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Demolition cost guide

Building your dream home, or upgrading an existing property, may involve breaking a few eggs – or in this case, demolishing a few walls (or a whole house). In this demolition cost guide, we look at the average UK prices for common demolition work.

You might need to knock down an existing house, or you want to demolish part of your home to build a new extension. Whatever your project, it’s useful to know how much it could cost you. It’s also important to hire professionals to ensure they use the right demolition method for the building type.

We spoke to the online estimators at My Build Estimate – a professional estimating company monitored by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This guide features their estimated average prices for demolition.

Demolition typeRange - LowRange - HighAverage cost
Small house (80-120m2)£4,000£9,500£6,750
Large house
Garage demolition£1000£3,000£2,000
Remove a load-bearing wall£1,200£2,000£1,500

How much does it cost to demolish a house?

The demolition cost will depend on the size of your house, and the materials it’s made up of. The average cost to demolish a small detached house (80-120m2) is around £6,750. For a large detached house (200-250m2), the average demolition cost is about £20,000.

The biggest part of the total demolition cost is the disposal of the materials, as demolition companies will charge haulage and landfill fees. That said, you can reduce the price you pay for demolition if any of the ‘waste’ can be reused.

The timescale for demolition will vary, depending on the scale and complexity of the project. As a guide, demolition usually takes 4-8 days to complete. If it’s a semi-detached or terraced house you’re demolishing then it will increase the time and cost.

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Savings from salvageable materials

One handy cost reduction comes if there are salvageable materials that the demolition contractor can reuse. Most demolition companies try to minimise waste and maximise recycling and will offset the value of reusable materials against the total cost of the demolition work – in some cases that can be a big saving.

garage demolition cost

Some of the common materials that can be recycled include:

  • Copper piping
  • Bricks
  • Concrete and blockwork
  • Tarmac
  • Timber
  • Plasterboard
  • Glass
  • Radiators and sinks

Also, any existing connections to electricity, water and sewerage can be reused – which will save you money compared to building on a brand new plot of land.

Cost to remove a wall

If you want to remove a single wall in a house, instead of the whole house, that will obviously be cheaper. If you plan to remove a load-bearing wall, you’ll need to apply for a building notice and organise a building inspection – both of which will add to the cost.

The average cost to remove a load-bearing wall (without building notice or inspection costs) is about £1,500. If the wall you want to demolish is a party wall then it will be more expensive. You’ll need a qualified surveyor to conduct additional structural checks and any changes will be subject to a party wall agreement.

Garage demolition cost

Sometimes a garage no longer serves its purpose, or it’s in poor condition and needs demolishing. Generally speaking, the price you’ll pay to demolish your garage will depend on the materials, more than the size – given that most garages are a pretty standard size.

The average garage demolition cost is around £2,000. That price usually includes the cost of labour, skip hire and waste fees, and removing the concrete base.

Demolition costs per m2

Factors affecting demolition costs

The total price of your demolition project will depend on a number of influential factors, including:

  • Size of the demolition site
  • Type and variety of materials
  • Type of demolition needed (e.g. top-down demolition, hand demolition or demolition by explosive)
  • Presence of any hazardous materials (e.g. asbestos)
  • Credit values from salvageable materials
  • Any restrictions on access to the demolition site (demolition in built-up areas and city centres will usually cost more)

Do I need planning permission for demolition work?

Not usually. Demolition is classed as “permitted development”, which means it doesn’t normally require planning permission. However, it’s worth noting that permitted development rights can be removed or restricted, commonly for listed buildings or in Conservation Areas. Always check with your local authority before carrying out any demolition work.

What happens for demolition of non-detached houses?

If you are planning to demolish a terraced or semi-detached house, then you need to consider the neighbouring properties. The adjoining buildings are entitled to a right of support according to the law. This will add to the cost of your demolition work.

Any demolition work you carry out will need to incorporate supporting the remaining buildings. And if your demolition affects a party wall then a party wall agreement will need to be negotiated (England and Wales).

Useful demolition checklist

  • Speak to your local planning office to check that your demolition project won’t need any special permission.
  • If you’re demolishing a semi-detached or terraced house, remember to consult with neighbours before carrying out any demolition work.
  • Contact your local demolition experts for professional advice and accurate prices.
  • Confirm with the demolition company what they consider ‘salvageable materials’ (metals, bricks, tiles, slate, etc) and what the credit value will be.
  • Shop around for fair and competitive prices.
  • Always hire a tradesperson with demolition experience and relevant qualifications or accreditations.

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