10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Demolition Contractor

Construction workers and homeowners often need to remove structures or debris from their worksites. This is when they would seek the aid of a demolition contractor. Demolition contractors provide a clean slate for future worksites. If you are thinking of hiring a licensed demolition contractor, consider asking the following questions first.

Does the potential contractor maintain a current Commercial General Liability policy that includes the wrecking of buildings?

Often, policies exclude contractors from engaging in demolition activities, or limit the demolition activities in which they are an insured. Ask for the insurance agent’s name and number, and request evidence of coverage in the form of a Certificate of Insurance. This document can be faxed to the agent or broker. Check the limits of liability and make sure that they are adequate for the job which is to be contracted.

Who is responsible for obtaining a demolition permit, if required by the municipality or county?

Determine what the local requirements for obtaining a demolition permit are. Inquire with the contractor as to who is responsible for obtaining permit, and maintaining the necessary requirements. Often, cities require permit holders to provide demolition site plans. Ask your potential contractor if they can provide this service according to permit specifications.

Has an asbestos survey been conducted on the property?

The Environmental Protection Agency requires building owners or operator of a demolition or renovation activity thoroughly inspect the potential worksite for the presence of asbestos. It is best to ask for an accredited inspector to perform this survey. If a demolition contractor does not address potential asbestos concerns, consult another contractor.

Is the contractor responsible for disconnection of utilities?

Call and find the utility locator service for you area. It is not only good practice to have gas, water, sewer and electrical utilities contacted and informed of demolition activities, but advance notice is often necessary.

Ask about current licenses.

Ask your potential contractor for a current copy of their demolition license. Check the local Better Business Bureau and ensure that no complaints have been filed regarding their recent work.

Determine where and how debris will be disposed.

Ask your potential contractor what landfill will be accepting the waste generated from your project. Often, demolition companies contract with disposal companies to dispose of waste. Ensure that any subcontractors are licensed waste haulers in your area, and dispose in accordance to your city’s  laws.

Ask your contractor for references.

Consult with at least two prior clients of your potential contractor. You will want to ensure that they have completed previous jobs in satisfactory manner.

Does your quote include all the little details?

Make sure to read the fine print. You will want to be sure that the quote you are provided includes the price of all of the services you need. Does the quote include the removal of debris? How “clean” will the site be left? How will payment be made if the demolition is not in accordance to the contract? Be sure to go over the quote with a fine tooth comb, to make sure nothing has been excluded.

Inquire for the contractor’s credit references.

Ask your potential contractor for at least two credit references. You want to ensure that the contractor pays subcontractors for all duties performed, and in a timely manner. If subcontractors aren’t paid for work performed, the property owner could find themselves with a lien on their property and potential legal troubles.

Cover your bases as a property owner.

Be sure that the legal right to demolish or remove structures on your property has been established. Often, mortgage companies and banks have clauses which immediately call on a loan if a property has been intentionally demolished. If a property has been ordered for demolition by your local government, obtain the order from the code compliance office. If the structure has lost integrity due to fire, disaster, etc, obtain the appropriate records from any involved insurance companies.

It is important to make sure that all of your questions be answered by your potential demolition contractor. If you need any more advice, please consult with our team anytime!