Home demolition process  must be commenced after completing due diligence with the local governing authorities, and obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC)  from the public utility service.

Ravi Singh, owner of a 2 BHK house in Delhi, had been living in the same house for around 40 years. As his family grew bigger, he needed more space, but did not wish to move out. So, he decided to demolish the old house completely, and build a new spacious home. Singh’s is not a lone case. In fact, according to Alok Bhasin, Architecture and Interior Design professional active in NCR,  demolition is quite common in Tier- I and Tier- II cities, especially in older areas.

There are several reasons for which owners decide to demolish their house. Extensive damage due to natural disasters, wear and tear over years, old design and weak structure are some of the common reasons.

What are the permits required for home demolition?

Before beginning the process, one needs to take permits from various civic authorities and neighbours, as they too are going to get impacted by the demolition. “The process has to be commenced after completing due diligence with the local governing authorities, and obtaining a NOC from the public utility services like electricity utility, water and sanitation utility, entertainment utility and fire department,” says Bhuvan Ashish, Sustainable Design Expert, IdeinLab Architects.

“If your house is situated close to a busy road, you will have to take permission from traffic police. They will then apply barricades around the house. And if you are building a basement, which can impact a neighbour’s house, you will require your neighbour’s permission as well,” says Manish Gupta, General Manager - BIM Architecture, Intec Infra Technologies Pvt Ltd.

In case you are planning to build a new home on the plot, you will have to submit new building plans to the authorities. Also, say you had the prior permission of two floors and now after demolition, you want to build an extra floor, you will have to take permission for this as well. Also, rules related to demolition and construction vary from city to city. In Delhi, for instance, stilt parking has become compulsory. So, if you are demolishing an old house, which did not have the stilt, you will have to build a stilt parking in the new one.

Since house demolition is a tedious process, experts advise that it must be handled by professionals rather than individuals. “Consulting a structural engineer is a must,” says Gupta. He advises that demolition should not be carried out during the rainy season.

What are the methods to demolish a house?

According to Mukhtar Ahmed, Proprietor, Modern Building Dismantlers in Bangalore, there are two ways of demolishing a house. One is ‘Simple Manual Demolition’ - It is apt for smaller buildings and involves pulling the structure down using mechanical methods.

The other method is fairly new and is called "deconstruction" or "green demolition". It involves a careful process where the building is slowly taken apart and as much material as possible is saved for reuse.

How much does home demolition cost?

The cost to tear down a house varies a lot and there is no exact figure that can be specified. In Singh’s case, he brought down a 2BHK house to build a 3BHK+basement. During the demolition and construction his family was living in a rented house. The total cost incurred to him was around Rs 40 lakh.

Here you also need to consider the buyback price of debris. “The construction quality and material used in old house plays an important role. For instance, wood work has a good reselling price. Materials built from steel, iron and other stuffs also have a reselling price, since they can be recycled,” says Bhasin.

Should you demolish your house?

“It entirely depends on the economics and the individual/family need. If the house is in a deplorable condition, then there is no point in retaining the structure. Furthermore, the house you are getting after demolition and reconstruction should be worthy of the total expense.,” says Gupta. It also depends on how much you are willing to spend, since there are possibilities of renovation and partial demolition as well.

However, those who do decide to demolish their old home, and build a bigger and better home to suit their present and future needs, the above mentioned points should be taken into consideration before taking the plunge.

Some handy tips

If you are thinking of embarking on a home remodelling project, the following tips can come handy:

  1. Decide who is going to take care of the demolition. In other words, get in touch with contractors or construction companies who have a good track record of handling house demolitions and remodelling.
  2. Be very sure of the amount they are going to charge for the same. In recent practices, contractors also ask for a portion of the house post remodelling. In this case, be sure that you are ready to let go of a floor of your house.
  3. To manage waste like concrete and bricks, get a large waste container or a truck arranged so that you the neighbours are do not get hassled by the waste getting accumulated in the vicinity.
  4. Before re-modelling the house, take expert advice and also follow the municipal floors plans to avoid any legal hurdles later on.