How to demolish a house with a party wall
While most demolition orders are for single-family homes, there are times when owners of semi-detached homes decide to have their homes demolished or have this decision imposed on them. This type of demolition project is obviously more complex to carry out because, by definition, a semi-detached house has at least one party wall, or shared wall.
In this article, our demolition and excavation experts tell you what you need to know before demolishing a house with a party wall and how to do it.
Regulation concerning the demolition of a house with a party wall
As with demolition of buildings in general, there are regulations governing the demolition of homes with a party wall. Here are some important points.
You need your neighbour’s approval to demolish a house with a party wall
Above all, a semi-detached property shares a wall with its neighbour. To be even more precise, a house is considered to be semi-detached if the owner of the house and their neighbour have co-ownership on a property that separates the two buildings. Most of the time, the property that belongs to both individuals is what is called the party wall.
Under the tenancy in common rules, co-owners of a party wall must manage it together. Neighbours holding undivided co-ownership in two equal shares of a party wall have to make decisions by a “majority in number and shares of the co-owners”. It is therefore necessary to have the neighbour’s approval before you demolish a house unless the work will in no way affect the party wall.
To obtain the neighbour’s approval, you should ideally inform them of the project verbally and in writing by sending a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. If the neighbour does not object to the demolition project, you should then produce a document listing all the work to be done to avoid future disagreements.
In case of disagreement with the neighbour, do not to proceed with the demolition work. Instead, turn to the courts to have the dispute settled.
Do you need a permit before you demolish a house with a party wall?
A municipality may want control over the demolition of buildings on its territory for a variety of reasons (housing scarcity, heritage protection, to frame and order the reuse of cleared land, etc.).
The partial or total demolition of a house, whether semi-detached or not, should therefore only be carried out after receiving authorization from the municipal administration. The document that attests to the right to demolish a building is called a demolition permit.
Generally, a committee of three City Council members is responsible for deciding on applications for demolition permits. This committee may require monetary security to guarantee compliance with certain conditions before a demolition permit is issued.
Why contact professionals to demolish a house with a party wall?
Demolishing a house is no easy task! Not only is demolition work dangerous for the people involved, but it also puts nearby buildings at risk. It can also have consequences on the party wall in the case of a semi-detached house. This is why you should assign this task to a residential demolition service.
In Quebec, companies that offer controlled building demolition services have the necessary skills to implement the environmental and safety measures imposed by law. They also have the equipment required for a wide variety of demolition work and can guarantee that the land on which the house is located will suffer the least amount of damage.
How much does it cost to demolish a house with a party wall?
There are many factors that can influence the cost of demolishing a semi-detached house, so it is difficult to estimate a price without having specific information on hand.
The price will generally depend on the surface area to be demolished. The building’s materials and the complexity of the work can also cause the owner’s bill to fluctuate. If the house is located on a lot that is difficult to access or in remote areas, there are usually extra costs for machinery transportation.
The cost of managing the building waste disposal resulting from the demolition also has to be factored in. This can be expensive, especially if the waste contains traces of materials considered hazardous, such as asbestos.
Therefore, before choosing a demolition company in Montréal or elsewhere in Quebec, get several quotes and compare prices.
Excavation Chanthier: experts in semi-detached house demolition
In short, demolishing a house with a party wall first involves approaching the neighbours and municipal administration. Once the project has been approved, make sure that the mandate is given to professionals who will strictly adhere to the authorities’ requirements.