Demolition information for neighbours

We’ll engage with neighbours of affected properties and others in the local community to:

  • provide information about the demolition process
  • support neighbours through the changes happening in their area, and
  • keep properties safe and secure.

The demolition of an affected premises is carefully planned and safety is the main priority for the workers on site, neighbours and the wider community.

Frequently asked questions

How will I be contacted?

Before a demolition begins, we will come and talk to you about loose-fill asbestos insulation and the NSW Government's Voluntary Purchase and Demolition Program. You will receive a letter about the demolition process and an information pack. You may also be contacted by the demolition contractor about the demolition and the timeframes.

What will I see?

A fence will go up around the perimeter of the site and fence signage with the NSW Government and demolition contractor contact information will be installed. The windows of the property will be boarded up, locks will be changed and a warning sign will be placed on the front door.

The site will remain fenced and boarded up until the time that demolition commences and throughout the property demolition process until the site has been remediated.

The property will be encapsulated in plastic and negative air pressure units will be installed to create a safe and sealed environment referred to as the asbestos removal area. Near the asbestos removal area will be a decontamination facility which is an air-locked area where workers will change their clothing and take showers to prevent the spread of asbestos outside the removal area. Protective equipment such as face masks and protective clothing which ensures the worker’s health and safety, is fitted and removed inside the decontamination facility.

Negative air pressure units in the removal area are used to direct air from inside the asbestos removal area through filters so that only clean air is ventilated to the outside. You may also notice air monitoring units around the site in order to monitor air quality.

Heavy equipment will be brought to the site to demolish the remaining structure after all asbestos has been removed, and a misting spray machine will be used to spray water over the demolition work area to wet all surfaces and minimise the risk of any dust being created. It’s during this stage you will see the structural demolition of the site.

The site will remain fenced until the soil has been tested and cleared.

What will I hear?

Initially you may hear noise from power tools while fixtures, such as down pipes and awnings, are being removed to prepare for demolition. Depending on your proximity to the home being demolished, you may hear the sound of the negative air units operating 24 hours a day for a period of time. These sound similar to an air conditioning unit or pool pump.

Whilst the structure is being demolished, neighbours may hear the sound of heavy machinery undertaking structural demolition and trucks transporting waste safely away from the site.

What are the operating hours for the demolition?

The NSW Environment Protection Authority recommends that construction work be undertaken between the hours of 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. No demolition work will occur on Sundays or public holidays. Each local council may impose different construction hours.

What safety measures are in place?

Demolitions undertaken by the NSW Government are regulated by SafeWork NSW. Contractors are required to prepare extensive plans prior to demolition commencing to ensure the safety of workers, neighbours and the wider community. When they are on site, the contractors will follow strict safety conditions.

How long will demolition take?

Once demolition commences, the process should take up to 16 weeks, depending on factors such as weather.

How soon after a house is fenced will the demolition begin?

Perimeter fences go up for one of two reasons. Firstly, a property will be fenced, windows boarded and locks changed when the NSW Government has acquired a property, but demolition may not occur until some months after.

Secondly, a site may be fenced when the NSW Government or contractors take control of the property in preparation for demolition.

Will there be security and maintenance for vacated properties?

Yes, security and safety is a key priority for properties acquired by or controlled by the NSW Government. Access to the property will be limited and utilities like gas and electricity are switched off. If the property has a swimming pool, it will be drained and fenced. The NSW Government will arrange for regular monitoring to ensure the ongoing security of the property. Gardens will be maintained and lawns will be mowed.

Who do I contact if I see anything of concern at a vacant property?

If your concern relates to an emergency, please call 000.

If your concern relates to criminal activities such as trespass or property entry, contact the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

Service NSW can be contacted between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday on 13 77 88 to report anything of concern.

What happens with remediated properties?

For owners who chose to retain ownership of their land, the property will be handed back to them once demolition has been completed and the site remediated.

Land owned by the NSW Government will be assessed for future use, giving consideration to the nature and circumstances of the individual property. For example, the total number of properties affected in an area, the impact on the community and what will be of most benefit to the community.

What is the risk of being exposed to loose-fill asbestos while a house nearby is being demolished?

Measures are taken to remove all visible asbestos fibers before the house is demolished. The internal surface of the structure is then sprayed with a blue sealant to secure any remaining unseen fibers to the structure, prior to the structural demolition.

There is a very low chance of a person being exposed to asbestos while a home affected by loose-fill asbestos insulation is being demolished and people do not need to take any particular precautions to protect their health.

What if the demolition of a neighbouring property affects a shared boundary fence or a tree on my property?

Contractors will undertake a preliminary demolition assessment on the affected site to ensure that demolition can occur safely and efficiently and steps are in place to manage features like trees, landscaping, drainage, boundary fences and any other safety hazards.

The NSW Government, together with demolition contractors, will work through a checklist to determine the demolition requirements of the property and what needs to be removed to ensure it can be done safely and efficiently.

NSW Fair Trading or the demolition contractor will speak with neighbours when work is about to commence on site and discuss any issues that may impact on a neighbour's property.

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