Before demolition starts, it’s important that the utilities and services to and from the house be disconnected. This includes things like gas, electricity, water supply and drainage.
Electricity and gas in particular pose a serious safety risk if they’re still active when demolition takes place. There’s no shortage of stories about demolition workers getting a very nasty surprise when cutting through live cables.
The other danger of demolishing before services have been properly terminated is the potential for damage to the supplies of neighbouring homes, or to the local power, gas, water or drainage infrastructure in general. If that happens, the demolisher is liable for any repairs or losses by law. As employers, it’s also up to the demolishers to ensure their employees aren’t hurt on the job.
Who disconnects services for demolition?
For most of these services, part of the infrastructure (i.e. the service cables and metering equipment, supply piping) belongs to the supply company. So that they’re able to come and disconnect services and collect their equipment, a request will need to be made to get the service deactivated and removed.
Requests to terminate services for the purpose of demolition normally need to be made in writing (using the right forms) to the supply company a couple of weeks before demolition is due to take place. This ensures that there’s enough time for them to come and pick up their gear and make sure everything’s switched off and safe. Disconnecting some services will also involve a disconnection fee.
Because most people aren’t aware of the process, most demolition companies will either arrange this for you, or advise you on what exactly needs to be submitted.
Checking to see if services have been disconnected
Before they start any demolition work, it’s up to demolishers to check that the electricity, gas and water have been properly disconnected and that the supply cables and metering equipment have been properly removed.