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.   

Christof

Home Demolitions, Ryde, NSW, 2112

Christof is Home Demolitions resident media guru and content writer. His days are spent blogging about demolitions, brainstorming new ways to educate the public about the demolition process and photoshopping excavators into famous movie posters.