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Demolition of Historic Buildings

While some old buildings can become a financial burden, many have historical significance well worth preserving. If a building is registered by the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), then professional demolition work requires permission from the local authorities. One can only request to demolish a historic building or structure if the property poses a threat to public safety.

For instance, if the building contains asbestos or is a fire hazard, then demolishing it can be in the public’s best interest. Sometimes, building demolition can increase the value of other properties within the area, for example, if a neighbourhood or street has an old decaying building, it can be an eyesore or a safety hazard that turns off potential buyers.

Out-houses or residential building demolition can prove to be very beneficial to investment developers if they’re considering turning land into a garden space or a new development. If you can show the authorities you’re converting space into a community project, it’s more likely to receive planning permission.

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Downsides of Demolishing Historic Buildings

For a property to be historical, it must have significance for several decades. Demolishing the building causes the loss of this historical relevance and destroys the heritage that the building preserves.

Historic building demolition means a loss of history, whilst restoring delivers the potential for buildings to become museums or local attractions bringing tourists to an area, demolition doesn’t offer the same incentive.

Demolishing a historic property can also be a lengthy process due to opposition from preservation groups and local authorities.

When is it Appropriate to Demolish Historic Buildings?

When a building ages, materials deteriorate which can make the overall structure weak. While the property may still look attractive, the fragile structure may not meet the regulation standards. Some of the signs a building is becoming too old can be extensive plumbing issues or poor ventilation.

It can be cost-effective to demolish a building, or structure, then rebuild again rather than remodelling or renovating. An abandoned historic building can accumulate toxic materials or become a home for pests. In such instances, demolition work is the best option to remove all harmful substances in pipes and floors.

Even if the building still looks habitable, a faulty foundation can make the property a safety hazard.

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Shopping Centre Demolition

Historic Buildings Demolition Process

When a building’s life span ends it can be deemed a safety hazard, so demolishing it can be a beneficial process. Before any work starts, the appointed demolition contractor must conduct a structural survey and acquire the relevant permissions from local authorities. This survey determines construction materials, as well as hazardous substances in the building, drainage conditions, and shared facilities.

Demolition companies must also assess the level of pollution that the work will cause. Neighbourhoods can be sensitive to dust, noise and vibration caused by the demolition process.

Structural surveys will reveal the methods of construction, structural systems like underground tanks or vaults, and the general condition of the building. If the historic building contains asbestos, petroleum contamination or radioactive substances, the contractor must remove them before any doing any demolition work.

A building survey before demolition also determines the distance of adjacent buildings and helps contractors create a sequence of dismantling. After the survey, the hazards specialists will remove the toxic substances, and the contractor can brief workers on potential hazards and safety measures. Regardless of whether the demolition company chooses to use explosive or non-explosive methods for residential demolition, they still need to control pollution levels.


Before finding a demolition contractor, you should check if the building has historical significance with the relevant historic preservation communities. Getting approval to demolish landmark buildings can be a drawn out process.

You may also need special planning permission and specific requirements to destroy a landmark building. The National Register of Historic Places can help you determine the historical value of an old building.

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We are here to help

When you are next researching for a quality and competitive demolition company for whatever construction project, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team, we offer a free quote and site survey.

Call us today on 01322920 053 to get a quote for your next demolition project.

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