Demolish or Deconstruct a Property
Addressing an abandoned, vacant or dilapidated property will help improve your neighborhood’s safety and economic viability. Clearing a site that poses a threat can lower costs of maintaining the property and allow for new, useful construction or more greenspace for your community.
While many municipalities are hesitant to get involved in the demolition of vacant and dilapidated buildings, it has been proven to save the taxpayers money. In the City of Huntington’s amended Home Rule Plan, a calculation of the cost benefit of a demolition plan estimates that by spending $2.2 million dollars to demolish 250 structures, the taxpayers would save $437,500 per year. They anticipate that the surrounding property values would increase by $70 million dollars and the resulting income from property taxes would increase by nearly $1 million dollars a year.
Below you will find referrals to contractors specific to your needs. You might also want to check out the WV Housing Development Fund which recently launched the Property Rescue Initiative to allocate $1 million per year in a revolving loan program.
The West Virginia Code includes sections on demolition. Also visit the WV Department of Environmental Protection for guidelines on asbestos removal and demolition.
On the Road to Reuse: Residential Demolition Bid Specification Development [click to download]
This tool from the US EPA is for cities, counties or land banks undertaking large-scale residential demolitions. It identifies the environmentally-sensitive activities associated with demolishing residential buildings, from pre-planning to demolition to site rehabilitation. It offers decision-making information and bid specification language to help local government officials update their bid specification documents. Use of environmentally beneficial demolition practices can benefit neighborhood stabilization strategies and set the stage for vacant lot revitalization.
On the Road to Reuse Fact Sheet [click to download]
This 2-page document highlights how the On the Road to Reuse tool will benefit communities.
Large-Scale Residential Demolition Resource Directory
Click here for lists of demolition best practices, technical assistance contacts and links to additional information on specific regulatory issues from the US EPA.
General demolition process:
Access to the property to check for hazardous material is usually granted by a local ordinance. Search Warrants can be used to access the property to check on code issues and the testing for hazardous materials.
- Check for hazardous materials
- Contact regulatory agencies if needed
- Bid out the abatement and demolition to qualified contractors (separately or together).
For possible funding resources for your demolition project, refer to our demolition resources page.
Instead of taking a bulldozer to a site, some properties can be carefully deconstructed piece by piece in order to reclaim and reuse or donate the building materials, to divert as much as possible from landfills. This is particularly the case with old houses which have quality wood and tile materials that can be valuable to others. The Coalfield Development Corporation based in Wayne, WV is an organization that has successfully deconstructed dilapidated housing structures. Part of their aim is to build and sell furniture from reclaimed building materials. Their efforts have prevented over 175,000 square feet of building material from entering landfills.
Deconstruction Rapid Assessment Tool [click to download]
So many blighted structures, so little time. This simple checklist from the US EPA enables organizations to rapidly collect data to make informed decisions on which blighted structures to pursue for deconstruction and salvage. Download the tool or click here for more information.
Instructions for Deconstruction Rapid Assessment Tool [click to download]
This document explains the benefits of deconstruction and how to use data collected with the above tool.
Some people who qualify based on their income can also apply for a tax-deductible donation for reusing the materials. The donation deduction often offsets the labor costs, which are usually about 5 percent more than what it costs to demolish a building.
The DEP offers information and instructions for asbestos removal. Click here to learn more and to download brochures.
This site offers tips on how to determine if a property was used to make meth, explains possible contaminants and effects on health, and offers suggestions for how to clean up former meth labs.