The Homeowner’s Guide to Demolishing a House

Demolishing a home seems scary at first. After all, you’re tearing down a structure to build something fresh.

No matter why you’ve decided to demolish the old house, you will need to form a clear plan.

First, you need to deconstruct the home by removing anything useful or that needs preserving. Then, you use heavy machinery to destroy the building. Lastly, you haul off any construction waste to a Calgary dump.

Demolition Permit and Fees

In Calgary, you need to follow specific rules to demolish your house legally.

If you are demolishing a house fully or partially, you need to get a demolition permit. However, you will not need a demolition permit to remove a detached residential garage. Interior demolitions need a building permit instead.

Next, you will need to pay a demolition permit fee. The cost is based on the building area in m2 as defined by the Alberta Building Code. The base permit fee also accounts for an administration fee. 

You will get surcharges for the Safety Codes Council Fee, which is based on the base permit fee with a minimum and maximum cap.

Some of the other forms you will need to submit are detailed below. A heritage planner will review your demolition application for approval.


You can’t just start swinging a wrecking ball at your house. First, you must prepare a plan.

Figure out the financial aspects of the demolition. Apart from the costs of machinery, you need to know if you have paid off your house. 

If you owe a mortgage lender or bank money, you have to get their approval before demolishing. The lenders may help cover the machinery, labor, and rebuilding costs.

Next, you need to remove any bulky items you wish to keep or donate, such as fixtures, appliances, decorations, furniture, and personal items. Try to keep appliances and fixtures intact for future use, sale, or donation. Rent a storage unit to keep them safe until you rebuild your home.

Then, you have to shut off the utilities. These include gas, water, and electricity. Make sure none enter your building and that you have capped any open pipes.

In Calgary, you need to get an approved service disconnect request form. You need separate signatures for each utility.

Now, you start renting equipment. First, rent a demolition dumpster to dispose of any debris produced during demolition. Schedule it to arrive when you start tearing down walls and roofs.

Small hand tools you will need include:

  • Shop-vac
  • Pry bar
  • Rotary hammer
  • Voltmeter
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Box cutter
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Sledgehammer
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Stud finder
  • Wire cutters
  • Chisel and putty knife
  • Drywall hook
  • Masonry drill
  • Ratcheting tubing cutter

As far as larger equipment goes, look into a bulldozer and hydraulic excavator. Make sure you have a security fence and ladder as well.

Get safety equipment like a hard hat, work gloves, eye goggles, and a surgical mask to protect you from dust, debris, and dangerous materials like asbestos. 

Many Alberta homes built before the mid-1980s contain asbestos. You need to submit an Asbestos Abatement Form before demolition and receive a professional inspection to determine that there is no asbestos in the building. The professional must remove any asbestos before you can proceed.

Even if you do not have public trees near your home, you have to submit a Public Tree Disclosure Statement with the application. Also, you have to form a tree protection plan for any public trees within six meters of the site.

Hang up a contact information sign for the construction site on the security fence. It needs street visibility. These serve as a public safety measure around your property.

Check the demolition checklist before submitting your applications to ensure you have prepared the property correctly.

Complete the Application

Make a myID account on the Calgary website. Then, you can submit your application online. If you would like, you can also visit the Planning Services Centre to apply in person.

Stay up-to-date on building inspections and manage your application while you wait for the approval.

Hand Deconstruction

You will need to deconstruct the interior before demolishing your house. Once you have removed all personal belongings, fixtures, and appliances, you can tear down the drywall.


Remove any wallpaper with a chisel and putty knife or your hands, depending on how loose it is. Then, mark where any studs are using the stud finder. Cover your floor in plastic sheeting before you get into the drywall.

You will use your sledgehammer, box cutter, pry bar, and drywall hook to knock out the drywall between the stud markings. You may need to climb your ladder to get the high drywall.

While you work, remove any insulation behind the drywall. Ensure you have on a surgical mask, eye goggles, and gloves.

Use the reciprocating saw to remove the studs and a shop-vac to clean up any debris that didn’t make it onto the plastic sheet.

Doors and Floors

A screwdriver can help you loosen door hinges to take away your doors. Then, you can use a hammer to remove the door jamb.

Also, pull out any carpets, tiles, and wood floors throughout your house. Make sure you take these steps one room at a time.

Wires and Pipes

During deconstruction, you will run into some wires and pipes. Try to collect these where possible using your ratcheting tube cutter or reciprocating stall to get scrap metal. You can sell, recycle, or repurpose these later.

Counters and Cabinets

Use a chisel to remove any caulking material on a counter. Then, separate the unit from the wall. Your pry bar can separate the countertop and cabinet.

For cabinets, you’ll want to remove any doors and shelves before separating the unit from the wall.


While you could skip deconstruction and go straight into demolition, you will produce an excessive amount of waste and need to buy more appliances and fixtures. By combining the two, you can save money and protect the environment.

Start by finding a demolition contractor, such as Calgary Demolition Services. They will help you determine the best plan of action while falling within Calgary guidelines. Also, they can arrange for a charity or organization to take the salvageable parts.

Once you acquire the bulldozer and hydraulic excavator, secure the area surrounding your house with a security fence. Then, you can start tearing down the house.

The hydraulic excavator will cave in the roof to prevent the building from toppling over. Then, the excavator will knock down each wall and cave in the floors. Pushing against the structure will keep debris away from you.

The scoop on a hydraulic excavator can pick up and deposit the house debris into the demolition dumpster. A bulldozer can also push debris to a roll-off dumpster, and a wheelbarrow will transfer the trash from the pile to the dumpster.

You can hire a service to take away the dumpster to dispose of your waste.

Lastly, the demolition services will grade and level the land.

House Demolition: What’s Next?

Once you demolish your house, it’s time to start rebuilding. The contractor will prepare the land for your new house to get you started.

By hiring a team like Calgary House Demolition, you can get expert assistance in planning and carrying out your demolition project. We can perform the task safely while using the correct equipment. We will also remove the waste for you.

If you want to deconstruct and demolish your home, consider contacting Calgary House Demolition. We’ve got you covered.

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