Cost of Knocking Down a House: Factors to Consider

October 24, 2023
Cost of knocking down a house

Key takeaways:

  1. The cost of demolishing a house in Australia typically falls between $12,000 and $40,000, influenced by factors like location, house size, and the chosen demolition method.
  2. Costs include permit fees, site preparation, asbestos removal, waste disposal, labor, equipment, and potential unexpected expenses.
  3. Asbestos removal is essential, with prices ranging from $30 to $50 per square meter for non-friable asbestos.
  4. Knocking down and rebuilding a house offers customization and energy efficiency benefits but can be costly; homeowners should choose a reliable demolition contractor and consider legal and financial factors such as zoning laws, insurance, and financing.

The estimated cost of knocking down a house in Australia is between $12,000 and $40,000. However, this is just a range as these costs vary based on factors such as location, size of the house, and the method used to demolish the house.

Generally, the cost of demolishing a house can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Before starting any demolition work, it is important to obtain a permit from the local council. The cost of the permit can vary depending on the council, but it is usually a few hundred dollars.

In addition to the permit, there may be other fees associated with the demolition, such as:

  • site preparation,
  • asbestos removal
  • waste disposal

These costs can add up quickly, so it is important to factor them in when budgeting for the demolition.

Overall, the cost of knocking down a house can be a significant expense, but it is an important part of the process when rebuilding or renovating a property. By understanding the factors that can affect the cost and budgeting accordingly, homeowners can ensure a smooth and successful demolition process.

Cost Breakdown

Cost of knocking down a house

Here is a breakdown of some of the costs you can expect to incur:

Labour Costs

Labour costs make up a significant portion of the total cost of knocking down a house. This includes the wages of the workers who will be involved in the demolition process. The cost of labour will vary depending on the size of the house and the complexity of the project.

For those particularly interested in the region-specific costs, the knock down rebuild cost in Sydney provides a more detailed breakdown.

Here are some examples of labour costs for knocking down houses of different sizes in Australia:

  • Small house: $10,000-$15,000
  • Medium-sized house: $15,000-$20,000
  • Large house: $20,000-$30,000

Equipment Costs

Equipment costs are another significant expense when it comes to knocking down a house. This includes the cost of renting or buying the necessary equipment, such as excavators, bulldozers, and other heavy machinery.

The cost of equipment will depend on the size of the house and the type of equipment required.

Waste Disposal Costs

Waste disposal costs are an essential consideration when demolishing a house. This includes the cost of removing and disposing of the debris and waste generated during the demolition process.

The cost of waste disposal will depend on the amount of waste generated and the method used to dispose of it.

However, as a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $5,000 for waste disposal costs.

Permit Costs

The cost of permits will vary depending on the location of the house and the type of demolition method used, but you can expect to pay between $500 and $2,000.

Permit costs are another expense to consider when knocking down a house. This includes the cost of obtaining the necessary permits and approvals from local authorities.

It’s crucial to note that specific permissions might be required when it comes to tree removal. For example, knowing what trees can be cut down without permission is essential to avoid potential legal issues.

Unexpected Costs

Unexpected costs may also arise during the demolition process. These may include costs associated with unexpected damage to the property or additional work required to complete the project. It is essential to budget for unexpected costs to avoid any financial surprises during the demolition process.

Asbestos and Demolition

Cost of knocking down a house

When it comes to demolishing a house, asbestos can pose a significant risk to both workers and the environment. Asbestos is a hazardous material that was commonly used in building construction until the 1980s.

It is known to cause lung cancer and other respiratory diseases when inhaled. Therefore, it is crucial to remove asbestos before demolishing a house.

Cost of Asbestos Removal

The cost of asbestos removal can vary depending on the size of the house and the amount of asbestos present.

“According to the Australian Government, the average cost of removing asbestos from a house is around $30 to $50 per square meter. However, this cost can increase significantly if the asbestos is friable.”

Friable asbestos is asbestos that can crumble easily and release fibers into the air. Removing friable asbestos is more complex and requires specialized equipment and training. As a result, the cost of removing friable asbestos can be up to ten times more expensive than removing non-friable asbestos.

In addition to the cost of asbestos removal, there may be additional costs associated with disposing of the asbestos.

Asbestos must be disposed of in a specific way to ensure it does not pose a risk to the environment. Therefore, it is essential to factor in these additional costs when budgeting for asbestos removal.

Overall, the cost of asbestos removal is an important consideration when demolishing a house. It is essential to hire a licensed and experienced asbestos removalist to ensure the safe and proper removal of asbestos.

By doing so, you can protect the health of workers and the environment while avoiding costly fines and legal issues.

Knock Down Rebuild Process

Cost of knocking down a house

When considering a knock down rebuild project, it is important to understand the process involved. This section will cover the cost of rebuilding, as well as the pros and cons of knock down rebuild.

Cost of Rebuilding

The cost of knocking down a house and rebuilding can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. These include the size of the house, the complexity of the design, and the materials used. On average, the cost of rebuilding can range from $250,000 to $500,000.

It is important to note that the cost of rebuilding may not include additional expenses such as demolition, site preparation, and landscaping. These costs can add up quickly, so it is important to factor them into your budget.

Pros and Cons of Knock Down Rebuild

There are many pros and cons to consider when deciding whether to knock down and rebuild a house. Some of the pros include:

  • Customization: When you rebuild, you have the opportunity to design a home that meets your specific needs and preferences.
  • Energy Efficiency: New homes are often more energy efficient than older homes, which can lead to cost savings in the long run.
  • Increased Home Value: A new home can increase the value of your property, especially if it is well-designed and built with quality materials.

However, there are also some cons to consider, such as:

  • Cost: As mentioned earlier, the cost of rebuilding can be quite high, especially when factoring in additional expenses.
  • Time: Rebuilding a home can take several months or even a year, which can be a significant inconvenience for some homeowners.
  • Environmental Impact: Knocking down a house and rebuilding can have a negative impact on the environment, especially if proper precautions are not taken.

Overall, the decision to knock down and rebuild a house is a personal one that should be made after careful consideration of all the pros and cons.

Choosing a Demolition Contractor

Cost of knocking down a house

When it comes to knocking down a house, choosing a reliable demolition contractor is essential. Here are some tips to help you find the right one for your project.

Finding a Reliable Contractor

The first step in finding a reliable demolition contractor is to do your research. Look for contractors in your area who specialize in residential demolition. Check their website and online reviews to learn more about their services and reputation.

You can also ask for recommendations from friends and family who have recently completed a demolition project.

Once you have a list of potential contractors, it’s important to verify their credentials. Make sure they are licensed, insured, and have the necessary permits to carry out the demolition work. You can also check their references and ask to see examples of their previous work.

Getting Quotes

Before hiring a demolition contractor, it’s important to get quotes from several different companies. This will help you compare prices and services to find the best option for your budget and needs.

When requesting quotes, be sure to provide as much detail as possible about the project. This should include the size and location of the house, any hazardous materials that need to be removed, and any specific requirements you have for the demolition process.

Once you have received quotes from several contractors, take the time to review them carefully. Look for any hidden fees or charges, and make sure you understand exactly what is included in the price. You can also use this information to negotiate with the contractors and potentially lower the cost of the project.

By following these tips, you can find a reliable demolition contractor who will help you knock down your house safely and efficiently.

Legal and Financial Considerations

Cost of knocking down a house

When it comes to the cost of knocking down a house, there are several legal and financial considerations that homeowners need to take into account before they start the demolition process. This section will provide an overview of the most important factors to consider, including zoning laws, insurance, and finance.

Zoning Laws

Before a homeowner can demolish their house, they need to ensure that they are complying with all relevant zoning laws. These laws are designed to regulate land use and development, and they vary depending on the location of the property.

“Homeowners should consult with their local council to determine whether they need any permits or approvals before they can proceed with the demolition.”


Homeowners should also consider their insurance coverage before they begin the demolition process. Most standard home insurance policies do not cover damage caused by intentional acts, such as demolition.

Therefore, homeowners may need to purchase additional insurance coverage to protect themselves in case of any accidents or damage during the demolition process.


The cost of knocking down a house can be significant, and homeowners need to consider their financial situation before they begin the process. Homeowners may need to obtain financing to cover the cost of the demolition, and they should research their options carefully to ensure that they are getting the best deal.

Homeowners should also consider the potential impact of the demolition on the value of their property, as well as any tax implications that may arise.

In summary, homeowners should be aware of the legal and financial considerations involved in knocking down a house.

They should ensure that they are complying with all relevant zoning laws, consider their insurance coverage, and carefully research their financing options. By taking these factors into account, homeowners can minimize their risk and ensure a successful demolition process.

Suggested reading: Considering a complete renovation? Before you start, learn about what it takes to Demolish a home in our comprehensive guide.

FAQs on Cost of knocking down a house

Q: What is the formula for demolition?

A: The formula for demolition is: (Length (ft) x Width (ft) x Height (ft) x 1/3) / 27. This formula converts the area of a demolition site in square feet to cubic yards.

Q: What is the common method of demolition?

A: The most common method of demolition is mechanical demolition. This involves the use of heavy machinery, such as cranes, excavators, bulldozers, and wrecking balls, to pull or push a building down and clear the resulting debris from the site.

Q: How do you knock down a building?

A: To knock down a building, a demolition tool, such as a crusher, shears, or a hammer, is attached to the end of a long demolition arm and used to break up the building from the top down.

Q: Do I need permission to knock a wall down?

A: In most cases, you do not need permission to knock down an internal wall. However, it is always best to check with your local building department to be sure.

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