Demolition Contractor FAQs

  • Introduction

    If you’re in the process of rebuilding or renovating,  at one point you may require demolition services. You can hire demolition services for residential or commercial buildings, and no job is too big or too small. Many demolition companies also offer waste management services, so they can handle hauling away the debris, leaving you with a clean, empty space.

    When hiring demolition services, you want to work with professional, reputable people. If you’re doing selective demolition (only removing one area of a building) or asbestos removal, you want to ensure a thorough and complete job is done. Review the questions and answers below so you can make a more informed decision when hiring a demolition contractor.
  • What is demolition?

    Demolition is the process of knocking down property or structures to clear space on the land. The process is done safely, using science and engineering concepts to ensure an area is cleared without leaving anything dangerous around, such as exposed wires, a weak foundation, holes, etc..

  • How are demolition jobs quoted?

    Typically, demolition jobs are quoted based on the square footage of the building. The national average for commercial demolition ranges between $4-$8 per square foot. The price per square foot typically goes down as the total square footage rises. This pricing doesn’t include additional services, such as waste management.

  • Do you need a license to do demolition?

    Demolition requirements vary by state, county, and local municipality. Depending on your location, some companies will be required to have a license. Additionally, some areas require individual demolition permits or licenses to be pulled for each job site on behalf of the client.

  • What is a demolition engineer?

    A demolition engineer is a specialist in clearing areas safely without endangering people, nearby objects, the land, or the remaining building. They may use explosives to demolish buildings, identify how to open a new area for mining, and understand how to remove large obstacles in construction areas. Most demolition engineers are high school graduates who learned their skills on the job.

  • How do you become a demolition expert?

    Most demolition experts are trained on the job, typically by following an experienced professional for a couple of months to a year. Some individuals may choose to complete training provided by vocational schools, contractor associations, or labor unions. However, in this profession, hands-on experience is the most valuable.

  • How do you bid on demolition work?

    There are two options for bidding on demolition work. First, you can work under a parent company that does the bidding for you and gives you regular contracts while taking a small cut. Otherwise, you can be an individual contractor, find your local bidding sites, and place  individual bids. Demolition projects always go to the lowest bidder.

  • Where can you dispose of demolition waste?

    How you dispose of the demolition waste depends on the kind of waste you have. Some of it may go to the dump, while hazardous materials will have require special handling. If you don’t want to deal with disposing of demolition waste, your demolition contractor may offer to provide waste management services.

  • What is the most eco-friendly way to dispose of demolition waste?

    The most eco-friendly way to dispose of demolition waste is to repurpose and recycle whatever you can, so as little goes to the landfill as possible. You can hire a demolition contractor who specializes in eco-friendly waste management, and they will help you donate or relocate waste in a sustainable way.

  • Do demolition teams use explosives?

    Yes, for large buildings, a demolition team may use explosives. Using explosives in demolition may seem messy to the inexperienced. In fact, explosive-based demolition is known as “controlled demolition” because it offers a strategic, contained way to collapse a structure or section of a structure. Controlled demolition is most often used for tall buildings, chimney stacks, cooling towers, and bridges.

  • What is a demolition derby?

    A demolition derby is a competition where five or more drivers in old cars purposely drive into each other until one car is still moving. Demolition derbies typically take place at festivals and country fairs using very old cars that don’t have much life left in them.

  • What is a high reach and how is it used in demolition?

    Demolition with a high reach arm is an alternative to using explosives. This method is typically used for reaching a portion of a building that's 66 feet or taller. This type of demolition uses a base machine with a long arm to do the demolishing.

  • Does demolition involve historic preservation?

    Protected historic properties can't legally be demolished. However, historic buildings are often deconstructed while preserving their bones. Controlled demolition services can be used at historic sites to remove one area, allowing the majority of the historic structure to remain intact. For example, an area may need to be demolished due to asbestos before it spreads elsewhere.

  • What is the difference between demolition and deconstruction?

    The goal of a demolition is to simply take down a structure and clear the area. Conversely, deconstruction is a much more careful process because the materials are saved for reuse. A deconstruction project will take longer, as each area is examined to locate materials that can be saved for future use.

  • What is a brownfield?

    A brownfield is land with contaminated soil that's unsafe to rebuild on without remediation. This type of land may be the site of an abandoned oil refinery or an old gas station. To restore a brownfield, the area needs to be cleared and all of the contaminated soil removed. Demolition companies often offer services to help with brownfields.

  • What is a superfund site?

    The United States' Superfund law is a program that looks to identify and clean up areas with hazardous materials. Currently, there are over 40,000 superfund sites across the United States. Almost 70% of the cleanup costs on these sites has been paid for by the party that caused the land damage.

  • Are there certain requirements for commercial demolition?

    Yes, thanks to The Clean Air Act and the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NSHAP), sites that are registering a certain amount of asbestos must be reported before demolition. Before demolition can start, a plan may need to be presented on how the material will be safely dealt with.

  • Where is the demolition ranch?

    Youtube sensation Matt Carriker has over 17 million subscribers and three channels that operate under the name “Demo Ranch” or “Demolition Ranch.”  His demo ranch is located in Texas, where he makes firearm videos for his audience.

Find a Top-Ranked Demolition Contractor Near You

We did the research for you!

  • Licensing
  • User Reviews
  • Mystery Shopping Calls

Learn about our selection process.