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?

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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.  

Not so super: An introduction to Super Six

Before it was banned by the Australian government in 2003, asbestos based products were a commonly used building material. Today, 15 years on from the ban, asbestos is still found in most Australian homes that have been built or renovated before 1990. 

Like other non-friable asbestos products, Super Six roofing can release dangerous asbestos fibres when broken or damaged. 

Like other non-friable asbestos products, Super Six roofing can release dangerous asbestos fibres when broken or damaged. 

As a result, asbestos can be found everywhere from walls, to underneath tiles, in pipe insulation, in wall cladding, in fencing and even in roofing - which was the most common use for asbestos up until the 1980’s.

Asbestos roofing products include asbestos cement shingles and corrugated asbestos fibre and cement sheets; the former of which saw use in Australia for over 40 years and is often referred to as ‘Super Six’.

The name Super Six is used colloquially to refer to all corrugated cement building materials; however, Super Six is technically a popular brand of corrugated cement sheeting products created by building product manufacturer James Hardie. James Hardie ceased manufacturing Super Six in 1985. 

This painted Super Six roofing is looking a little worse for wear. 

This painted Super Six roofing is looking a little worse for wear. 

Today, James Hardie continues to make cement fibre products, although obviously these new cement fibre products contain no asbestos.

As well as roofing, super six was also used to construct garden walls and as fencing. 

Super Six is generally white to grey in colour (however it was often painted) and is hard and brittle.

Although super six is classed as a non-friable asbestos product because the dangerous asbestos fibres are encased in cement, this classification isn’t always accurate. 

Super Six is often found as part of old garden sheds. 

Super Six is often found as part of old garden sheds. 

After prolonged exposure to the weather the cement in Super Six can wear down, exposing and releasing the dangerous asbestos fibres contained within. These fibres could become airborne and inhaled or fall to the ground and make their way into local waterways.

If super six, or any product containing asbestos for that matter, are found in your home they must be removed before demolition can begin. Each piece of a material containing asbestos must be removed by hand, being careful not to damage or break it. The discarded asbestos is then wrapped in plastic and placed in a skip so it can be taken offsite and legally disposed of. 

 

Mechanical Demolition: An overview

When we tell people that we are in the demolitions business, one of the questions we are frequently asked - well, apart from ‘how much will it cost to demolish my home?’ - is 'oh, so does that mean you use explosives?’.

As much as we wish that our 9 to 5 involved chucking sticks of lit dynamite around like some sort of crazed miner from the wild west, this is not the case. 

'That's the last time I go with Yosemite Sam's discount demolitions'

'That's the last time I go with Yosemite Sam's discount demolitions'

Demolition using explosives - a technique called building implosion which refers to the way the demolished structure collapses in on itself -  is generally used for larger structures like smokestacks, stadiums and skyscrapers.

This technique involves strategically placing numerous small explosives around the building so that the explosion occurs in a controlled manner. Although the actual ‘demolition’ is quick, preparing the condemned structure for building implosion can be extremely time consuming, with larger structures can taking as long as six months to prepare.

Geez, calm down Neil, we know 'building implosion' isn't an actual 'implosion'.

Geez, calm down Neil, we know 'building implosion' isn't an actual 'implosion'.

In short, implosion demolition is simply not suitable or feasible for residential demolition. Plus, even if it was, chances are your neighbours might not be too happy with us blowing stuff up right outside their window!

Home Demolitions conducts all of its demolition work using excavators in a method known as mechanical demolition.

The term mechanical demolition refers to any demolition work that uses powered mobile plant (such as excavators, cranes, loaders and bulldozers). It can also involve a mix of hand demolition and mechanical demolitions techniques. The latter is true of how Home Demolitions performs demolition works. 

One day all of man's achievements will be naught but rubble. 

One day all of man's achievements will be naught but rubble. 

During structural demolition - this refers to the demolition of the actual structure that occurs once any asbestos, roof tiles and salvageable fittings have been removed - machinery is used in addition to a labourer. 

Structural demolition of a residential property usually involves two people: an excavator operator and a labourer. The excavator operator systematically knocks down the structure while the labourer removes rubble and debris out of the way and sprays down the site with water to avoid dust clouds polluting the air.

When performed by a skilled operator structural demolition is quick, efficient and relatively tidy. The operator works methodically, systematically destroying one section of the house at a time and removing recyclable materials like bricks as they go.

 

The most memorable demolition jobs from 2017.

It's hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner!

That's right, Christmas 2017 is less than a week away which means soon the new year will be upon us. Although no one knows for sure what the future holds, the Home Demolitions crew are pretty confident that 2018 will bring with it plenty more houses to demolish!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

With that in mind we thought we would indulge in some nostalgia by taking a look back at some of the more memorable demolition jobs we performed this year: 

5. Demolition with a view

Coming in at number five is this house in Dover Heights. Even with a steep gradient to contend with and torrential rain we were able to knock this job out quickly. In just a couple of days the site was a blank slate and ready for the builder to get to work on.

This Demolition job at Dover Heights came with a stunning veiw of the Sydney skyline. 

This Demolition job at Dover Heights came with a stunning veiw of the Sydney skyline. 

Why it made the list: Sure, there may not have been anything particularly unique or stand-out about the demolition job itself, but that stunning view of the Sydney CBD is one we soon won't forget!

4. Surprise in store

This asbestos cladded fibro home was covered in a brick facade. This particular brick facade job was so convincing that it wasn't until we started removing asbestos panels in the laundry toward the back of the dwelling that we were able to determine that the dwelling wasn't made out of brick at all, it was an asbestos cladded fibro house with a brick facade!

Asbesbtos fibro house with brick Facade

Why it made the list: It's not often that a brick facade job is this convincing! 

3. Penrith's taste of the wild west

Hidden in the backyard of a normal-looking brick home in suburban Penrith stood this orange monstrosity. Constructed of wood covered in sand and painted, this bizarre structure looked like it belonged in some sort of theme park. 

When Will Smith sung about the Wiki-Wiki-Wild-West, we can only assume this was what he was talking about. 

When Will Smith sung about the Wiki-Wiki-Wild-West, we can only assume this was what he was talking about. 

Why it made the list: Although we have certainly seen our fare share of sheds, shelters and other small structures in the backyards of houses we demolish, we have never seen anything quite like this!

2. Cubby house demolition

This cubby demolition proves that no job is ever too small for Home Demolitions. Plus it was a great excuse to get the youngest member of our team to work!

The youngest member of the Home Demolitions team hard at work!

The youngest member of the Home Demolitions team hard at work!

Why it made the list:  not only was our tiny excavator operator more than up to the task, he was incredibly photogenic too!

1. Katoomba RSL

At the beginning of the year Home Demolitions was brought in to provide emergency demolition and asbestos remediation works at the fire ravaged Katoomba RSL. The job was big and fairly involved, requiring all three of our excavators and excvator operators.  

Katoomba RSL

Why it made the list: The Katoomba RSL club really was the heart of the community and although we are sad to see it damaged by fire and demolished, we feel honoured that we could be involved in clearing the way for what comes next. 

From all of us here at home demolitions we just want to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy and safe new year.  

To everyone who engaged our services this year, recommended us to a friend or even just read our blog we would like to say a huge thank you!

We love what we do and are excited to perform more top-notch demolitions in the new year!

How long does it take to demolish a house?

Aside from costs, one of the most common things people want to know when they are considering demolishing their home is how long it will take.

As with a lot of these general demolition questions there unfortunately isn’t a simple or  ‘one-size-fits-all' style answer.

The reality is that every house is very different and is composed of a variety of factors that will all impact the demolition time required.

Although barely perceivable to mortal man, the ravages of time will one day come for us all. 

Although barely perceivable to mortal man, the ravages of time will one day come for us all. 

With that in mind, we thought we would provide a quick overview of these factors and how they can affect the time required to demolish your home.

Note: The following information assumes that you are going the traditional demolition route. 

The first, and possibly biggest, variable that impacts demolition time is the presence of asbestos.

In the past we have written rather extensively about the asbestos removal process and what is involved in demolishing a house containing the dangerous substance.  

Without going into too much detail, asbestos removal is tedious and time consuming as each panel containing asbestos has to be removed by hand. Depending on the size of the house and how much asbestos is present this could take anywhere between a couple of hours or a couple of days. 

Some asbestos removal cases are particularly involved, such as an asbestos cladded fibro home we demolished that featured a brick veneer (photo below).  In order to access the panels for removal the brick veneer had to be demolished by hand, resulting in a week long asbestos removal job. 

This asbestos clad fibro home had a brick facade making for a particuarly time consuming asbestos removal job. 

This asbestos clad fibro home had a brick facade making for a particuarly time consuming asbestos removal job. 

Once the asbestos has been stripped and tiles have been removed from the roof, structural demolition can begin. Structural demolition is performed with an excavator and involves systematically knocking down one part of the structure at a time. 

This is where huge variations in time can occur, depending on what material the house is made out of and how big it is.

For example a small asbestos clad fibro home could be demolished in as little as 20 minutes (post-asbestos removal of course) while a larger brick home could take as long as a couple of days. 

Once the asbestos had been removed, this (formerly) asbestos clad fibro  home took around 20 minutes to demolish.

Once the asbestos had been removed, this (formerly) asbestos clad fibro  home took around 20 minutes to demolish.

As well as size, the slope of the land and street access also play a role in the time required for your demolition. The more accessible the site, the larger the truck that can access it. A larger truck means that the removal of debris and recyclable materials happens quicker, potentially speeding up the process. 

Some other factors that affect your demolition timeline include:

  • Demolition letters and asbestos removal letters which are sent out to neighbouring properties a week and two weeks respectively, before work can commence. 
  • If there are trees on the property that need to be removed. In particular larger trees will require a licensed arborist and may require council approval to cut down. 
  • Depending on the council, a sediment control plan may need to be in place on the site. This could include on-site sediment control measures such as erecting Geo-fabric fencing. 

So, there you have it. While this is by no means a comprehensive or definitive guide to the factors that can affect demolition time, it should provide you with a basic understanding of just how long it could take to turn your property in to a clean block of land.   

Return to Katoomba RSL

Earlier this year Home Demolitions was contracted to demolish the Katoomba RSL.

Unfortunately the circumstances surrounding the demolition of this community icon were far from desirable as the building had sustained significant structural damage due to a fire. The fire started in the building’s roof but was put out by the local fire brigade before it could spread to any neighbouring buildings.

Emergency works at the fire ravaged Katoomba RSL. 

Emergency works at the fire ravaged Katoomba RSL. 

With repair not an option and dangerous asbestos exposed from the fire damage, the Home Demolitions crew were brought in to perform emergency demolitions. The demolition and following rubble disposal was one of the bigger jobs we have undertaken, requiring the use of three of our larger excavators. 

Close to a year later and the owners of the RSL were so impressed with our performance on the job that they called us back to demolish an old house that shares the block with the now demolished Katoomba RSL.

We tried our best to salvage as much of the RSL's memoribilia as we could.  

We tried our best to salvage as much of the RSL's memoribilia as we could.  

Although the cottage wasn't damaged in the fire, it was due for demolition for another reason: the owners we eager to free up more land so the new Katoomba RSL can be bigger and better than ever.

The small brick cottage was a fairly straight forward job, only requiring one of our excavators.

The half demolished brick cottage at the old Katoomba RSL site. 

The half demolished brick cottage at the old Katoomba RSL site. 

It was a real treat to be able to return to the former Katoomba RSL site to ‘finish the job’ so to speak, demolishing the old house and usher in the construction of the new RSL building. 

The whole crew here at Home Demolitions looks forward to visiting the new Katoomba RSL once it is completed and grabbing a well deserved drink!

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Check out some snaps of the demolition below: 

Sydney Olympic stadium to be demolished

In a somewhat controversial move, the NSW State Government has voted in favour of demolishing the Sydney Olympic Stadium in Olympic park, Homebush.   

The Sydney Olympic stadium is doomed for demolition in 2019. 

The Sydney Olympic stadium is doomed for demolition in 2019. 

That’s right, the stadium that brought us Cathy Freeman’s win in the 400m sprint, the Rabbitoh’s historic grand final win in 2014, the Socceroos' victory over Uruguay that got us into the 2006 world cup, and of course, the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games that launched the fleeting career of pop ‘icon’ Nikki Webster, is due to be destroyed and rebuilt.

I think it's fair to say no body misses Strawberry kisses. 

I think it's fair to say no body misses Strawberry kisses. 

The epic knockdown rebuild of the Sydney Olympic stadium, currently known as ANZ stadium, will be accompanied by the demolition and re-construction of the Sydney Football Stadium in Moore Park. All up the project is expected to cost $2.3 billion. 

The demolition of the old Olympic Stadium and construction of the new stadium is due to kick off in 2019 and be opened to the public in 2022. Work at the Sydney Football stadium will commence in 2018 and be completed by 2021. 

The logic behind the project is to construct a new stadium better suited to the types of sports regularly played in Australia. This includes an expanded seating capacity of 70,000 - 80,000 sports fans for the rebuilt Sydney Olympic stadium and 45,000 sports fans for the new Football Stadium. 

The NSW State Government also stated that Sydney’s sporting infrastructure had fallen behind the rest of the country and that construction of the new stadiums will make Sydney Australia’s number one destination for big events. 

Artist's impression of what the new Olympic stadium will look like. Image provided by the NSW state government.

Artist's impression of what the new Olympic stadium will look like. Image provided by the NSW state government.

The project has been a long time coming and was first floated in parliament back in 2015.

Understandably not everyone is on board with some members of the government cabinet unsure as to why a state of the art facility that is less than 20 years old needs to be rebuilt. 

Although opposition leader Luke Foley was in support of building a new Olympic Stadium, he was against rebuilding the Sydney Football Stadium in Moore Park, skeptical that the venue would ever be able to fill it’s proposed 45,000 seating capacity. 

Blocks of land are back, baby!

Is the Sydney housing bubble over? This was a question on many people’s mind after housing prices suffered a drop of 0.1 per cent in September, the first time housing prices have dropped since April last year. 

Sure, housing prices may have peaked but the Sydney property market’s time in the sun is far from over. What is occurring is a shift in what home buyers want and what is in high demand is changing. 

A daigram explaining the current state of the Sydney property market. 

A daigram explaining the current state of the Sydney property market. 

An ABS study has found that although overall lending decreased by 5.3 percent in September, the amount of loans written to buy a clean block of land has been increasing. September saw loans for a block of land reach a new record high of almost $8 billion. 

That’s right, clean blocks of land are back and in a big way!

Here at Home Demolitions we have always been big fans of the humble clean block of land and are are excited to see Sydney home buyers discovering what we have known all along!

So why all this new found affection for the clean slate? Well, there are several factors at play…

Buying blocks of land is back!

Buying blocks of land is back!

Firstly, supply is still struggling to keep up with demand and a lot of that new supply is in the form of apartments or semi-detached dwellings. 

Although there has been an increase in people choosing to downsize their living arrangements home building continues to run at record highs suggesting that the available supply doesn’t match up with the type of housing home buyers want. To put it simply, detached dwellings are in demand and there simply aren’t enough to go round. 

The freeing up of government land in Sydney’s western suburbs has also played a role, with previously unavailable blocks of land now up for sale.

We might be biased, but we have always been big fans of a clean block of land. 

We might be biased, but we have always been big fans of a clean block of land. 

And finally, demand for detached housing and clean blocks to build it on has been compounded by the increasing shift toward more apartments and townhouses in all of Australia’s capital cities. This drives competition and means new homebuyers are willing to build if the type of housing they want isn’t available. 

For homeowners unhappy with their current dwelling, renovation or a knockdown rebuild are also becoming more popular as a way of avoiding high house prices and stamp duty. 

Although we are obviously biased, we advocate for demolition over renovation as it is far quicker than long term renovation and provides you with a clean foundation to build your dream home on without being beholden to what came before. There really is nothing better than a fresh start.

To get an idea of how much it might cost to demolish your home check out our price guide.

It’s all a facade… a brick facade!

So what is your house really made of? Sure, it seems like a simple case of taking a look at your home (I mean everyone knows what bricks or wood looks like, right? ) but as the old saying goes, looks can be deceiving. Houses are often designed to look like they are made from one thing, while actually being made from another. A great example of this is homes with a brick facade. 

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Brick facade, otherwise known as brick veneer, is often cheaper than solid brick or double brick walls and provides the same aesthetic benefits and often better insulation. It’s the style and durability of brick at a portion of the cost. 

Unlike a solid brick wall, which structurally is of importance and holds up the house, brick facade is held up by the house. In brick facade the bricks are essentially siding and are placed on flashing in front of a wood or fibro frame. 

Brick-Veneer-Wall.jpg

As the name suggests, brick facade is all about giving the illusion that the entire dwelling is made from brick, and when done well it appears indistinguishable from a solid brick wall. Although this is certainly great for aesthetics, brick facade can make for complications when it comes demolition time as one of our recent demo projects proves!

A particularly creative application of brick facade

A particularly creative application of brick facade

This particular brick facade job was so well done that the house was thought to be a solid brick house with interior floating panels. It wasn’t until our asbestos removal crew started to remove the asbestos panels from inside the laundry at the back of the dwelling that they realised the entire home wasn’t brick at all -  it was an asbestos clad fibro home with a brick facade. 

Our crew in action, removing the brick facade to expose the asbestos fibre boards. 

Our crew in action, removing the brick facade to expose the asbestos fibre boards. 

As we’ve talked about in previous blog posts, the asbestos removal process is tedious and labour intensive. In order to remove asbestos safely and in line with Australian asbestos removal regulations, each piece of asbestos panelling must be individually removed with minimal damage, wrapped in plastic and placed in a skip. 

In this case, the only way to get to the exterior asbestos paneling was to remove each brick by hand. This unfortunately meant that the demolition job became more involved and labour intensive than initially anticipated. Regardless, our skilled asbestos removal crew was up to the task!

 

Asbestos awareness month 2017 kicks off today!

Today marks the first day of National Asbestos Awareness month, an annual month long campaign to educate the Australian public on the dangers of asbestos and how to best manage any asbestos they might have in their home. 

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Australians have a reputation for punching above our weight on the world stage. Whether it be in sport, the creative arts or agriculture, it is not uncommon for Australia to be near the head of the pack. However, one area where we don’t want to be leading is in the amount of people suffering from asbestos related disease

That’s right, Australia has one of the highest rates of asbestos related disease in the world. This is even more concerning when you remember that asbestos has been banned in Australia since 2003. In fact, rather than on the decline, the instance of asbestos related disease is actually on the increase in Australia. 

So, why is this happening? Well, even though most Australians are aware that asbestos is dangerous, individuals are still continuing to maintain or renovate their homes without realising they are exposing themselves to deadly asbestos fibres. Most at risk are home renovators and tradesmen. 

The theme of this year’s National Asbestos Awareness month is Renovating? Go Slow! Asbestos it’s a No Go, a catchy reminder of the importance of checking for asbestos before going ahead with home maintenance or a renovation project. 

Asbestos removal Sydney, Cheapest asbestos removal Sydney

Throughout the month Asbestos Awareness Ambassadors, like renovation guru Cherie Barber, television presenter Don Burke, and actor John Jarratt, will be hitting social media, television and the airwaves to get this important message out. 

Additionally, local councils will be holding events, Blue Lamington drives will be held to raise money for the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, and BETTY - the mobile asbestos education house - will be touring Tasmania. 

It is vital asbestos is only removed and disposed of by trained professionals. 

It is vital asbestos is only removed and disposed of by trained professionals. 

At Home Demolitions we regularly remove asbestos from homes all over Sydney. As a result we understand both the dangers and the importance of removing and disposing of it safely and are committed to helping to spread asbestos awareness and education.

For more information you can check out the offical National Asbestos Awareness month website.

Sediment control and the demolition process

When undertaking a knock-down rebuild "or any demolitions project" it is important that the potential impact to the environment is carefully managed. Activities that need be undertaken to reduce environmental impact include:

  • Removing and safely disposing of any asbestos
  • Removing and safely disposing of any lead based paint and piping
  • Recovering and recycling any reusable materials such as bricks and tiles
  • Having a sediment control plan to prevent the spread of material beyond the site

One of the most important, and often overlooked, activities on this list is sediment control. 

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During the demolition process land and soil becomes disturbed, accelerating erosion and increasing the potential for sediment to be spread beyond the site, usually due to heavy rain. This can lead to sediment ending up on the road or working its way into local waterways, causing pollution.
The aim of sediment control is to prevent this from happening by implementing measures to keep the eroded sediment on the site. 
Not only is proper sediment control the environmentally responsible thing to do, it is also required by law. Under section 120 of the 1997 Protection of the Environment Operations Act heavy fines can be imposed for allowing soil, mud, cement washings or other sediment to be in a position where it is likely to be washed into a storm water drain. 

Failure to comply with your local council's sediment control requirements can result in huge fines

Although fines vary from council to council, penalties for not complying with sediment control and erosion regulations can start anywhere from $8,000. In Ryde Council, fines are particularly harsh and can reach a maximum of $250,000 for home owners and $1,000,000 for corporations. Minor offences can also elicit on the spot fines from council rangers. 

Some councils require a sediment control plan; a document in which you provide information about what sediment control methods you intend to use on your demolition site. 

The amount of sediment control measures required depends on a handful of factors such as soil type, the slope of the site, the extent of the soil disturbance, the climate and season, and, the size and location of the site. 

An example of sediment control fencing

An example of sediment control fencing

Depending on the site, Geo fabric sediment control fencing can be a straightforward way of making sure soil and sediment doesn’t get washed away off the demolition site. The fencing is set up on the side the land tapers and works like a filter; allowing water to pass through while trapping soil, clay, sand and other sediment. 

What kind of roof is over your head? Part two: Style

The roof over your head has a bigger impact on your home than you might think! Last time we took a look at the various materials roofs can be made out of and how this can impact your home. This time around we are choosing style over substance by taking a look at some common roof designs. 

An example of a hipped roof.

An example of a hipped roof.

The style of your roof is more than just cosmetics, it can impact everything from maintenance to heating costs. So, with that in mind, lets take a look at some of the common roof styles available: 

  • Hipped - The most popular roof type in Australia, a hipped roof has all its sides sloping down towards the walls.  The sides of a hipped roof are usually, although not always, on a gentle slope. 
  • Skillion - a skillion roof consists of a single sloping roof.
  • Gabled - Easily recognised by a striking triangular shape, gabled roofs consists of two pitched sides attached to a triangle shaped wall. 
  • Flat - The name says it all! Some ambitious homeowners turn their flat roofs into ‘green roofs’ by covering them fully, or partially, with vegetation. 
  • Sawtooth - A sawtooth roof consists of multiple ridges with each side consisting of one short vertical side and one long pitched side. Sawtooth roofs were once only used in factories and industrial spaces but have recently gained popularity among homeowners for the large amount of light they let in. 
Hipped roofs are always popular choice. 

Hipped roofs are always popular choice. 

Although roof styles do vary greatly, they can be divided into two fairly broad categories: flat and pitched. 

Flat roofs are generally cheaper to construct and can make for a striking architectural feature. They are also easy to access and can double as outdoor entertaining areas, or in the case of a ‘green roof’, even a garden. However, due to their flat shape, flat roofs require more maintenance to ensure they don’t get clogged with leaves and other debris. Flat roofs also make any future changes to wiring and plumbing more expensive and time consuming.

Flat roofs may be eye catching but they can can lead to increased maintenance costs. 

Flat roofs may be eye catching but they can can lead to increased maintenance costs. 

Although not as striking, pitched roofs generally provide builders with more options when making changes to a house and usually require less maintenance. 

Finally, something else to consider with roofing is the colour. It may seem like a fairly minor detail, but colour greatly effects the ability of your roof to absorb or reflect heat. For example,  regardless of the material it is made from, darker roofing absorbs more heat while lighter colours reflect it. 

This affects your house’s ability to absorb or keep out the heat which in turn has a huge effect on heating and cooling costs. For this reason it is usually better to have a roof with a lighter colour; however, if your heart is set on a darkly coloured roof than installing insulation blankets and insulation batts can help to mitigate the heat absorption (as long as it's not Mr Fluffy!). 

What kind of roof is over your head? Part one: Material matters

Chris Edgar from the Master Builder’s association of South Australia recently spoke to ABC radio Adelaide to discuss the various advantages and disadvantages of different roofing styles and materials … and it turns out there is a lot to consider!

So much in fact, that we have decided to dedicate two blog posts to the topic. This first post will take a look at some of the different types of roofing material available, their associated pro's and cons; and toxic materials that could be hiding in your roof. 

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Sure, it might seem like a fairly inconsequential decision, but the reality is the material making up the roof over your head can have a surprisingly large, and sometimes unexpected, impact on your home.

Some of the available roofing solutions include:

  • Shingles, which are thin pieces of wood, slate, concrete or fibre cement. 
  • Thatched roofing made up of dried plant material. Although seldom used in modern housing, thatched roofs remain a popular choice for outdoor structures like pergolas. 
  • Flat form concrete, which is treated with an additive to make it waterproof. 
  • Tiles, usually made of terracotta or concrete.
  • Tin sheeting, this usually refers to corrugated iron or steel roofing.

In Australia only two of these options have actually seen widespread use and popularity: tiles and tin. As Chris Edgar pointed out in the previously mentioned interview, each of these two options has their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

Tiles vs. Tin: Which roof reigns supreme?

Tiles vs. Tin: Which roof reigns supreme?

Tin is lightweight and highly versatile, making it the ideal choice if you want to build a curved or irregular shaped roof. However, it does lack the lifespan and visual appeal of tiles. 

Tiles, on the other hand, can last as long as 50 years and look stunning, particularly terracotta tiles. Tiles also win out when it comes to heat regulation -  they absorb heat during the day and gradually release it during the night. 

That said, tiles are not without their drawbacks. They are exceedingly heavy and need to be placed on a pitch angled between 18 and 22 degrees, unlike tin roofing which can be placed at a variety of angles. Concrete tiles can also loose their colour over time as usually only the surface of the tile is painted. 

If you are purchasing a home with the intention of knocking it down to rebuild later, there is yet another factor to consider, namely disposal of the roofing materials.

Due to its light weight, tin can be left on the structure during demolition, requiring minimal labour. Unlike tin, tiles must be removed before the demolition of the structure can take place. Tiles can be recycled, however removing them in tact is tedious and time consuming.

If your house has fibro cement shingles on the roof there is a chance that they could contain asbestos. Asbestos fibre shingles are often mistaken for slate, and like other asbestos products they need to be carefully removed by trained professionals. Unfortunately this is where things get a bit complicated; in addition to the price of hiring professionals to carefully remove the shingles you also have to pay for the cost of asbestos disposal -  roughly 30 cents a kilo.

Although they might look like slate, these shingles are actually made out of asbestos fibre and cement. 

Although they might look like slate, these shingles are actually made out of asbestos fibre and cement. 

Asbestos isn’t the only hazard that a roof can hide; toxic lead dust can gather in the roof cavity and must be removed before demolition can take place. This is where tiles are advantageous, as a few tiles can easily be removed in order to create a gap to syphon the lead dust out of. 

Well, there you have it, a quick into the world of roofing materials. Join us for the next instalment, when we take a look at different types of roof styles.

Early warning signs of termite infestation

They might be tiny, but a termite infestation is a huge problem -  especially when it is your house on the menu. Commonly known as white ants, subterranean termites, are highly organised and interdependent creatures that are capable of eating through the wall and roofing of a newly constructed home within three months. If nothing else you have to admire their efficiency!

Although well known for their timber eating abilities, only one type of termite in the colony is actually capable of digesting wood: the humble worker termite. Worker termites do this thanks to a symbiotic organism in their gut, called a protozoa, and regurgitate the processed food to the other termites in the nest. When venturing outside of the nest, worker termites travel in mud tubes to protect themselves from their ancient enemy, the ant!

Artist's impression of Termite/ Ant rivalry 

Artist's impression of Termite/ Ant rivalry 

Termites thrive in warm, humid conditions, so with that in mind it is not surprising that Sydney is a termite hotspot. Although they favour built up urban areas, all of Sydney is at high risk of termite infestation, particularly those properties in close proximity to gum trees. 

Sydney homes are at high risk of termite infestation - map provided by CSIRO

Sydney homes are at high risk of termite infestation - map provided by CSIRO

An infestation is a serious matter, since, as mentioned before, termites can eat through wood with incredible speed causing significant and irreparable structural damage. Such damage can even, in the worst cases, lead to spontaneous collapse - as recently happened to a termite ridden carport in Hawaii. 

This carport has certainly seen better days. 

This carport has certainly seen better days. 

It is worth knowing that most insurance policies don’t cover terminate infestations as they are viewed as a preventable problem related to home maintenance. 

So what can I do to prevent termites from infesting my home? Well, since hiring a rag-tag gang of ant mercenaries to patrol your house for termites isn’t exactly possible, a better option is to keep an eye out for signs of termite infestation.

Things to look out for include:

  • Mud tubes, which are small tunnels made from soil running along the outside of your house
  • Tiny holes in wood
  • Small cracks in wood
  • Termite dung, these look more like sawdust than actual droppings.
A mud tube -  a common sign of termite infestation. 

A mud tube -  a common sign of termite infestation. 

Unfortunately, early detection and extermination isn’t much use if your house has already taken irreversible structural damage due to termites. If the structure has been weakened beyond repair then only one option remains: demolition. As well as disposing of the termite infested structure and materials, demolishing allows you to start again on a blank, termite-free slate. 

 

How much does it cost to demolish a house with asbestos?

If your house was built between 1920 through to 1990 there’s a good chance it contains asbestos. While some houses, like the humble fibro shack, wear their asbestos loud and proud, other homes have been renovated to conceal any asbestos. A preliminary site inspection can help to determine if and where any asbestos is located. 

demolition Sydney, cheapest prices demolition Sydney, asbestos removal, cheapest asbestos removal Sydney

Regardless of where the asbestos is located in your house, it is important that it is disposed of correctly.  Unfortunately, this process is fairly time consuming as each element containing asbestos must be carefully removed, wrapped and then gently placed in a skip for proper disposal. Although tedious, there is no other way to safely remove unwanted asbestos (is there any other kind?). For this reason asbestos costs roughly three times the amount to remove as other building materials. The removed asbestos is then taken to a specialised site and disposed of. It costs roughly 30 cents to dispose of one kilo of asbestos (about $330 a tonne).

Fibro boards like these contain asbestos and are usually hidden between wood and plaster. 

Fibro boards like these contain asbestos and are usually hidden between wood and plaster. 

I get it, asbestos is expensive and time consuming to remove, but how much will it actually cost to demolish an asbestos clad home? Unfortunately, there is no straight forward figure as the presence of asbestos is just one of the many factors that can impact the price of a home demolition. Generally speaking, demolishing a one story family home containing asbestos will cost somewhere between $15,000 to $22,000; however, this number will vary greatly depending on other factors such as the material the house is made out of and the amount of asbestos present. 

The easiest way to get an accurate picture of how much you need to spend to knock down a house containing asbestos is to fill out our simple quote request tool. This takes just a couple of minutes and will allow our friendly staff to provide you with an accurate and obligation free quote.

Old sheds like this often have roofs made out of 'Super Six', a product that contains asbestos.

Old sheds like this often have roofs made out of 'Super Six', a product that contains asbestos.

All quotes include the cost of an asbestos certificate, which is required by council and builders in order for new construction to commence on the site of your demolished home. 

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.

#SkeletalRemains

#SkeletalRemains

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.