A Guide to Demolition Success: The Surveys, Assessments and Documentation Required for All Demolition Projects

The Importance of Working with a Knowledgeable Demolition Contractor for a Successful Demolition Project

Embarking on a demolition project can be a complex and challenging task for any company.

Before getting started, you will need to consider various factors such as your legal requirements, site specific challenges as well as environmental considerations. It is therefore important that you conduct thorough site surveys, obtain any necessary permits and ensure compliance with any required regulations.

To be clear, a well planned demolition project can lead to smoother project execution, reduced risks and successful outcomes. For more guidance on this, read our blog ‘Our key steps to ensuring a successful demolition project’, or simply read on.

In this blog, we summarise the key steps you will need to consider before embarking on a successful demolition project:


  1. The Section 80 Demolition Notice:

The Section 80 Demolition Notice is a crucial step in any demolition project. It is also known as the Notice of Intended Demolition and is required by the 1984 Building Act. The person responsible for the demolition must complete this notice if they plan to demolish a part or whole building.

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The notice must be submitted to the Local Authority six weeks before the intended demolition date. The Local Authority then has six weeks to respond with appropriate notices and consultation. If no response is received within this time frame, the demolition can proceed.

If a Counter-Notice is received from the Local Authority, the demolition work must be suspended until certain requirements are met. These include shoring up adjacent buildings, weatherproofing surfaces, repairing any damage, removing debris, and disconnecting utilities.

We have written a full blog on the Section 80 Demolition Notice for further information


  1. Surveys, Service Isolations & Site Segregation:

Before any demolition project can begin, there are 3 steps that must be completed that will help to highlight any crucial health and safety issues on the planned site of demolition.

-Refurbishment & Demolition Survey

The first step is the Refurbishment & Demolition Survey which must be undertaken when there are plans to upgrade, refurbish or demolish a whole or partial site. These surveys are designed to help determine whether any asbestos containing materials may be present on site. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends working with a UK accredited asbestos surveying company for this purpose. No work can begin without the completion of this survey.

-Service Isolations

Before any demolition works begin, it is important to ensure that gas, electricity, water and telecommunication services are isolated or disconnected, or if this is not possible, pipes and cables must be clearly labelled to ensure they are not disturbed. This reduces the risk of potential delays to the project and Hels ensure the safety of all these working on site.

-Site Segregation Hoarding in Different Forms

Site hoardings are mandatory and must therefore be used to protect construction workers as well as the public. In order to adhere to health and safety regulations, reduce risk and comply with insurance obligations, the company undertaking the demolition works must ensure that the correct type of hoarding is used for the project.

Further information on these important pre-demolition steps can be found in our blog ‘The Key Three’.

Site Segregation

  1. Structural Investigation and Site Appraisal:

Thorough Structural Investigation and Site Appraisal are vital to identify any potential risks and to develop a safe demolition plan. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 states that a thorough Structural Survey and Assessment must therefore be carried out by an experienced contractor before any work can begin.

Surveyors will identify the overall structural integrity of a building, checking it for faults and poor design. These factors affect how the structure will react to demolition and dismantling activities

In order for a site to be considered ready for demolition, a Site Appraisal investigation will help to identify risk factors to both the project and the surrounding areas. For example, by evaluating current and existing patterns of movement around the site, it will help to highlight appropriate traffic access needs as well as the impact increased traffic caused by the project will have on the surrounding network.


  1. Health and Safety Assessment:

Ensuring the health and safety of workers and the surrounding environment is paramount during a demolition project.

The purpose of the assessment is to help all working parties to plan, organise and monitor health and safety throughout the life of a project. Projects need to take into consideration the size of the demolition site, the type of machinery that will be required to complete the job and whether there is a risk from uncovering hazardous materials.

During demolition work, toxic, hazardous and chemical substances are also very likely to be present. A Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Assessment must also be carried out in order to  identify any potential hazardous substances may be in place, what precautions and control measures should be in place and the best form of removal to protect workers health and safety.


  1. Risk Assessment and Method Statement:

Next, you will need to complete a thorough Risk Assessment in order to identify potential hazards which may harm the workforce or public on and in the surrounding areas of the demolition site.

A demolition risk assessment should look at potential dangers and risks for the following:

  • Falls from height – includes risks of workers falling from edges, though fragile surfaces, openings, and partly demolished floors
  • Fire – includes risks from tools that cause sparks, heat, or flames
  • Hazardous materials – includes asbestos, dust, respirable crystalline silica, paints, acids, microbiological hazards, flammable liquids, and unlabelled drums
  • Uncontrolled collapses – consider the age of the structure, its use, nearby buildings, and type of construction
  • Falling materials – includes flying debris and premature structural collapse
  • Vibrations and noise – includes hand tools and machinery
  • Connected services – includes electricity, water, gas, and telecommunications
  • Worker involvement – includes awareness of the risks and precautions of the worksite

Once the risk assessment has been completed, a detailed Method Statement should be written to describe the safety precautions you will need to put into place in order to control the identified risks and carry out work safely.


  1. Adding Value to Your Project:

Value Engineering is a systematic and organised procedure which works by substituting materials and methods, where possible, with more cost-effective alternatives.

The process starts by closely examining the project’s design, materials, and processes and looks at alternative solutions that could achieve the desired outcomes while potentially saving money.

The most promising alternatives that deliver equal or better results at a lower cost are then implemented. This could involve substituting materials, modifying construction methods, or streamlining workflows.

Land & Site Remediation Services 2

Although it is possible to apply value engineering at any point in construction projects, we highly recommend companies begin the process at the demolition phase. By applying the methodology early, it will save time and costs further down the line, providing a better return on investment for the project. Read our bog on ‘Adding Value to Your Project’ for further guidance.


  1. The Demolition Plan:

Due to the complicated and dangerous nature of demolishing a building or structure, being able to clearly demonstrate the necessary methodologies and procedures for the demolition is key for the project’s safety and success. The best way to do this is by creating a detailed Demolition Plan, detailing the programme and work sequence.

 The Demolition Plan brings together the various surveys and assessments carried out in preparation for the project to begin and helps to illustrate the different processes involved in the project. The plan details timescales, how the physical works required will be sequenced, managed and delivered in order to meet the specifications.

A well-executed demolition plan is crucial for the success of the project.

For more information on what should be included in the Domination Plan, read our blog on this here.


  1. Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP):

Proper site clearance is necessary to ensure the site is safe and ready for future development. Site clearance also helps to ensure that a site is free from potential hazards which can result in additional costs associated with delays to the project timeline.

When planning the clearance of materials on site, a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) should be completed and included in your Demolition Plan. The SWMP should detail how materials are going to be efficiently managed and legally disposed of.

Where possible, there should be a plan for materials to be reused or recycled which will help towards the Circular Economy. Guidance relating to de-contamination and removal of hazardous materials should also fall under a SWMP.

A knowledgeable contractor will manage the site clearance process efficiently, including waste removal and recycling.



To ensure a smooth and successful project, it is crucial to work with a knowledgeable demolition contractor who can guide you through the legal requirements, conduct necessary assessments, ensure health and safety, and develop a comprehensive demolition plan. By choosing the right professional, companies can minimise risks, optimise project timelines and costs, and achieve successful demolition outcomes.

Demolition services in the South West, Cornwall & Devon since 1968

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