London Demolition Contractors
Tel: 020 8941 9909

Building Demolition Process

The building demolition process. A quick checklist

The building demolition process can involve a lot of paperwork and procedure.

Thames Demolition guides clients through the whole process,  taking care of the paperwork and stress of planning their demolition project whether it’s house demolition or a commercial/industrial job.

However, if you have purchased a small residential or commercial property and are planning to demolish or part demolish the existing structure we have put together a few pointers that any professional demolition company would want you to consider before beginning your project.

Two big questions you need to be concerned with when planning are:-

  1. What Local Authority Permissions do I need for house or building demolition?
  2. What General Documentation is required when knocking down or clearance of  a house or building?

Local Authority & Building demolition

Is planning permission required for demolition?

The Application for Prior Notification of Proposed Demolition form should be used for proposals to demolish a building or structure.

Demolition of a building is generally not classed as ‘development’ and therefore planning permission is not usually needed. However, the demolition of certain buildings will need approval from the local planning authority beforehand.

Is a section 80 demolition notice required

Demolition Notice under Sections 80 to 83 of the Building Act 1984

Notifying the Council of demolition under Sections 80 to 83 of the Building Act 1984

When to notify the council under Section 80

If you are planning to carry out demolition work greater than 50m3 in volume (some exemptions apply) you will need to notify the council before you start under Section 80 of the Building Act 1984 (the Act). This volume is approximately the size of a two storey residential rear extension. An application form is provided in the Form section below which should be filled out and submitted to the council at least six weeks before the work is due to start. Demolition works should not commence until either the six weeks have elapsed or a Notice is served by the council under Section 81 of the Act.

What is the relevant legislation?

The controls for demolition work are given under Section 80 – 83 of the Act which may be found here: Building Act 1984 (link opens in new window). Your notification should include all of the information stipulated in Section 80. Specifically, the following details under point 3 of the act are required:

(3) A notice under subsection (2) above shall specify the building to which it relates and the works of demolition intended to be carried out, and it is the duty of a person giving such a notice to a local authority to send or give a copy of it to:

(i) the occupier of any building adjacent to the building,

(ii) any public gas supplier in whose authorised area the building is situated

(iii) the public electricity supplier in whose authorised area the building is situated and any other person authorised by a licence under that part to supply electricity to the building

Notice from the council

Following receipt of a Section 80 notice, the council will issue a counter notice under Section 81 of the Building Control Act 1984 which will detail various conditions which are intended to ensure that the work is carried out safely.

Demolition should not commence unless:

(i) the council has given a notice under Section 81; or,

(ii) six weeks has elapsed since the Section 80 notice was made to the council

Other permissions

It should be noted that you may also need permission under the Town and Country Planning Acts for your scheme. You should be aware that if the building is listed, or in a conservation area, special consent may be needed for any demolition work proposed, even where notice is not needed under Section 80 of the Building Act 1984.

Hording license required to seal off the boundary of the site

If you wish to erect hoarding on any part of the highway (public road) you must apply for a hoarding permit with your local council.

Do you require a scaffold license as part of the demolition

If you wish to erect scaffolding on any part of the highway (public road) you must apply for a scaffolding permit. This may be required if part of the building to be dismantled is very close to a public area. The scaffold will act as a screen / safety net against dust and debris falling outside of the property boundaries.

Access and egress for machines and skips

When you apply for a crossover, technical officers from the council’s Highways and Engineering Division will inspect the site and make the necessary measurements. The council has a responsibility under the 1980 Highways Act to maintain the safe and free flow of traffic on the highway and in certain circumstances a crossover will not be permitted.

An enquiry is sent to all the utility companies (gas, telephone, water, electricity, etc.) that are responsible for the pipes and cables in the footway where the crossover is to be built to find out whether any alterations will be necessary. It takes the utility companies an average of six weeks to reply with an estimate of the cost of any alterations.

If access and egress is not readily available between the site and the road then alternative approach will need to be considered. There are a varity of equipment and methods available, just because your preferred option is not feasible doesn’t mean it can’t be achieved. For H&S reasons, speed and cost effective a demolition contractor will always try and use a piece of plant or machinery over a manual method. Just because a large piece of equipment can’t be used doesn’t mean the same results can’t be achieved with a combination of smaller plant and a more manual approach.

Checklist and documentation

The Condition Survey

The Condition Survey is a survey of the surrounding area  i.e. Footpaths, roads, general perimeter. This can be undertaken by yourself who is basically taking photos of the area and especially any damage areas such as cracked paving slabs. Then put the photos along with a short description to accompany the photo into a document. These will safe guard you against any unwanted claims for existing damaged areas.

Party wall award

A party wall surveyor may be required if working close to a neighbouring boundary. These will safe guard you against any unwanted claims.

Check Contractor Insurance

Check that your demolition contractor is adequately insured

Proof of contractor training and experience

Ask your contractor about the experience and training they have undertaken as an inexperienced contractor could cost you dearly in the event that they made a mistake.

Service isolation

Prior to a full demolition it is important that all of the services have been isolated by qualified tradesmen with an isolation certification issued for the works. If the services have to be removed completely by the service provider then start this early as it can sometimes take quite a while to arrange. If your development requires a site temporary electrical or water supply then a relocation fee maybe more cost effective.

Will the replacement building require hardcore

If the development is likely to require hardcore for a base or hard standing then it is quite often more cost effective to crush the bricks and concrete arising’s on site. This can sometimes save a lot of money instead of paying to remove the hardcore and then pay to import a similar material

Temporary Works

If the building has a basement, adjoining building or undergoing only part demolition then temporary propping and support works maybe required. This is known as Temporary works and quite often requires an engineer’s design and calculations.

Home Counties

  • Surrey
  • Middlesex
  • Essex
  • Berkshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Hertfordshire

Demolition services

  • South London
  • West London
  • North London
  • East London


  • Long reach
  • Soft Strip
  • Asbestos Removal
  • Floor by Floor demolition


  • Tower Blocks
  • Schools
  • Industrial
  • Private Homes
  • Difficult / Restricted Access
  • Private Developers & Architects

Contact Details

London Demolition Contractors
6 Lysander Gardens, Ewell Road

Telephone: 020 8941 9909