How much does it cost to demolish a house?

The cost to demolish a house in will usually range from $12,000 to $40,000, though the average cost is about 16K. There are a range of considerations which might influence the price, but as a standard rule anything which will lengthen/complicate the demolition process (e.g. large size, limited accessibility, difficult or dangerous materials) will drive the price higher.

Demolition in Australia

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How much does it cost to knock down a house in Australia? Again, the average house will cost around 16K to demolish, though it may range from 12-30 thousand AUD. The price range will depend on the job itself, as demolition is a complicated process with many steps. Demolishing a house is usually done with heavy-duty machinery (although in some cases it can be done by hand) such as bulldozers. Demolition requires a permit and generally will be completed by licensed contractors – this is certainly not a project that can be DIY.

A house can be partially or completely demolished according to the homeowner’s wishes. Partial demolition is generally for renovation purposes and involves demolishing one small area within the whole house before a rebuild. It is usually less expensive than total demolition, where the entire building is completely destroyed. This is usually the option taken by those with older houses / weakening foundations, or property investors looking to build and resell.

Another reason why someone might turn to demolition is that the cost of renovations or maintenance has risen too high and removing a house altogether/rebuilding will actually cost less overall. Houses which have been constructed from hazardous materials such as asbestos need to be totally demolished by specialist contractors.

demolition demolish equipment destruction house


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The process of demolishing a house takes around 2 months from start to finish. The same factors that increase the price of demolition will influence the total time taken. Demolition can be undertaken in a variety of ways – such as implosion, wrecking ball, selectively or using an excavator.

There are many factors to consider before making decisions about demolition. The most obvious of these is obtaining a demolition permit. It will vary by state, but generally in order to get official demolition approval you will want to make sure that your site does not have any heritage boundaries or otherwise culturally significant reasons to prevent demolition. The permit will cost a fee and is likely to take a few weeks to be approved. You will need to lodge forms and consult with a private certifier. Once you have your council approved permit, it will be time to choose a contractor.

You will want to find a company with proven experience, up-to date equipment, and all of the appropriate licenses for your job (i.e. whether you need specialists or not). Consider also if some of the materials in your building can be recycled, and make sure that your electricity/water supply has been disconnected well before the demolition begins. All of this will likely be explained by your contractor, so make sure you find the right one for your project.

House demolition cost calculation:

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A house demolition cost estimate must take into account the cost of the permit, the contractor, and the disposal of the debris. An asbestos house demolition cost will be significantly higher as the contractors will need to be specialists in handling hazardous materials.

Demolition cost will vary by state and city, as contractor availability and the accessibility of a building is likely to be drastically different depending on the geographical context.

Here is a rough guide to current price trends in major Australian cities for demolition. All estimates are taken per square metre of regular brick vs wooden-frame homes, and they do not factor in additional costs such as debris removal or permits.


Brick House Demolition ($/SQM)

Wooden Frame House Demolition ($/SQM)



















Factors influencing demolition cost


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Building size is one of the main demolition cost determiners – both of the building to be demolished and of the space needed for the rebuild. The larger the building, the higher the cost, especially if your contractors charge per square metre. The size of the building will also determine the demolition method and equipment necessary, as larger buildings require more machinery and manpower. Multiple story buildings will be more expensive to remove, as will any additional structures such as sheds or carports. Larger buildings will also cost more in terms of debris removal, as there is more waste product which will need transportation.


demolition demolish equipment destruction house

The general surrounding area of the building to be demolished will have an impact on the overall price of demolition. Your contractor might decide to charge additional fees for travel/transportation of equipment, as well as the distance to waste facilities.

Another aspect is the physical difficulty that contractors might have reaching your home; is there space on-site to keep the equipment throughout the day? Is your house on a busy street? Are the neighboring buildings extremely close to yours? These questions can all influence the end price – it is probably a good idea to speak with your contractor regarding these issues before obtaining a quote, so there are no surprises during the process.

3.Materials (general)

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The type of material that the house is built from will determine which tools must be used for the demolition, thus impacting the price. As seen in the chart above, houses with wooden frames are significantly cheaper than houses build from stronger materials such as brick or concrete. These houses will require more intensive equipment such as a bulldozer or in some cases even a wrecking ball. They will also be more difficult to transport and dispose of. On the other hand, recyclable materials may reduce the overall cost of demolition as they can be sold and put back to use (e.g. reclaimed timber).

4.Materials (hazardous)

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As stated earlier, houses made of dangerous materials such as asbestos will cost significantly more to demolish as they require specialist contractors to undertake and oversee the destruction/debris removal. It costs approximately three times as much to dispose of contaminated materials than it does to dispose of timber or brick. This leaves the average demolition cost for an asbestos house in the range of $20-30 thousand dollars.


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Pests such as insects and rodents are a huge consideration for demolition projects and most houses will need to be thoroughly cleaned / baited for rats for weeks before the demolition. This is because if the house is demolished with living pests inside, those pests will likely flee to neighboring buildings. Construction cannot continue if pests are found in excess on the premises, which will halt the demolition process, causing two additional financial strains on the project; the cost of delayed work and the cost of an exterminator.