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Thread: Anyone ever demo a house?

  1. #1
    BumpRacerX started this thread.
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    Anyone ever demo a house?

    We have a small house in our home town that the wife and I have owned since we were kids (literally 20/19 when we bought it). The last few years, we have been using it at a rental property. The very first day of our vacation, 10 o'clock at night, we received the call no one ever wants to get. Our rental caught on fire. It sounds like the walls are still standing, and the floor system is ok (other than the OSB which has been soaking up the wetness since last Monday and is surely warped at this point). The interior is gutted, burned a few trusses, etc. Sounds like an electrical fire.

    House is pretty small (768sf) ranch on a crawl space, and I'm almost certain the insurance company is going to total it out. I'm toying with the idea of doing the demolition myself if I can get the insurance company to pay me for it. Anyone ever demo a house? Other than the obvious things, is there anything to look out for?

    No one was hurt, Mrs. renter and the kids were down in Florida for Spring Break. Mr. Renter wasn't home. Fire Department did a **** good job of keeping the fire contained to the house.



    Overall just a rough way to ruin a vacation. Gonna slow down my ability to purchase e-waste until after I see exactly how everything is going to play out with the insurance company.


  2. #2
    Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    Quote Originally Posted by BumpRacerX View Post
    We have a small house in our home town that the wife and I have owned since we were kids (literally 20/19 when we bought it). The last few years, we have been using it at a rental property. The very first day of our vacation, 10 o'clock at night, we received the call no one ever wants to get. Our rental caught on fire. It sounds like the walls are still standing, and the floor system is ok (other than the OSB which has been soaking up the wetness since last Monday and is surely warped at this point). The interior is gutted, burned a few trusses, etc. Sounds like an electrical fire.

    House is pretty small (768sf) ranch on a crawl space, and I'm almost certain the insurance company is going to total it out. I'm toying with the idea of doing the demolition myself if I can get the insurance company to pay me for it. Anyone ever demo a house? Other than the obvious things, is there anything to look out for?

    No one was hurt, Mrs. renter and the kids were down in Florida for Spring Break. Mr. Renter wasn't home. Fire Department did a **** good job of keeping the fire contained to the house.

    Overall just a rough way to ruin a vacation. Gonna slow down my ability to purchase e-waste until after I see exactly how everything is going to play out with the insurance company.
    My knee jerk reaction is that it may be a bit diffuclt to get paid from the insurance company, have a contractor do the work, but it depends. If you have a mortgage, the mortgage company is really the one that will get paid from the insurance, you then will have to get paid from the mortgage company. This makes things very complex. What many people complained about when the storms hit the east coast was how diffuclt it was to get the money from the mortgage company. They want to pay the money out as the work is completed (ie. when you finished 20% of the work, you get 20% of the money).

    If you do not have a mortgage, you should be able to get a check for the amount of the rebuild and be able to hire your own contractor, or even not rebuild at all.

    If you are in the second group ( no mortgage) I think you could go in and demo what you wanted, hire a contractor to rebuild the way you wanted, get it inspected to make sure it's up to code, and pocket any money saved which would be your payment. The cool thing about this would be you can change the layout, if you do the work yourself you can upgrade the home with no money out of pocket. I would get a free estimate PRIOR to any demo from a few contractors. You don't need to use these contractors, but it will tell you what you are going to need done, so you will know what demo was necessary.

    You really need to talk to the insurance company about the policy and what you want to do.

  3. #3
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    I have demo'd a 2 story house and I know I wouldn't do it again. If I were in your situation, I would get the insurance company's okay to pay for a demo. I'd then cannabalize the copper wire, pipe, ect., and then have a demo crew come in and clean up the mess.
    If it wasn't for the $ in $crap, it would just be.....

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    Maybe the fire dept would like to finish it off as a practice burn? Our church owns 2 properties that had junk homes on them. FD burned them to the basement and I got salvage rights. Wasn't much to salvage unfortunately, but far easier than trying to get stuff out prior, though I did get some copper out before hand.



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    All good advice so far. I've demoed literally over a hundred houses since one of my occupations is demolition contractor. FIRST, get everything straight with the insurance or you could end up doing a lot of work for nothing.

    I've had several burned by fire departments, and it's a 50/50 whether you end up with a bigger mess at the end.

    Contractors will usually give you an estimate. The smaller the house, the higher the cost per square foot and burned out houses are a little higher than others because of the mess to deal with. I'd be looking for a price of around $3.50 to $4 per square foot. This is because it costs to move and set up equipment just the same on a small building as a large one.

    This size is really easily doable yourself with mostly hand tools, chain hoists, sledge hammer, crowbar, chainsaw especially since it's crawlspace. You can probably pull it over with a truck and chains to get your work on the ground. Your costs are going to be landfill and most likely rental of a loader/bobcat. Landfill prices are all over the place. You might see something like $35 per ton for regular lined landfill, but check around until you find a C&D (construction and demolition) landfill or section of another designated as such. You might get the price down to $12 per ton or even a sweet deal like $100 per truck load (get a big truck). This house should fit in one dump semi trailer or large roll off if you go that way.

    Warning: You must file a notice of demolition with your state EPA. (Alabama's is ADEM) They will let you permit to tear it down, but not if you do it before calling them.

    Next, you might want to make sure you don't have asbestos. That stuff can cause you real grief and is dangerous. If you do it wrong, you might have to have an asbestos abatement company remove it and that can cost the same as tearing the whole house down. Check for that hard fiber siding and 6 inch lenolium type floor tile. You may remove it yourself as a homeowner, but you need to find out your local rules for disposal. This stuff has cost me the entire profit and more on a few jobs where we found extra asbestos that wasn't included in the survey.

    You can do it yourself, just be careful and follow the local rules.

    Good Luck

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