Demolition, Development Applications and Councils

With 30 different local government areas in The Sydney Metropolitan Area, each with their own specific twists and variances to the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (1979) - it's no wonder that the process of applying to knock down a house to build a new one seems daunting to say the least. With approximately 18,000 new developments being approved in NSW over the past year alone, it's surprising that no one has yet managed to streamline the rigmarole of managing development, particularly for straight forward residential structures.

Demolition in Sydney and Council

Defined as ‘development’ under the aforementioned NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act; Demolition of just about any structure technically requires consent of local Council. Exceptions are made for authorised works that fall into the category of ‘exempt development’, ‘complying development’ or under a Council Order.
Some demolition work is permitted under State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 as ‘complying development’. If you meet all requirements of the SEPP for ‘complying development’ you can lodge a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) Application with most Councils or an Accredited Certifier

council DA demolish sydney

In saying all of this however, the exact specifics as to what may fall under The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) (2008) is a subjective matter open to many avenues of interpretation - read through the entire document here. Further, the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act of 1979, as the year suggests is a little antiquated to say the least, with the majority of definitions pertaining directly to development of properties on "Crown Land" - so what does this mean for you, the aspiring developer, who knows? 

"Crown property! I think not"  - Skippy the Kangaroo

"Crown property! I think not" 
- Skippy the Kangaroo

Asbestos Cladded Fibro Homes: The demolition process.



Depending on the particular style of your home, whether it be double brick, vener, timber or a fibro shack - certain preliminary site works will need to be undertaken to ensure efficiency and safety throughout the duration of the demolition process. 
At the top of this to do list comes the removal of any asbestos containing elements or fittings of the house, commonly Australian homes built from 1940 through to 1990 will contain asbestos products within area most susceptible to prolonged exposure to moisture or heat "think of wet area splash backs and fireplaces or stove surrounds" whilst some homes have been renovated to conceal, contain or even hide these fibre board products, some simply display their past loud and proud, as is found in the essential Australian classic, fibro shack.

Fibro shed demolish

So, if any material that contains asbestos need to be removed prior to demolition, and the entire house is made out of fibro asbestos board, where does this leave you at the end of the day. Well, as seen from the images above and below, the answer is, not much!
Although painfully time consuming, there are no known alternatives to the process of carefully removing each panel individually, wrapping in a protective film and delicately placing each section in a skip for transport to a treatment facility. Whilst taking a little longer in prep work, the removal of remaining materials such as the timber frame and concrete slabs is generally pretty quick given that very little is in the way to stop the brute force of a 25 tonne excavator. 

fibro shack demolish

KnockDown Rebuild,

knock down rebuild 2017

So, you're looking to demolish a house with the sole intention of building a new one in it's place, or what is known to those in the industry as a knock down rebuild "abbreviated as KDR in some circles" but aren't sure where to start? It's more than understandable that many might find the process confusing and tiresome, given the complexity of the project and hey, it's not something people do everyday, in fact, it's something that few people will ever do in a lifetime -but don't let that stop you from having the home of your dreams.

Demolish Rebuild

Whilst there is a wealth of information and first hand experiences shared across various channels of the internet, the majority of these articles look at the process from a builders perspective with little regard for the course of demolition beforehand. Granted, the process of building a new house may seem more interesting and is thus more commonly discussed than the demolishing an old one but in reality, order of operations means that you simply cannot start building your new home until the old one comes down. 

Rebuild after Demolition

Interestingly enough, there are very few companies that actually provide a complete demolition and build package with most businesses focusing on one or the other, although it may seem logical and cost effective for a business to provide both services, the truth is that it's just too much to handle, with each stage off the project requiring a different set of permits, resources and skilled workers - the care and level of attention required to complete both tasks to perfection are better orchestrated from two seperate approaches. There is however a cross over of tasks that are somewhat universal and can be performed by either contractor, works such as excavation, benching, levelling and importing or exporting fill from the block can be actioned by either the builder or demolisher (there are even companies that specialise solely in excavation if you should so wish to employ additional contractors) and so it definitely pays to check provisions within the scope of works from all parties to your project to ensure that 1) you're not paying for the same service twice 2) you're getting the most competitive rate possible. 

Demolish to build new

You may be thinking "how complex can it really be to demolish a house?" and the straight answer is, not too complex, but it is an art that takes many years of practice to get right. Whilst the average consumer may not be entirely fussed about the particulate size of matter left on site, the gradient of the land or the depth to which a tree stump has been ground, the builder that you've engaged certainly does and thus is imperative that the demolishers that you contract have a good understanding and working relationship with the builders of your new home. Remembering that most builders will simply stop work if any element of the site is not to their individual standards. The average cost of demolishing a structure is generally no more than 2% of the total build cost and with approvals to build new dwellings often times being much easier to obtain than that to demolish an existing one, maybe it's about time that we all start giving a little more attention to the demolition befor getting too carried away with the rebuild phase of development.

Pool's Closed

It's the first day of Winter - What better reason to get rid of your old swimming pool "and entire house" because really, who wants to go swimming in Sydney's icy cold weather?
Bbbbb.......But cant you just fill the pool in with soil? Sure, if you want a giant un-drainable muddy swamp. What about demolishing the pool, leaving the concrete and adding a top layer with clean fill, great idea, just as long as you don't plan on building anything on the site ever again.

Deciduous leaves falling means it's time to get out of the pool #winter

Deciduous leaves falling means it's time to get out of the pool #winter

If your'e considering a knock down rebuild but aren't too sure whether you want to keep your pool or do away with it with the rest of the house, contact Home Demolitions today for answers pertaining to all of your swimming pool related queeries.

Demolition; 2015.

Om nom nom #CerealKiller

Om nom nom #CerealKiller

We all know Jake Gyllenhaal, he's starred in a tonne of classic films such as Bubble Boy and the ever nonsensical Donnie Darko. Although having not personally known of it, or knowing anyone that has, there is apparently a film from 2015 starring Gyllenhaal with the title: Demolition.

You want five hundred dolluh?

You want five hundred dolluh?

Not to be confused with the 1993 Snipes vs Stallone dystopian blockbuster Demolition Manthis recent drama film is about a man that loses a loved one which results in the entirety of his life being questioned. Dealing with complex thoughts and emotions, Gyllenhaal the main character finds solace in dismantling various items around his home which eventually leads to demolishing the whole house. 



The movie itself scores a 7/10 on IMDB and even won a couple of small film festival awards. Although saddened that this film doesn't focus on the Demolition aspect of things "we would have loved to have seen a 20 tonne excavator become a plot twisting love interest" it may be worth a watch if you're a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal or director Jean-Marc Vallée "notable for directing some film called Loser Love?"

The most demolished house - EVER

Recognise this image? Well, chances are that you've seen it quite a few times already. Maybe not this exact photo; as this is Home Demolitions' attempt to photoshop the excavator demolishing the house out of the image.

Recognise this image? Well, chances are that you've seen it quite a few times already. Maybe not this exact photo; as this is Home Demolitions' attempt to photoshop the excavator demolishing the house out of the image.

The original in all it's glory.

The original in all it's glory.

This particular photograph is the graphic representation of over 85 companies around the world, 5 of which are located here in Sydney! So, why is it just so darn popular? Well, obviously it depicts a house being demolished and the machinery being used has no branding or business affiliation, so basically anyone can say "yup, thats me" but this is also a clue as to the actual origins of this picture. 

Just a couple thousand websites hosting the image as their own.

Theres actually quite a few things that are a little bit unusual going on in the scene, as mentioned above, the excavator has no branding or corporate decals, this is usually one of the first things a business will do with their equipment, heck, If you're going to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars, it may as well look cool right! Further more, the house itself is certainly no typical rendition of an Australian home, nor is it American, in fact, if anything, it looks quite European. The other major anomaly is the fact that the building is being demolished with roofing tiles still in place (this makes grading the waste materials far more difficult as they will now be mixed in with timber and other resources) lest we not even take notice of the perfectly salvageable windows left in place. 

Now available for purchase on Shutterstock

Now available for purchase on Shutterstock

But what does it all mean? One very probably interpretation would suggest that the demolition of the house in the image was either done with little or no planning, possibly even against the will of the owner. It is also unlikely to see state or council owned machinery and equipment be decorated with insignia and branding. So is this a case of local authorities demolishing a house without consent? Possibly.

Hon Hon Hon - Démolition experte, naufrage baguette!!!

Hon Hon Hon - Démolition experte, naufrage baguette!!!

The earliest listed version (also the largest and least edited) appears on a German news and media website in an article pertaining to developers deviating from approved plans, citing that the image itself depicts the demolition of four 2 storey townhouses which were constructed under the guise of approval for one single storey home. The Niedersächsische Oberverwaltungsgericht "German High Court" deemed the structures illegal and ordered their destruction at cost to the developer. A specific address and details of the builder are mentioned in some of the ensuing court documents, however our understanding of the German language isn't really up to speed and thus deciphering the information has been difficult. If anyone reading this Sprechen Sie Deutsch, feel free to peruse some articles here - and let us know what it all means!



Demolition Secrets

As one of the only companies in the demolition industry to operate in a completely transparent fashion; Home Demolitions was recently selected to represent the Australian Demolition market in a not too distant piece for SBS's program Small Business Secrets. The upcoming insight covers an array of consumer focused questions and shares knowledge to both the demolition process but also the means in which it is performed and details some of the often overlooked components that make demolishing a house possible.

Demolition man!

Stay tuned to SBS this coming June to get a glimpse of what it's like to plan and execute a typical demolition project in Sydney's inner suburbs.

How much does it cost to demolish a house?

Hypotenuse, Pythagoras - aaaargh, just knock down my house!

Hypotenuse, Pythagoras - aaaargh, just knock down my house!

"How much will it cost to demolish my house?" ~ Great question!
Well, if you're reading this, it's most likely that you're trying to get a rough idea on the cost of demolishing your existing house "presumably to build a new one" because, let's face it, there's a whole heap of varied information across the internet but not a lot of definitive answers.
But why is that? Well, the cost of demolishing any structure is subject to a multitude of variables which can dramatically dictate the total cost of the project, for example, asbestos contaminated materials are not only more labor intensive to remove, requiring the employment of trained professionals but also costs approximately 3 times as much to safely dispose of in contrast to other materials like concrete or timber. Other factors range from the particular gradient of the property, the existence of established trees or plants, the placement of essential services like water, gas and electricity through to the properties proximity to the nearest recycling or disposal facility.
"Gosh! Just tell me a price." Anywhere from $10,000 to $80,000, these are the extremes of either end but for your average Sydney 3 bedroom home, you will be looking at around fifteen to twenty thousand dollars. 
You may be a couple years off beginning your new development, heck - you may not even have purchased a house yet but it's always better off knowing what you're getting yourself into because lets face it, you cant build your dream home until you remove the existing structures from your land. 
Our simple online quote request tool takes just a couple of minutes to complete and enables our staff to give a fast and accurate quote based upon our many years of experience and knowledge. Feel free to request your obligation free quote today!

PCYC: Time 4 Kids

The New South Wales Police Citizens Youth Club's latest fundraising initiative focused towards at risk youth has seen all nature of Sydneysiders 'locked up' and on display in one of the cities busiest streets. All week figures of Sydney from Football legends through to pop icons have been detained with appointed bail sums determined for the safe release of each identity. So when Home Demolitions found out that long term friend, Peter Driscoll had bail set at five thousand dollars we were more than happy to let him spend some time in a public holding cell. Eventually (several hours later hahahaha) Home Demolitions mustered up a cheque that would eventually lead to Peter's freedom.  Feel free to check out the donations and sponsorship page to help this great cause reach it's goal. 

driscol PCYC.jpg

How To Crack A Safe: The Easy Way

Easy Safe cracking

Home Demolitions comes across personal safes and even commercial grade security lockups on a regular basis, the reason being that safes are notoriously heavy objects, often weighing in excess of hundreds of kilograms and so, many people simply opt to have the old heaving hulks of steel dealt with by a 20 tonne excavator. This particular safe however was already damaged and was no longer serviceable rendering it nothing more than an extremely awkward paper weight.

Sumitomo: The latest addition to the fleet.

Whilst a new excavator is nothing out of the ordinary for Home Demolitions, heck, we upgrade our machinery and equipment to keep up with the latest technology more frequently than some people change their undies! But, for the past decade or so, we have solely used Komatsu brand excavators and by all means, we still love our existing Komatsu models but every once in a while something new, something exciting, something outstanding comes along and it's simply too hard to resist.

Demolishing future

This Sumitomo is a middleweight multipurpose excavator which is absolutely perfect for pretty much all nature of demolishing, it has more than enough weight and power to bring just about any structure down whilst maintaining a nimble versatility that enables it to squeeze into even the tightest of housing blocks. Unlike other manufacturers of excavation equipment, Sumitomo includes a plethora of nifty tools and features ranging from a neat'o blade attached to the front (perfect for creating perfectly level ground) all the way through to an oversized cup holder which fits even the most super sized coffee without a problem. 

No wrecking balls here

Although brand spanking new, this gutsy little tracker has made a big impression on the Home Demolition staff with some operators waiting in line for a chance to take it out for a spin. We're looking forward to see how it goes over the next couple of weeks. . .  and who knows, maybe we'll go pick up a couple more! 

Katoomba RSL; The heart of a community.

Katoomba RSL Fire Demolition

As mentioned previously, The Returned and Services League of Katoomba recently suffered from an unfortunate fire which caused the vast majority of the building to become irreparably damaged resulting in the need for Home Demolitions to promptly swing into action and alleviate the imminent dangers to the surrounding area created by both the unstable nature of the structure but also the contamination of deadly asbestos.

Katoomba Demolition RSL Fire

Following the emergency works, Home Demolitions was asked to stay around a little longer to assist with the waste removal and clearing efforts, to which we were more than happy to do, given that the majority of our equipment and resources were already on site. 
Now, Home Demolitions is no stranger to resource recovery and material salvage, in fact, it comprises a great portion of our job and remains the reason we are able to offer the most competitive prices in the demolition industry. Further to which, we are also very familiar with emergency works following natural disasters like fire, flooding and even cyclones but seldom do the two procedures go hand in hand, and never before have they occurred simultaneously.

Demolition Salvage, Katoomba RSL

According to staff, a great portion of memorabilia and sentimental objects were lost to the fire however, some items in less damaged quadrants of the building and those mounted externally such as plaques and trophys may be in a salvageable condition; and so all Home Demolitions staff were on the careful lookout to make sure that anything that could be returned was returned. 

Katoomba RSL Plaque Demolishing salvage

One particular plaque which had been cemented into an external brick wall proved quite challenging to remove and given that it was made of granite, there was no chance that any heavy machinery should be allowed near it during its removal. So, how was it removed? with a good old fashioned hammer and chisel with a whole lot of hard work!

Beach is closed: Asbestos

Home Demolitions' artistic visualisation of the contamination effects.

Home Demolitions' artistic visualisation of the contamination effects.

Significant sand movement at George Town’s Lagoon Beach has uncovered asbestos material at the popular Northern swimming beach.

Parks and Wildlife Service found the material on Thursday and closed the beach indefinitely to remove it.

The material is believed to have been there for at least 30 years and is the result of the demolition of some beach huts that were formerly on the beach.

It is likely to have been there for some time covered by the sand but Parks and Wildlife regional operations manager for the North Stan Matuszek said the movement of the sand had uncovered it.

~ Not even the beaches are safe.

Emergency works: Katoomba RSL

Emergency Demolition

Ordinarily, the act of demolition is a well thought out and methodical process combining the planning and cooperation of contractors, local government and the community. These efforts are usually celebrated as a means to progress and future development of safer, cleaner and more efficient homes and businesses. Unfortunately, there are occasional times when demolition is required with very little notice, usually as a result of an unforeseen disaster which results in a structure posing a hazard for those within the vicinity. This particularly sad instance of demolition was in the wake of a fire which originated in the roof of The Katoomba RSL, the subsequent fire spread to much of the building before emergency services were able to control the blaze. Fortunately, no surrounding homes were damaged in the fire however, the combination of exposed asbestos and damaged structural beams meant that the remains of the popular community venue had to be remediated and razed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

katoomba rsl.jpg

With works continuing throughout the weekend to ensure community safety, Home Demolitions hopes to have the site cleared of public hazards prior to the end of the week. With a strong community backing and resourceful management, there is hope that The Katoomba RSL will be back to business in no time at all. 

Clean Up Australia Day 2017

Environmental Demolition Sydney

Clean up Australia Day is upon us once again, a common sight across many communities, schools and businesses every March, Clean up Australia Day is an annual event that will enter it's 27th year in 2017.  As the entire team at Home Demolitions are all very passionate about our environment both local and abroad, we have made a commitment to think globally & act locally this year. As a company we strive to innovate the demolition and construction industry by continuously devising and implementing new strategies to reduce both the amount of waste produced from man made structures but also the short and long term environmental impacts associated with development.
Home Demolitions has a strict reuse and recycle policy meaning that the vast majority of building materials in a typical home are reclaimed for future use, significantly reducing the need for further goods and materials to be manufactured.

clean demolition australia

Although going above and beyond our responsibilities as a company to ensure the environment and our community is conserved for future use, we as individuals also aspire to making sure that our beautiful land of Australia is treated with the respect and attention it deserves.  
Feel free to join us this Clean Up Australia Day and help do your part for the environment and our community. For more information please contact


Demolition Bees

There are many reasons to demolish a house; Maximising your properties value, the existing structure is no longer safe or to make way for new developments to just name a couple. As previously discussed, demolishing a house with tenants can bee tricky at times but what if the tenants have no legal lease agreement and refuse to leave - does this warrant demolishing a house? In this particular instance, a house located in Sydney's lower north shore suburb of Northbridge was inhabited by about twenty thousand squatters whom flat out refused to leave.
Fortunately for these bumbley little honey making insects, Home Demolitions had no intention of destroying their home and leaving them hive-less. As man kind is now staring to learn, bees are a crucial part of our ecosystem and without them, the world as we know it will pretty much come to an end.

Demolition of Bee House

The site had already been fenced, salvage and asbestos removal was ready to commence but the bees remained, few people were game to go anywhere near the swarm of ever increasingly angry yellow necked stingey doodles. Sure, extermination companies would be happy to come and well, terminate the bees but surely there is a better way? Knowing nothing of bees but assuming them to have some inherent value considering that an established hive sells for upwards of a couple hundred dollars. A couple of local bee keepers found on a local business directory all raised their hands when asked if they wanted to come and re-home this crazy bunch of pointy butt buzzers. It soon became a race to see who could get to the bees first to reap the sweet benefits of a perpetual honey making machine.

get rid of bees sydney

With the little buzzing picnic ruiners gone, procedures were able to continue as per normal. The house was prepped, demolished and the land was grazed to a nice clean and level lot for the building of a future dream home.

Dropping the base demolition

The Environmental Protection Authority's New Weapon Against Illegal Dumping

The Environmental Protection Authority of Victoria has just announced it's latest addition to it's Strikeforce against illegal dumping. Executive Director of Regional Services, Damian Wells stated that the implementation of aerial surveillance will enable authorised officers to prosecute offenders in ordinarily remote locations with low visibility. The program builds on the work of EPA’s Illegal Dumping Strikeforce – a program dedicated to reducing the illegal dumping of industrial waste such as concrete, timber, bricks and asbestos.

Home Demolition's artist rendering of The EPA's newest measures against unlawful dumping.

Home Demolition's artist rendering of The EPA's newest measures against unlawful dumping.

The unmanned aerial vehicles *drones* will be fitted with a range of attachments to help officers calculate the volume of waste on a site, detect ‘hotspots’ via the use of thermal imaging and even collect air and water for sampling. More than 350,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste "often containing asbestos and other harmful substances" is dumped in Victoria each year at a cost to local councils in the millions of dollars. 
So, in a Orwellian era of environmental crime fighting coupled with fines exceeding $800,000 for the illegal dumping of waste without a licence, will the community start to see cleaner surroundings? I guess only time will tell.