Tips & Advice
How much does it cost to demolish a structure?
The cost of demolishing a structure is typically assessed based on square footage, with larger projects costing less per square foot than smaller ones. The standard range is $4-$7 per square foot, although it can slide up to $5-$14 per square foot for small yet specialized or difficult projects (for example, because the building is built of tough-to-demolish materials like brick). Note that deconstruction, where buildings are dismantled carefully in order to save the raw materials for reselling or reuse, is significantly more expensive than demolition.
What is a demolition engineer?
A demolition engineer is a specialized subset of civil engineering that plans and oversees complex demolition projects, such as bridges, and high rise buildings. A demolition engineer typically needs a 4-year degree plus specialized training (usually accrued on the job and through coursework), certifications in asbestos removal and other high-risk activities, and should be licensed at state and/or local levels according to state law. The qualifications are different and more formal education-heavy than those of a demolitions expert, which does not require secondary education.
What does demolition work involve?
Demolition work involves creating a risk-controlled, legally compliant and efficient plan, first and foremost. The first physical step is usually gutting the building (i.e. removing anything) that can be removed and is potentially of value if resold/recycled. Then, the demolition crew either takes down the remaining structure with handheld tools and manual labor, if they want to save the raw materials, or by use of explosives and heavy machinery if the demolition engineer or crew leader deems this the best way to remove the structure.
What does a demolition contractor do?
A demolition contractor oversees and carries out the tearing down or dismantling of load-bearing structures, oftentimes buildings, in a planned, managed and risk-controlled manner. It’s important to note that this is among the highest-risk of construction activities, and demolition contractors should therefore be carefully vetted, with expertise and proper licensing/registration in demolition and ancillary activities.
Are demolition contractors required to have a license?
Yes, in general, demolition contractors are required to have at least one license. In a few states, demolition contractors are required to have county or municipal licenses only. But in others, this work requires state and local licenses. The requirements are set state-by-state, and some states decide whether license is necessary based on the cost of the job. Even states that don’t require licensing typically require registration.