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right time to demolish a building

7 Signs to Know When to Demolish a Building

Demolition is the most high-risk activity in the construction sector. This brings many who seek this service asking: When is the right time to demolish a building?

Hence, it is important that when you are considering a demolition project, you get the best demolition contractor that has experience and expertise in safe and precise demolitions with the most efficient risk control practices.

A reputable and trusted demolition contractor should adopt the best practices outlined by the regulations for demolition projects along with the proper methods of demolition of buildings. They don’t just demolish buildings for profit.

They do more than smash buildings down to the ground. They take a lot of factors into consideration before deciding on demolishing a structure.

Let’s get into the minds of demolition contractors and understand better when to demolish a building.

Reasons for Demolishing Commercial Buildings

Whether it’s a commercial or residential structure, the reasons the service of demolition is required are very similar.

The major reason for commercial demolition is when a building is considered hazardous and dangerous to be used because it is very prone to collapsing.

Another reason for commercial demolitions is for the new construction of a building that will replace the existing structure.

Here are reasons for the demolition of buildings:

1. Poorly Maintained Buildings

When a building is not properly maintained or altogether neglected, it becomes uninhabitable because the structure becomes weak as many issues arise. If the owner is not able to do regular upkeep and maintenance, demolition becomes a better option than sustaining the building.

2. Damaged Buildings Due to Calamities

A building is rendered unsafe when there is a lot of damage caused by calamities like hurricanes, storms, and floods. In some cases when the damage is so extreme, only some parts of the building are left standing.

Calamity-stricken buildings can become weak making them dangerous and very risky to be inhabited.

3. Demolition of Old Buildings

When a building has reached the end of a useful phase, the very existence of the building hangs in the balance for many reasons like:

  • Old buildings develop weaker foundations because the materials used in constructing them may have degraded to a point that they can no longer hold the structure together.
  • Poor ventilation and/or plumbing issues because of old-model or worn-out pipes can cause leaks which will further attract molds.
  • Unkempt buildings become a danger or a nuisance in the community because they become safe havens for drug addicts and other criminals.
  • Old buildings harbor structural issues like the floors becoming uneven and excessive moisture that can develop in a lot of areas. These issues often lead to bigger problems that can cost more if repaired.
  • The building is made up of hazardous or toxic materials like asbestos, lead, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls. All of these can cause a negative effect on the health of individuals. It is wise to hire a trained demolition contractor who knows how to properly handle and dispose of hazardous materials and substances from old buildings.
  • Abandoned buildings are great homes to termites, bees, rats, and other critters. The problem can get severe and cannot be solved by an exterminator, hence, a professional demolition contractor should be called.

4. Increase Property Value

When the commercial building on a lot is in very poor condition, it will be more reasonable to tear down the building before putting the property on sale.

Related: How Much Does it Cost to Demolish a Commercial Building?

There is a greater probability that your lot will become more profitable than it is with an old building that is not functional.

Consider that your property would be more marketable as a vacant lot. Companies who would want custom buildings will jump at the opportunity.

The property value will be significantly increased when you tear down the old building and replace it with a new one if you have the budget for new construction.

5. Several Renovations that Costs More

Consider your budget when you are weighing whether you should renovate or demolish and rebuild.

If after a thorough assessment, you find out that you will need to spend a considerable amount of money on extensive renovations than you would to demolish and then build a new structure, it will be more cost-effective and practical to demolish and build.

6. Keeping Up With present Day’s Safety Standards

Unless buildings fall under the heritage category, it is highly recommended that they are demolished because of the difficulty and cost of maintenance to keep up with the present safety standards of buildings.

It is also difficult to install present-day utilities in outdated buildings that would increase property value and safety for the building.

7. No Emotional Attachment to the Current Building Material and Layout

If you want to upgrade your building because the interior and exterior have outdated features and the structure has cramped spaces with poor ventilation, you can always choose to demolish it and start anew.

This is a good deal if your budget can weather the expenses of new building construction.

Is it Cheaper to Knock Down and Rebuild or Renovate?

Horizon TV reported that “half of the country’s 5.6 million commercial buildings—including office, hospitality, education, and healthcare facilities—were constructed before 1980 and are starting to near the end of their projected lifespan.”

There is no definite answer to whether it is cheaper to knock down and rebuild or renovate a building. When to demolish a building will really depend on your answer to these questions:

  • How old is the building? best time to demolish a building
  • What is the condition of the building?
  • What needs to be fixed or upgraded?
  • Is sustainability a priority?
  • Is there something worth saving?

In conclusion, an old commercial building is not necessarily bad, but regulatory changes may make it obsolete and expensive to upgrade so that it will adhere to building code standards.

Remember that the older the building is, the more expensive it is to renovate.

When you are planning on when to demolish a building, whether it is a small building demolition or a more complex one, consider cost analysis, the flow of people, market share, environmental outlook, and plan for expansion.

A professional demolition company is an expert when it comes to knowing the buildings and their assets. Here’s how to choose the right demolition contractor for the job.

They will guide you in your decision to either knockdown or rebuild or renovate.

More from Big Easy Demolition

Is It Worth Demolishing a House and Rebuilding?
How to Clear Land by Hand


Big Easy Demolition is a licensed and insured company providing demolition services for both home and business.

We proudly serve the areas of Metairie, Slidell, New Orleans, Kenner, Laplace, and all throughout the Greater New Orleans area.

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