How a simple demolition can go wrong

When the beautiful time of building a new house or planning a renovation comes around...

generally, you’d think that the demolition would be one of the easiest parts, right? With all the steps, regulations, and boxes to be ticked in this crucial first step, not to mention the time and energy to be invested, you might be surprised how a demolition can blow out into a rather lengthy, expensive ordeal.

According to Gabrael House Demolition, one of Sydney’s foremost demolition experts, obtaining the necessary permits from your local council (or higher up if the house is listed on the Victorian Heritage register) is the first step after a consultation has taken place, and a quote has been issued for the work necessary to execute the whole demolition. For Australia and Victoria, the planning and building sector is extremely heavily regulated (for good reason: safety is paramount!), and demolition jobs are no different.

I cross-referenced three different demolition permits from councils in Victoria - Boroondara, Whittlesea, and Moreland, to assess what type of details are required, and while Whittlesea’s permit form was  surprisingly sparse, contingent on a building plans and a written proposal, the Boroondara and Moreland councils required a many step process, further sub-permits including a certificate of title, an extremely detailed proposal, as well as all the details about you and the property. While some of these application systems are online, the vast majority of them still rely heavily on manually filling out the documents, obtaining the required documentation, and submitting via post or scanned image.

Once the forms have been filled out by hand, fees paid, forms submitted, processed, and sent back, it is time to disconnect your utilities such as water, gas, and electricity, to make sure there are no accidents and so that you can reconnect these things to your new home easily. Again from what my research indicates, these processes are, for the most part, manual. Build dot com says:

Requests to terminate services for the purpose of demolition normally need to be made in writing (using the right forms) to the supply company a couple of weeks before demolition is due to take place. This ensures that there’s enough time for them to come and pick up their gear and make sure everything’s switched off and safe. Disconnecting some services will also involve a disconnection fee.

These two first steps already indicate how much manual work and time need to go into putting in the foundations (or tearing them down rather) for an effective demolition. From paperwork to equipment, the process as it stands now hinges very heavily on traditional processes, and a complex understanding of what is required - meaning that demolitions are often unapproachable by Ma and Pa builders. We will talk about this more down the line, but Build Flow can help to rectify some of these issues with ease, using automation to quickly and easily tick all the boxes.

From here, and using the company that you would have engaged to take on the work, the site should be cleansed of any hazardous materials - especially asbestos, which was very prevalent in houses built before the 1990s. You will need to hire an authorised contractor do this work, and take all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the workers, neighbours, and you and your family. Often, companies will have a specific request process required to undertake this work, and the materials will need to be immediately taken off site to be disposed of properly.

With the beginning of the demolition of the property, and once hazardous materials have been completely removed and the site approved for further demolition, the rest of the property can begin to come down. The site will need to be cordoned off with fencing that the client or construction company order, and the demolition plan that you had established in the consultation stage will need to be followed to a T. Minimising damage to essential infrastructure like easements in the case of stormwater drains and telecommunications, and reducing the effect of dust and noise on your neighbours are also factors to be considered. Labourers will take the house down to its foundations, clearing away anything of the structure that once was, and giving the builder a blank canvas to work from. If your demolition job is only a partial one, you may end up just demolishing a single room, granny flat, or individual structure within your property, and some of the above tasks may not apply.

The fencing is up and labourers are on site, deconstructing the property to suit the building plan, and execute on this first step of the process - exciting times! Again with the slow progressions of the construction industry, a lot of technological advances are not yet used in these processes - automation being an essential one - so most of the work has to be done by hand, brick by brick, 2x4 by 2x4. Once all the structures and materials have been dismantled, all that really needs to happen is for the materials to be safely disposed of, the site cleaned up ready for the next step of the build, and for a certificate of demolition to be signed off on by the relevant authority. With that last step, the demolition is officially complete - yay! The build can continue and the owners can continue to progress towards their dream house, investment property, or renovation.

If it hasn’t already been made clear, the need to still perform a lot of these tasks manually is a major hindrance, not just to demolitions, but to all building projects. The construction industry and all the systems support it have been slow to adapt to new and available technologies, with automation being at the forefront of easily implementable, hyper-effective technologies that could save you time and money, be more sustainable, meet your SLAs, and more. Build Flow is a custom designed automation system, that has set its sights on revolutionising the construction industry. It works by allowing all the different bits and pieces of a construction job to talk to each other, request information, and execute on tasks. By simply plugging in the specifications of what your building job requires, our systems automatically sends out paperwork, speaks to tradespeople, hires equipment, and plans out how the processes of a build will, you guessed it, flow.

By automating these workflows, Build Flow aims to instantiate major innovation in construction. Instead of an incremental change, we figure this will be a step change, and wholly improve a process that is otherwise, quite old-world. If jumping on board with this revolution sounds like something up your alley, please do not hesitate to reach out through our portal - either with a request or just a query - and we will get back to you and show you how we might be able to help!

More from Build Flow

Get updates on Build Flow