What An Architect Can Tell You About Tear Downs

What An Architect Can Tell You About Tear DownsA teardown refers to the process of demolishing an existing house to make room for a brand new one. Making the property appealing to prospective buyers, taking advantage of increasing property values, or just building a nicer, larger home are the common reasons for teardowns.

If you’re a homeowner looking to take down your house and build a new one, this solution might be overwhelming or confusing to think about. Luckily, experienced architects are here to help. Consulting with one should be your first step when tearing down a house. An architect will define your needs, stay within budget, and even recommend contractors to do the job. He/she will also make sure the entire process stays organized and on a timely schedule. Not to mention, plans of your dream home will be designed to exceed expectations so you can have a positive experience when it’s all over.

Just knowing you’re in the capable hands of an architect during a teardown relieves some anxiety that otherwise could have gone unchecked. However, the first consultation needs to explain some aspects of the process so everyone can have a clearer picture of what to expect.

Don’t Do It Yourself

Meeting with an architect first is a smart move for homeowners needing to demolish a house. Though teardowns may seem straight-forward, simple, and cheap, they are actually more involved and complicated. Expert contractors know how to efficiently take down a house in a safe and controlled manner. Plus, they know what materials to keep and what to get rid of.

How to Know If Your House Should Be Demolished

Teardowns usually happen to outdated structures in attractive neighborhoods. These homes might have outdated rooms, smaller square footage, or be energy guzzlers. Structural issues and hazardous materials like asbestos are also great reasons for demolition. These issues might be too costly and complicated to fix for potential buyers or current homeowners. If you can’t get the modern home you want out of renovation, then a teardown is your best bet.

Does the Whole House Have to be Taken Down? 

Nope. In fact, some communities encourage partial demolition and renovation to speed along the process. After all, the leftover structure can be incorporated into the new design, sidestepping local demolition restrictions. And many times, if a portion of the old house is retained, your property taxes will be lower, which is reason enough to not tear the entire structure down.

Local Restrictions

Some older yet desirable communities might have land-use rules and regulations so that the integrity of the neighborhood is left alone. Others might have historic preservation restrictions that block teardowns or otherwise provide specific rules on what kind of structure can be built on the land.


You’ll need a permit to tear down a house from local officials. Some homeowners do the job without obtaining one, which can lead to hefty fines, fees, and hassles later on. Utilities companies also have to be contacted to shut down water, gas, and electric lines before demolition. Fortunately, your architect can take care of all these permits so you don’t have to.

Teardown Options

Structures can be demolished mechanically or through deconstruction. The first, and most common, uses heavy machinery and hydraulic excavators for a fast and cheap solution. The second takes a lot more time and manpower, since it involves taking down a house piece by piece. Usable materials like doors, windows, floor boards, and pipes can be salvaged and recycled. Though the costs are high, they can be recouped as tax deductions later. Or you can have a little bit of both methods to make the process faster, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.

Contingency Costs

It’s important to set aside some of the budget for the unknown costs that could rise. For example, overlooked asbestos might add to the costs of demolition because it has to be safely removed. Because of this and other possibilities, a contingency budget must exist just in case.

Tearing down a house doesn’t have to be a scary or anxiety-inducing endeavor. Consulting with a great architect right from the beginning will ensure a smoother process along with a high-quality result you can be proud of.


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