There are several reasons a house may need demolition including a need to clear land for a new home, fire damage, extensive decay and natural disaster damage. The house demolition process of removing an old home is fairly simple and your creativity can help you do so cheaply.
A house demolition permit is generally required
Once you've decided it's time to demolish a house your first step should be to check with your municipality for requirements including bylaws and licensing. While demolishing a house is a simple process it can be more challenging if your house is near someone else's or if part of your property is inaccessible to demolition equipment. Many municipalities will send an inspector out to the demolition site to identify such challenges.
Tearing down a house is only half the job, you will also be required to remove the debris and possibly dispose of hazardous materials such as asbestos or old underground tanks. If you are not sure about all of the rules and regulations you can hire a reputable demolition contractor who knows about all local regulations.
Contact your local fire department
You will want to, and many municipalities require, that you alert the fire department in advance of your planned demolition project. This is for safety reasons should a problem arise. This is also a good time to ask if the fire department has any interest in conducting a training exercise before the house is torn down.
Reuse and Recycle used building materials
Some materials commonly found in houses, such as bricks and old wood, can be re-used. Take the time to identify any materials that may still be useful and, even if you don't re-use them yourself, they may be valuable to someone else. With a little effort you can find items and materials that can be sold to help offset the demolition costs.
Some municipalities will ask for a materials deposit along with your demolition application. This deposit is usually based upon your home's square footage and when you provide proof of proper disposal of old materials the deposit is refunded to you.
Additional demolition considerations
Contact your local trades association or vocational college to see if, perhaps, they have an interest in using the property to teach future trades professionals a lesson or two inside the property. Hands on experience is a fundamental aspect of all trades. Just make sure you let the contractor know you'd like to offer the property for training purposes so that they bid on the job accordingly.
You can also contact non-profit organizations like habitat for humanity to see if they have an interest in salvaging any materials. Habitat for humanity builds houses for under-privileged people and may be willing to do the work of removing items like trim, old wood flooring, bricks, trusses, light fixtures and other.
Call the electric company
House demolition cannot begin until the electric company has disconnected the house from the electric grid. An electric company worker will physically disconnect the electrical wire from the power pole. The worker may also remove the wires and meter from the home itself. They will not remove any wiring from inside the home, their job is to secure the grid and to make sure the house is powered down before demolition begins. A qualified demolition contractor will know this and will not begin until it's done.
Let the house demolition begin
As you can see above most of the work involved with a house demolition is in the preparation. When the day comes to actually tear down the house the entire demolition will be completed fairly quickly. An excavator with experienced operator will begin at one end of the house and will push the walls and roofing in towards the center of the property. The excavator will methodically work it's way around the perimeter of the house until it is completely knocked down and a big pile of rubble is left in the center. If you want the contractor to place the debris into containers for removal you will need to agree on a price for this in advance, don't forget to ask about their removal rates.