Demolition Permit

Demolition Permit

Believe it or not, you can’t just demolish a structure because you want to without a proper permit. Just as you can’t work on a house within city limits without first obtaining all of the necessary permits from city hall, you cannot demolish any type of building or structure without having the appropriate permit. A demolition permit is considered to be an authorized document outlining that you have the permission to demolish a particular structure and clear (clean up) the job site and is typically issued from a government agency within your area.

Where Can Demolition Permits Be Obtained

A permit will be required if you plan to completely demolish a building or large structure or if you plan to tear down a large portion of a building of which you plan to leaving standing in its original location. As a general rule, the demolition permit is provided from the local government office or the city department of planning or building. You can also obtain any information that you need to ensure that you qualify for the permit from these locations and you’ll likely need some of this information:


  • Company name and location.
  • Procedure being performed.
  • Handling plan for hazardous materials.
  • Proof that utilities have been turned off and/or capped.

Why Demolition Permits Are Needed

One of the most common reasons that demolition permits are needed is because of safety. First and foremost, government agencies want to make certain that buildings are being torn down by experienced, knowledgeable and skilled professionals in the field and that any and all safety precautions are taken and observed from the beginning to the end of the project. In addition, many buildings could contain lead paint, asbestos or other hazardous materials as well as utilities such as live electrical wires, etc. This could all be potentially dangerous to one’s health and without the proper precautions taken, which only a skilled professional in the industry would be aware of, a worker’s health is at risk.

Further, the government (city, state and national) want to ensure that any demolition site remains as clear as possible and is thoroughly cleaned once the demolition project has come to an end. In other words, the debris from the demolition should not be left in a pile on the job site – it should be removed by whatever means necessary and legal.

Obstruction Permit

Demolition obviously produces a large amount of debris and many will apply for the obstruction permit at the same as they apply for the demolition permit. The obstruction permit will allow for dumpsters to be near the job site area in addition to the street or sidewalk being blocked temporarily for the safety of the public. As a general rule, the obstruction permit will be an additional cost to the demolition permit. It may not be needed and it may not even be required in your location, but it is best to check first rather than be fined later. It’s simply better to be safe than sorry.