A house is normally demolished because it is not safe to continue living in it. It may be derelict due to lack of maintenance, an age over a hundred years old, or have been damaged by fire or storm damage. In towns and cities, where space is at a premium, the fear is that if a house becomes too derelict for people to live in, it will give the surrounding houses a bad image.
What causes a house to be demolished?
There are many reasons why it is considered necessary to demolish a house, even when there are people living in it.
Repairing is Expensive
Some houses are not maintained properly. They may be left damp because the owners cannot afford to make the necessary repairs. Sometimes they are too old to repair, and even if money is spent on them it may be difficult to find skilled people who still know how to do the work.
There are three main reasons why it may be cheaper in the long run to demolish a house and start again. Firstly, it saves money on repair work. Secondly, it allows for an extension or improvement to be made which enables more rooms to be built than is possible in the existing structure. Thirdly, if planning permission can be obtained to build an extra storey, then the upper storey can be sold as a separate flat, which will bring in income to the owner.
House is Declared Unsafe
Sometimes a house is declared to be unsafe by an insurance company or a relevant authority, because its foundations are not strong enough or the building materials used are sub-standard. Sometimes this happens even if the house does not actually collapse. On other occasions, structural alterations make the house unsafe. For example, if part of a wall were cut away to make an extra window, this would alter the weight distribution inside the house and could cause it to collapse. Extensions built without planning permission may also be making a building unsafe. Hurricanes, storms and floods also cause houses to collapse, so the owner may be forced to demolish it even though it is structurally sound.
A New Home Requires A New Land
Home owners might have some emotions with their old house and wouldn’t want to demolish. Building a new home in some other places requires land and purchasing new land is expensive. If a house is located in a confined space and there is no other way to build the home required, then demolition might be the only alternative.
New House Gets Higher Value
Some people demolish their house and build a new one for the reason of increasing the value of the land and getting more profit on their investment.
House Contains Dangerous Materials
House demolition is sometimes the only way to remove dangerous materials safely. Paints, chemicals and asbestos are examples of substances which can cause health problems for people nearby. These materials could be removed if they were all collected together in one place, but this would require too much time and money so the best solution is to demolish the building where they are found and to build a new one elsewhere.
House Is In The Way Of A Road
In some places, no planning permission is required for building a house, but once the building is completed it may then be found that the land needs to be needed for other development. For example, part of a green field might have been used to build a house, but later a motorway or some other major road is built nearby and the house has to be demolished.
House Is In The Way Of A Factory
A similar situation may arise when someone builds a house in an area which is later needed for industry. Another example would be if someone builds a house on land they do not own and later discovers that the owner of the land wants to build a factory or some other commercial development there.
House Is In The Way Of A Flood Plain
Sometimes, rivers and streams can change course slightly during heavy rainstorms. This could make part of a valley where houses are situated become flooded severely by the incoming water. In this case, it might be necessary to demolish a house that has been built on the flood plain of a river if there is no other way of protecting it from flooding.
House Is Uninhabitable
Asbestos, poor wiring and similar problems might make a house uninhabitable. The owner may choose to demolish it rather than make expensive repairs or even renovate.
House Requires An Unusual Size Or Shape
Sometimes it’s necessary to demolish a house and build a new one of an unusual size or shape. One example would be if someone wanted to build something very large such as a theatre, but the land they own is not big enough for this purpose. In this case, they might demolish an existing building and build a new one on the site of the first house.