The Knock Down And Rebuild Process In Perth | A Step-By-Step Guide

Through purchase, inheritance, or something else, you may have acquired a nice plot where you want to build your dream house. It’s perfect–quiet neighbourhood, great landscapes, fresh air and nearby conveniences. The only thing you need to do is to get rid of the old house sitting on the property.

The process of knocking down and rebuilding in Perth includes getting your home approved for demolition and working with a building company to organise a home design, demolition team and construction crew for the new home. 

Before calling in a demolition team to have the house removed, you need to follow some steps in order to do the knock down safely, properly, efficiently, and legally. It’s the same thing with constructing your new home. 

Let’s learn the step-by-step process of demolish and build projects with this comprehensive article.

How Does A Knock Down Rebuild Work?

A knock down rebuild process involved demolishing an existing home or building so that a new one can be built on a clean slate. This is often a cost-effective method when an existing building requires a lot of work to renovate or has structural issues.

A knock down rebuild is the systematic dismantling or destruction of an existing structure in a property so that a new one can be constructed. The demolition service will most likely be a big, one-time investment. However, it could pave the way for a better investment that can increase in value or generate income in the long term.

Because of the complex–and often dangerous–nature of the job, you need a licensed and insured demolition specialist to do the task for you; they have a trained team and the proper equipment to do the task effectively, efficiently, and safely.

The demolition will also affect the homes in the neighbourhood, utilities that are installed in the area, or the natural ecosystem in the area. That’s why it’s essential to acquire the necessary demolition permits. If you’re working with a knockdown and rebuild specialist builder, they can assist with getting the required permits, as they are knowledgeable in council regulations.

How Long Does It Take To Do A Knock Down Rebuild In Perth?

The average knock down rebuild process in Perth can take anywhere between eight to sixteen months. The length of a knock down rebuild will depend on the accessibility of the property and building materials, weather and worker availability. 

Demolishing a home on an existing plot usually takes four to eight days for simple structures. Of course, this depends on the complexity and quality of the structure to be knocked down, as larger structures like apartment buildings can take over ten days.

However, the assessment of the area and structure, the application for the necessary permits, and waiting for the permits to be approved by the council takes a bit longer before demolition can begin; often, that’s around two to five weeks.

After the demolition, the actual construction of a brand-new home can begin. This takes up the bulk of the time in a knock-down rebuild process.

1. Site Assessment

Before anything else, the structure to be demolished and the site itself needs to be assessed. Site assessment is done to gain accurate and complete information, primarily to assess if the knock-down and rebuild processes pose a risk to human health, the community, and the environment surrounding the site. Assessment is also used to determine land boundaries and land use.

Assessors also need to gather information about the structure to be demolished. The data is used so the demolition company can determine the safest measures, the most time–and effort–efficient methods, the most cost-effective ways, and the right equipment for the job.

A site assessment needs to be undertaken using procedures that comply with current WA legislation, guidelines, and industry standards. This assessment process also determines if there are corrective actions needed to manage the risks related to the knock-down and rebuild processes.

2. Designing Your New Home

While the assessment is being done, you might want to tinker with the design of your future home. While a good designer can help you with your house design, it’s often highly recommended that you have a clear idea of what your house would look like. How big do you want your new home to be? How many rooms? What are the functionalities of each room? What features do you want to incorporate?

Look for great home design inspirations on various architectural or home-improvement websites and magazines. Visit a real estate listing website and see if you can find properties that match your design preferences. Take screenshots of those images and keep them in a file.

If you have a good idea of the home design you want, you can convey your preference to your designer, and you’re more likely to end up with the result you dream about. 

Unless you are an architect yourself, it’s absolutely recommended that you leave all the technical design to the professionals. As experts, they know the proper dimensions, logical placement of utilities, and stress tolerances of your residential structure. They are also knowledgeable about local regulations, guidelines, and legal requirements regarding building a house.

If you have the vision, your designer and builder can provide the practical knowledge required to shape the finished house plan. 

3. Arrange For Demolition

Before you can build your brand-new dream home, you need to knock down the old, existing structure. The complexity and the potential danger involved in this process may require prior arrangement to ensure the demolition is done in a safe, effective, and efficient way. Several steps are needed before the actual demolition can begin.

• You should have an approved demolition permit. This could take 20 working days.
• To process your demolition permit, you need to produce council-approved documents. Which documents you will need can differ since not all properties or councils are the same.
• You need to request a disconnection of utilities such as electricity, gas, or water associated with the property.
• You need to be working with a demolish-and-build expert to plan and oversee the project. A good example is Central Avenue Homes, a Perth builder specialising in knockdown and rebuild projects. 

4. Planning Application For Demolition

An approved planning application is required before the actual demolition. To apply for demolition, you need to produce council-approved documents. These documents can differ, since not all properties or councils are the same. However, there are three must-have forms, irrespective of property or council:

• A building permit
• A copy of the property’s title
• A subdivision plan, otherwise known as a title plan
• The site plan of the existing building and property. This plan should include measurements of the property boundary.
• A demolition license. Your demolition provider has this.

You may also need other permits, such as:

• A planning permit if the project is within a special overlay like a heritage site or a site that features significant landscape
• A tree removal permit, depending on the type and size of the tree and if it’s in a significant heritage or landscape overlay
• An asset protection permit. This is needed to protect your crossover or footpath
• A temporary fencing permit to contain the debris and prevent it from crossing over to adjacent properties
• An asbestos removal permit if asbestos is found in the existing structure during the assessment
• A written consent and a report if the demolition project is close to the street frontage
• Protection work notices to be given to adjoining property owners if the demolition is done on the property boundary

Construction and demolition specialists like Central Avenue Homes will help you through the paperwork and assist you in getting the required permits.

5. Get Your Home Ready for Demolition

Your demolition permit is now approved. You have contracted a reliable demolition services provider. You complied with the demolition guidelines. It’s now time to knock down the old house, erase the past, and start building your dream home.

Disconnect Utilities

You need to disconnect existing utilities in the old structure, such as water, gas, electric power, phone lines, Internet line, cable TV, and more. Each service provider has its own process and fees for disconnection.

It’s very important to have the utilities permanently disconnected or abolished rather than just simply disconnected. No demolition can begin with these utilities still in place or functioning.

Site Preparation

Old, abandoned homes may have become the home of pests, such as cockroaches and rodents. You need to get rid of these pests first, and baiting, or extermination, is the key.

Rodent baiting prevents these pests from scattering and running all over the place once demolition starts. Otherwise, they will nest somewhere else, often a neighbour’s home, which creates a much bigger problem. Baiting also protects everyone on the site, considering that rodents carry many diseases.

Many councils require evidence of baiting before they approve your demolition, even if there’s no apparent evidence of rodents.

Besides rodent baiting, old septic tanks must be located and drained before demolition. These abandoned septic tanks pose a hazard so much so that proper guidelines and regulations are now put in place should a property be abandoned. This is especially true if the tank is determined to be made of iron, which could rust, corrode, and cave in at any time.

Your contractor will help you locate the old septic tank. He also knows the best and safest way to drain and abandon the septic tank, whether to excavate it, crush it, or fill it with aggregate.

Moving Out

If there is anything like furniture and appliances in your house, you need to move them out before knocking down the structure. A house mover can help you remove the items. There are also rentable storage spaces and warehouses where you can keep these old items for a fee until you’re ready to move them back into your home.

If you don’t want these items anymore, you need to get rid of them. Don’t leave the items on the property as debris, or this creates more hassle for your demolition company. Instead, ensure everything is prepared and removed from the property ready for demolition to begin.

6. Demolition Permit Application

Before any demolition takes place, you need to have an approved demolition permit. Your construction contractor can help you with the process, or they can do this task for you. Here’s a summary of the process:

• As the property owner, you arrange with a demolition contractor.
• You or the contractor ensures that all requirements for demolition are met.
• You or the contractor submits these forms and requirements to the council for approval.
• The council goes through the application. If all requirements are satisfied, they will issue an approved demolition permit.
• Demolition can now begin. The contractor must adhere to legal demolition standards, guidelines, and other local government requirements.
• You or the contractor submits a notice of completion within seven days of the demolition.

Applying For Demolition Permits In WA

To apply for a demolition permit in WA and ensure the chances of approval, you need to know the following information:

• Property street address
• Site area
• Floor area of the structure to be demolished
• Type of demolition
• Description of demolition work
BCA Class (set out in the Building Code of Australia). The most common residential classes are Class 1a for houses, row houses, villas and Class 10a for garages, carports, sheds.
• Occupancy permit number of the structure
• Number of structures to be knocked down
• Number of floors in the highest structure
• Estimated contract price of the demolition work
• Your details
• Demolition contractor details
• Applicant details

You also need to fill out a demolition permit application (BA5). There may be a few other documents that should accompany the demolition permit application, such as, but not limited to:

• Heritage notification, if the site is within a heritage overlay
• Landscape notification, if the site is within a landscape overlay
• Occupational health and safety notifications
• Utility notification
• Rodent baiting notification
• Copies of final plans and specifications of the demolition
• Evidence of payment of BCITF (CTF) levy
• Building services levy official receipt
• Building permit fee official receipt
• Other permissions as prescribed by the local government and other authorities

After the demolition is done, you need to submit a notice of completion (BA7) within seven days after demolition work.

Permit Authority Approval

The permit authority carefully reviews the demolition application. Usually, the timeframe is within 10 to 25 days, depending on the structure, under the Building Act 2011. Note that if your application is incomplete or has discrepancies, the permit authority has the right to reject your application. Your application fee may not be refunded back to you.

A permit authority is often the local government that has responsibility for the area in which a building or structure is built or demolished.

The permit authority has the following responsibilities:

• Makes sure that applications and statutory requirements are complete and in order
• Approves a permit or certificate if the application complies with the Building Codes of Australia and other pertinent legislation and standards
• Issues listing conditions, tests, and inspections where applicable
• Maintains building records
• Enforces regulations with non-compliant buildings and incidental structures

7. Existing Home Demolition

Home demolition involves tearing down an existing house, whether partial or total demolition. Knocking down the structure can be done with sledgehammers and some elbow grease. However, the work becomes faster if heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators, and cranes are used. Your demolition contractor would know what method is best used in your case.

Houses are demolished for a variety of reasons, some of which include:

• The house is old, and constant repairs or maintenance proves to be too expensive.
• The cost of repairs is vastly higher than the value of the existing house.
• Your house is declared unsafe for living due to a severe state of disrepair.
• The house is infested with pests.
• The existing house has “bad memories.”
• You want to use the land occupied by the existing house.
• You want to build the home of your dreams.

Demolition Materials Removal

Waste materials are produced during and after demolition. You might be surprised at the massive amount of rubble generated during the process.

As the lot owner, it’s imperative that you manage this rubble properly for the health and safety of everyone nearby. The simplest thing is to put the rubble in one designated place so it won’t get in the way.

Once the demolition is finished, it’s important to get rid of the rubble. You can do this in several ways:

• Give it to a construction and demolition waste facility.
• Let a professional junk hauling company take away the rubble
• Use it as filling material.
• Give it away to neighbours who need filling material.
• Donate it to ongoing local construction.

Your demolition service provider will let you know the proper way to dispose of rubble. Note that illegal dumping of construction or demolition waste can cause large fines and even jail time.

How Long Does House Demolition Take In WA?

The actual demolition is usually quick; it’s the process of assessment and council approval that takes quite some time. After the rodents are baited, the septic tank sealed, the stuff moved out, and the house is vacant, it usually takes around 6 to 8 weeks for the house to be completely demolished.

8. Building Your New Home

The old house is demolished, and the rubble is cleared. Now it’s time to build your dream home. Before construction begins, however, you need to do a few more things:

Building Permits In WA

The first thing to do is to apply for a building permit prior to any construction work. Specifically, you need to fill and complete anbegin. uncertified building permit application (BA2) for residential dwellings and incidental structures. The application takes around 25 business days to get approved after lodging.

As part of the BA2 approval process, a building surveyor from your local government goes to the site to conduct a technical assessment. He will also issue the Certificate of Design Compliance in addition to the building permit itself.

Once your house is complete, you need to submit a notice of completion within seven days after the construction of the house is finished.

Click here for more information about WA building permits, licenses, and approvals.

A licensed builder such as Central Avenue Homes can help guide you through the application process.

Building Process In WA

Your BA2 is approved. Your applications for water, gas, and electricity are all approved. You have a contract with your home construction service provider. Everything is ready, and it’s actually time to start the construction of your dream home!

Constructing a home is one of the most exciting moments in your life. Your heart beats in anticipation as your dream home–the abode where you’ll live happily with your family–takes shape.

Unless you’re an architect, engineer, carpenter, or home builder, the construction of a home is a very complex undertaking. However, it can be broken up into a few main stages.

Base Preparation – This is the phase where the land is prepared for building. Earthworks are done to remove topsoil, trees, vegetation, and other existing structures. Excavation is done for trenches and the foundation. Retaining walls or slabs may be built to prevent cave-ins.

Frames – After the earthworks and foundations are laid down, the frames and roof trusses–the framework of your house–are installed. It’s at this stage where you can actually see the size of your dream house. You’ll also have an exact idea of the size of the rooms inside the house.

Brickwork, Floorwork, and Roofing – During this stage, walls, roofs, and floors and everything related to them (e.g. insulation, tiling, waterproofing) are installed. Rough-ins such as electrical wires and plumbing are also put in place.

Lockup – The lockup stage is when the doors and windows of your home are installed. That means your new home can now be locked up. It’s not advisable to put appliances and fittings during this stage to avoid theft.

Prime Cost – Bathtubs, mirrors, taps, vanities, and other accessories and fittings are installed during this stage. Decorative lights are also installed.

Fixings – Your home is practically complete during this stage. You and the contractor inspect the home to make sure everything is going according to plan. You may point out things that may need attention.

Completion and Handover – If everything is perfect and according to plan, your new dream home is deemed completed and formally handed over. Handover should only be done once you are satisfied with all the required construction as per agreed-upon plans.

The construction of a new home takes around 44 to 48 weeks, but because every construction project is different, this number can vary.

Can I Knock Down And Rebuild With A Pool?

Yes, you can knock down existing structures and keep the old pool. Alternatively, you can have a new pool built. However, installing a pool adds more complexity to the project and is subject to more regulations. The addition of a pool will affect your house plans and will most probably affect the cost of slab or foundation design.

According to Australian Standards, the pool should be at least 1.8 metres from your home to ensure a safe workplace. In addition, you also need to install a hard pool cover before starting the construction.

How Will A Knockdown And Rebuild Affect My Neighbours?

The sound and sight of a demolition or rebuilding project will affect your community in one way or another. That’s why it’s important to let neighbours know about your project beforehand. You’re less prone to dealing with complaints if the community is informed.

Make sure any construction or demolition activities are contained only within your property. It’s highly recommended that you fence off your site to avoid damaging your neighbours’ properties.

Finally, make sure you follow standard building regulations as stated in Perth’s building codes (R-codes). Structures that are higher than stipulated in the code, for example, can block views and cause problems with both neighbours and the local council. 

Disclaimer: This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. It does not take into consideration your individual circumstances and does not constitute an estimate for any specific project. Central Avenue Homes does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Construction costs and other financial details vary and you should always seek a specific quote.

Greg Grainger

Greg has over 40 years of experience in the WA building industry starting as a carpenter joiner.

He is entrenched in the local industry and has served on the board for MBAWA (Master Builders Australia WA) for over 10 years and was a founding director of Wesbuilders Cooperative for over 11 years.

With this experience he is able to quote accurately on new projects without the huge increase to provisional sum allowances.

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