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!

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. 

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. 

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!

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. 

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 this piece from the SMH 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!

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. 

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.  

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. 

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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.