here guys... GUYS!?!

Take for example a recent piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald in which the author links demolishing his late father’s shed to the emotional work of moving on from the death of your dad. Although we certainly can’t argue with the personal journey the author went one while dismantling his father’s beloved shed, as professionals in the demolition industry the story raised a few red flags with us.

The author talks about removing asbestos sheeting that was stored in the old shed, brushing it off as just another item to get rid off; however, getting rid of asbestos is dangerous and  Australia’s disturbingly high rates of mesothelioma - one of the highest in the developed world - are in part due to home renovators removing or modifying asbestos without knowing what they are dealing with. 

 Asbestos removal in progress. 

Asbestos removal in progress. 

The other concerning part of the article is the author’s account of taking apart his fathers custom built and bizarrely constructed shed, armed only with a sledge hammer and a crowbar.

Going to town on an unwanted building with a sledge hammer may look cool on screen, but in reality if you don’t know what you are doing there is risk of  injury from the building collapsing or debris falling. 

This is why when we perform house demolitions we work systematically, carefully knocking down one section of the structure at a time.

A more extreme example of society’s fascination with demolition is the demolition party, which involves a group of party goes descending on a house doomed for demolition. What follows is exactly what you would expect from a group of intoxicated party goers given free reign to mistreat a doomed property; unsavoury words getting scrawked on every conceivable surface, windows get broken and walls get kicked in.

 Now this is a demolition party we can get behind.

Now this is a demolition party we can get behind.

As you might have already guessed, damage to walls and fittings can often lead to asbestos exposure and the house becoming contaminated with dangerous asbestos fibres. For this reason we strongly advise against having a demolition party. 

Don’t get us wrong, here at Home Demolitions we love a fresh start as much as the next guy (after all that is what we are offering our customers) but this ongoing narrative that demolishing a building is a spiritually cleansing experience shouldn’t exclude the dangers that come with someone untrained undertaking demolition works. 

So please, next time you are think of getting all spiritual with a sledgehammer maybe try some yoga instead!

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Demolition and the Environment

A common misconception about the demolition industry, and by extension those that work in it, is that demolition contractors have little concern for the environment.

To many, the demolition industry is characterised by machines blasting exhaust, huge clouds of dust, and rubble strewn everywhere. Not only is this stereotype untrue, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Demolition and environment.jpg

At Home Demolitions we take great care to limit the impact our demolition operations have on the environment. Many of us at Home Demolitions have young children and as a result are deeply invested in a sustainable future for the next generation.

Obviously, demolition operations will always have some level of negative impact on the environment, such as wasted resources and disturbing soil; however, this base level of impact is as much the product of modern society's constant need for new development rather then the fault of the individual demolisher. After all we are simply responding to a need in the market to remove unwanted and derelict properties. 

To make up for the unavoidable environmental damage that takes place from operating heavy machinery and destroying unwanted housing, Home Demolitions has practices in place to both reduce and offset any negative effects to the environment caused by demolition works.  These practices include:

 At our sites we use sediment control fencing, like that pictured above, to prevent soil and sediment being carried off site and polluting local waterways.

At our sites we use sediment control fencing, like that pictured above, to prevent soil and sediment being carried off site and polluting local waterways.

Sediment Control: During demolition and excavation works soil becomes disturbed, both a side effect of removing the house and tracking trucks and excavators over the site. This can lead to accelerated erosion or soil and sediment being carried off the site by rain and polluting local waterways. 

To prevent this from happening we use Geofabric fencing at our demolition sites, a type of sediment control fencing that allows water to pass through while catching any soil or sediment. Not only is implementing such sediment control measures the responsible thing to do, it is also required by law. 

Material Salvaging and Recycling: Home Demolitions leads the way in environmentally sustainable demolition practices by salvaging and recycling bricks, tiles, wood and other fittings from our demolition sites. These salvaged materials are sold at affordable prices through the Recycled Building Centre. The environmental benefit of recycling materials is twofold: less material ends up in landfill and old building materials are reused reducing the need to manufacture new materials. 

DSC01654.jpg

Reducing Air Pollution: Before commencing demolition works we make sure that any air conditioners on the property have been properly degassed to prevent gas being discharged during demolition. 

During structural demolition one of our labourers also sprays down the building being demolished with water to prevent dust and debris being disturbed and rising into the air.

Asbestos Removal and Renumeration: By carrying out asbestos removal work Home Demolitions is helping to get this dangerous substance out of our communities and contributing to an asbestos-free Sydney. All removed asbestos is safely and legally disposed of. 

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Demolition and the NBN

So, you're one of the lucky ones that has access to the NBN. You can get your cat videos extra fast, downloads done in a jiffy and dominate at online games without risk of lag. But what happens when it is time to demolish your NBN enabled property?

nbn101_101_3.jpg

This may seem like a pretty straightforward question, but given the ongoing issues with the NBN it is not overly surprising that the answer to the question is fairly hard to come by. Even the offical NBN website has little to say on the topic. 

But fear not! Us folks here at Home Demolitions have had experience organising NBN disconnection for the purposes of demolition and are here to guide you through the process. 

The first, and possibly most important, thing to remember is that any devices that were installed in the property to enable NBN access remain the property of NBN Co.

NBN co is the government corporation set up to design, build, roll-out and operate the NBN.

 Brb, just demolishing the interwebs.

Brb, just demolishing the interwebs.

The Network Termination Device (also known as the NTD or the NBN connection box) and a power supply would have been installed when the NBN was first enabled at the property and must be removed by NBN Co for demolition can commence.

The NTD and power supply are mounted to a wall inside the house. The NTD is a small white device that resembles a modem or router while the power supply is the larger white device with two blue buttons (see image below).

NBN Battery.jpg

The NBN lead in cabling, which connects the NTD in the house to the node on the street,  must also be disconnected before demolition begins.. This cabling can be disconnected by a third party cabling provider authorised by the NBN.

If this still sounds confusing, don’t worry, if you choose Home Demolitions for your demolition project we can handle the NBN disconnection for you as part of our utility disconnection service

Although we obviously can’t remove any of the NBN provided infrastructure, we can liaise with NBN Co on your behalf, streamlining the process and saving you the hassle of having to organise disconnection yourself.  

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