How Much Does It Cost To Demolish a House?

There are many reasons as to why people choose to demolish a house. For some it could be because of having an already perfect location with the most dreamy view but a house that does not suit their style or some that just choose to demolish because they want to have a new home or they want to subdivide and create a battleaxe block. They have the budget, so why not?

In Australian the cost of demolishing a house will range from $17,000 to $35,000. A standard home to be demolished will cost close to $22,000.

As much as you want to demolish a house yourself to build your dream new home, it requires a lot work to commence the demolition process. It is not advised to be a DIY job, thus a third party demolition company to help you will smooth the process.

Cost Per Square Meter Demolition 

An average cost estimate of $150/m2 is priced for house demolition and removal. You can read elsewhere different figures but i believe they are not accounting for removal of materials.

However, no demolition contractor will charge you a square meter rate because that is not how they estimate demolition costs. They take in to consideration all materials,  accessibility, distance from site and give you a total price figure based from that.

A demolition project does have a corelation with square meter price  and project size. Basically the larger a job the more it will cost but that is only what knowing the square meter of a home can give you. as discussed, a lot of reasons could affect the whole process, here is an in-depth discussion of the factors that affects the cost to knockdown a house.

Factors that affect price to demolish a house:

As above mentioned, demolition contractors usually use the square meter of a house to estimate how much works need to be done. Does not want to sound redundant, but the bigger the size of the demolition project, the higher costing will apply. As big house demolition requires more man-power, labour, time and equipment it generally has to compensate more to finish a project.

Materials of the house that is bound for demolition are considered because it will determine the difficulty of the project including the tools to be used and how intensive the work will be. Let say that the home to be demolished is just made of timber and wood then it may only cost at $10,000 according to Able Earthmoving, and that is already a complete demolition.

However, house made of bricks and concretes is a lot more expensive as it requires great deal of equipment and machine, they may need a wrecking ball for this matter. Concrete materials may take longer time to demolish thus increasing the job cost.

Well, tearing up a wall is easy but excavating the foundation and extra concrete driveways and patios of the house may cost additional charges.

It costs more because it requires more equipment to get the job done. An additional of $2,000 – $5,000 may apply when house foundation is demolished as well, but the material in the foundation is also considered.

Location and site accessibility are two different things, location is your address while site accessibility is the general area and site of the demolition.  When asked if your property is accessible, they are assessing if there will be a lesser time to demolish the house as equipment needs to be travelled to your area thus site gradient and access point will be important.

The demolition contractor may charge to you their travel and transportation cost adding up to the total house demolition cost. One more thing, distance to local recycling and waste facilities influences the total cost.

Additional to the cost of house demolition is the removal and disposal of hazardous material in the building. Precautions, requirements and risks are applied by your demolition contractors.

What are the possible hazards in your house? mouldy materials, mineral fibers and asbestos all are quite expensive to remove. As they need specialised equipment and licences to remove, additional safety procedures and measures should be applied as mandated by Australian Law.

Moulded materials are expensive to remove but asbestos is three times pricier. They both need to be handled by specialists but Asbestos itself has to be handled by a qualified professional as it must be handled by someone who has undergone proper training and is licensed to do the removal


Asbestos was once considered a gift to the construction industry, it can withstand highly corrosive situations – heat, erosion and decay. It is also fire and water-resistant.

In Australia, homes built and renovated in the mid-1980s to 1990s has the most likely to have asbestos. However because of modern times discovery, asbestos was proved to be carcinogenic or cancer – causing, leading to its ban in 2003. From then on, asbestos is categorised as highly hazardous.

As mentioned by junk bin & dumpster professional Luke Hancock, products containing asbestos materials (ACM) are forbidden from being sold or recycled.

Therefore, due to these reasons and safety precautions needed to be taken, demolition with asbestos will have additional costs involved.

Cost To Demolish A House With Asbestos?

A standard cost to demolish a house with asbestos adds about $3,500 as an estimate. A standard single storey family house that contains asbestos will cost around $22,000. 

If you want to change to a Colorbond fence and need your fence removing because is is asbestos it may cost more. The reason for this is the licenses needed to remove asbestos and the cost for dumping it is very high.

How Much Does A Demolition Permit Cost?

Before proceeding to everything – just like when a house is to be constructed that a building permit is needed.As it turns out that house demolitions need permits from local council as well. There is a must to submit certain requirements in order to proceed with the demolition process.

A standard demolition permit from local council costs about $350. It may take seven to fourteen days to approve the permit depending on your location. Usually, demolition permits are already included in the total cost of the demolition service by the companies and contractors.

Why Is A Demolition Permit Needed?

These state requirements are for the protection of historically-important properties or heritage sites. Also, it just ensures the consistency of city planning. Bushfire prone areas also requires demolition permits. The need to obtain permit always depend on your state, county or city regulations.

What Are The Requirements Needed To Obtain A Demolition Permit?

  • Site picture and the house to be demolished. You should provide copies of site plan, demolition description, environmental protection plan, photograph of the area where the demolition will happen and materials of the house that will be demolished.
  • Title or Deed of the land and a proof that you own the property that will be demolished. An official copy from state government can be requested that may cost $20 to $50.
  • Demolisher’s name, registration and insurance details that is approved by the state, meaning a legal demolishing company should be tapped for this job. A public liability insurance policy must be presented.
  • Detailed plans of the demolition process. As well as the protection of public and adjoining properties.
  • Description of the action for waste disposal. After tearing up a big property, of course there will be accumulation of waste materials. These waste should be disposed properly as for environment protection purposes.

Most of the time, demolition contractors are more than willing to assist you with the filing of demolition permit applications and enquiries but as usual it takes another additional payment of the project’s total  cost.

House Demolition Cost Examples:

The folowing 3 examples have been calculated from information provided by cleansl8 demolition in Perth. 

Example 1: Small house and shed with Asbestos: $19,500

This is demolition is for a 140sqm house with a 85 square meter garage detached out the backyard with an asbestos roof. 

Existing house to be demolished
The image below shows the aerial view of the existing home to be knocked down and the sites area over the top. As you can see it is roughly 140 sqm with a shed of 85 sqm roof coverage out the back in double brick. The actual size of the garage is about 50sqm as part of the roof covering is a patio. 

140 & 85 square meters demolition cost

Asbestos roof and cleared site
Asbestos roof and the finished cleared site

This site had easy access and no need for traffic management. the total cost for demolition was $19,500.

Example 2: Small House With Easy Access: $18,500

This is a small house at 136 sqm floor space and extra roof coverage around the sides. It has easy access and some asbestos to be worried about. Besides that it looks like a very straight forward demolition job.

136 sqm house demolition sydney

house demolition

This house is on the cheaper side of what it will cost to demolish a home in Australia coming in at $18,500 with removal.

Example 3: 220sqm House With Pool: $24,000

This is a 220 sqm roof coverage house with a 35 sqm garden shed out back made of colourbond. There was a large tree out the front that was also removed.

When demolishing an existing homeand it has a pool, the pool needs to be back-filled and then compacted to Australian standards so it does not cause any problems for the new home. This house needed this to be done.

Demolish a house with a pool
The cost to demolish this house was on the higher side due to the area and the pool that needed to be back filled. It came in costing $21,000 in total. Keep in mind that demolition cost will be greater if you have not hired a removalist.

Price To Demolish A Home On Average In Australia

Basically, the cost of demolishing house depends on your location, size, material and accessibility. Demolition in Sydney may be more costly than in Perth. A Melbourne based tiny house to demolish may cost $17,250 for a single story residential home. In Sydney, it may cost $22,000. However, demolition cost is not only affected by your site accessibility but also with the area of the demolition project.

Needless to say, the bigger the size of the property that needs to be demolished, the higher the cost. Demolition companies and demolition contractors rarely charge per hour or per square meter as there is too many variables.

Demolition cost per hour is very hard to calculate and should not be used. If demotion cost is per hour, for just the labour it averages at $50/hour not including machinery costs or dumping costs which is are both the expensive part expensive part7

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