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Are you confused about what you need in order to start a demolition project? In most cases, you’re going to need a demolition permit.

It’s best to find out before starting the project whether the permit is something you’ll need to obtain. Fortunately, this article covers everything you need to know about required permits for demolition.

Let’s get started with knowing what this permit is in the first place… 

What is a demolition permit?

It is a legal document that provides you with the right to demolish any structure that requires a building permit to construct. But just because a building permit was not acquired before construction does not mean you don’t need a demolition permit. If the structure was improperly built without obtaining a permit, you still have to get a permit to demolish it.

If you’re working on more than one structure, you have to get a separate demolition permit for each one that requires demolition. A shed and detached garage on the same property, for instance, each requires its own demolition permit. So in that case, you would need demolition permits.

Depending on the area where you will be doing the demolition, various code provisions will specify permit requirements and the review process.

When exactly do you need a demolition permit?

You need a demolition when:

  • A primary structure or structures will be razed or removed from a lot.
  • Any accessory structures with utility systems, mechanical systems, hazardous materials, or a basement-type foundation will be raised or removed from a lot.
  • A building that is having an additional renovation requires a substantial amount of demolition. 

Special considerations

Smaller residential structures that include four or fewer dwelling units typically require additional measures, including specific site control measures and potentially added inspections. You’ll also need an erosion control inspection for each permit you are issued. You will also need a tree preservation inspection prior to any demolition work if you are preserving trees on the site.

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What are the requirements of getting a demolition permit?

In order to obtain a demolition permit you will need:

  • A completed permit application.
  • For many demolition projects, a grading plan is submitted and approved.
  • A successfully completed and inspected plumbing permit.
  • Depending on the municipality, a cash demolition escrow bond may be required to ensure the safe, sanitary, and secure completion of the demolition work. This bond is typically refundable at the end of demolition.