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Demolition, Out With the Old, In With Modular!

Jul 16, 2008
Are you considering placing your modular home on a site where a current structure exists? Then you will be facing a demolition process before it arrives. Demolishing an old home or building can be time consuming in itself, but the nice benefit with a modular home is that the preparation and actual demolition can happen while you are designing and constructing your modular home long before it arrives to the site.

Demolition includes destruction, removal and/or relocation of a home or other significant building structures, and there are several steps needed to complete the process. The first major step is to obtain a demolition permit and a site management plan. These are approved through your town's building and planning departments who can detail the steps required in your particularly area. Site management plans include how materials will be recycled, tree identification and protection, run-off control, fencing or screening if necessary, weed control and pedestrian access around the demolition site if needed.

In addition, public notice is usually required a couple of weeks prior to the demolition, and notification in the local paper as well as direct notification to adjacent residents is necessary. If asbestos or other hazardous materials are suspected in the structure, a hazardous material inspection and permit will be required, and this will be a part of the demolition plan. How this material will be removed will have to follow community guidelines and be approved prior to the demolition permit being awarded. If the structure is in a historical town district, there may be other obstacles. Some buildings cannot be removed at all, or on occasion, historical planning boards may need to approve new building plans before demolition of older structures occur.

Many people handle this through their general contractor, or they may hire a structural engineer directly. Structural engineers are accustomed to designing site management plans and demolition protocols. If hazardous materials are present, or if the structure is large enough to potentially cause damage to adjacent areas during demolition, structural engineers offer not only expertise but a significant degree of liability protection. By signing off on the plans, they accept a degree of responsibility assuring that the demolition will proceed smoothly.

Once the demolition is complete, a structural engineer also comes in handy for the design and construction of the foundation. Structural or foundation engineers help tailor the footprint of the foundation to the modular home design plans and also make sure the foundation is level. This is critical for modular homes particularly so that modules fit together accurately. Foundation engineers also can define how deep and wide foundation walls must be, how much rebar/steel reinforcement may be needed, and what psi (pressure requirements) the cement needs to be.

While demolition and foundation preparation require a significant amount of time in planning and approval, these procedures can be fully completed during the design and construction phase of your modular home. The ability to finish several tasks of the building process simultaneously is a significant reason why modular home construction is superior.
About the Author
Michael Zenga is a Modular Home Builder in the Boston, MA area. He founded ZN Custom Building, in 2002, which specializes in modular home construction. ZN Custom Building are Modular Home Builders in Boston, MA and can help construct a new custom modular home for you today!
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