let’s talk : ISSUES THAT MAY POP UP DURING DEMO
We have been working on Project Philadelphia for about a month now. As you may be aware, this was a full gut renovation. Meaning we took down every wall, the ceilings, the current electrical and plumbing, etc. You name it, we tore it out. We are essentially only using the shell of the home. As we went through this process, some issues popped up that will ultimately cost us more $$$ than we had anticipated. Let’s talk about that.
So, as we do, let’s talk Real Estate, let’s talk ISSUES THAT MAY POP UP DURING DEMO …
The good news is, that our demo only took us about 1-2 weeks. The bad news is some unexpected, unbudgeted issues popped up during this.
Issue #1 : The back exterior wall
Once the drywall was torn down we could see the exterior brick of the home. On our top floor, it was brought to our attention that the brick wall was sitting more than 10 inches off of the framing. It very literally could have collapsed at any minute, only God knows how it did not crumble to the ground. Sometimes, when the brick is bowing, the construction team can come in and place a star bolt to prevent the brick from bowing any further out. In this instance, the brick was too far gone. SO, we had to tear this wall down, and as you can guess, it was not a cheap venture. Luckily, this only happened on the top (3rd) floor, and not the entire house. The wall has since been knocked down and the construction crew is currently replacing the hole with siding. Using siding is cheaper than rebuilding with brick, and since it is on the back of the house, (which is already siding on the back of floors 1 & 2) it made sense for us to go this route.
Issue #2 : The brick
So, I LOVED the brick on the house BUT it’s old, not well maintained and is falling apart. We had two options here to fix that; (1) stucco the whole exterior of the house, OR (2) parge the interior brick, basically sticking it back together. Now, this is TOTALLY a personal opinion, but I am not really into stucco exteriors AND I love the charm of a brick front home; so, we went with the interior parging. What the team is doing is essentially stuccoing all of the INTERIOR brick before they put the framing and drywall in place. This will allow the brick to stay in place, and the framing / drywall to properly secure to the exterior of the home.
These two issues alone set us back ~$7,500 in our budget… OUCH, so we are currently working to see where we can make some of that back in the rest of the work.
Now these two major issues got me to thinking… ARE THRE ANY OTHER COSTLY ISSUES I SHOULD BE ANTICIPATING?! WHAT OTHER ISSUES DO TEAMS TYPICALLY COME ACROSS DURING DEMO?
So, I did my research and found that some of the most common issues that can arise during the demo process are issues concerning…
Bad soil, foundational issues, termite damage, dry rot, demolishing a structurally important component (will touch on this in a second), lack of coordination among different contracting crews (will also circle back to this), and BUILDING CODES.
I put BUILDING CODES in caps because ensuring you have the proper permits, and that you are renovating the property to code, is VITAL to your project. No matter what issues you may come across, there is absolutely nothing you can do (legally) to fix them if you don’t have the proper permits in place. PERMITS ARE IMPORTANT. I want to bring this back to that exterior wall I was talking about earlier in Project Philadelphia NOTING that we DID have all of our permits in place to start the demolition. HOWEVER, when the crew knocked down that back wall, a city inspector happened to be checking on a distressed property just next door, he saw our gaping hole and stopped by to let us know he could shut down the project asap if we did not cover that up as the home was deemed “hazardous” with a hole that size. Not complying to local codes can shut down your project at any point. Shutting down your project means delaying your project which means pushing out the end date, wasting people’s time, not selling the flip, or not putting tenants in, etc. – all of which translates to more money out of your pocket.
Now another important issue I mentioned up there is “lack of coordination among different crews”. We are tearing out all of the electrical and plumbing so we were not concerned with that during our demo, however if you plan to use the electrical or plumbing in place, make sure the crew you are working with is careful to not destroy what is already there. The wiring and plumbing can be a huge budget killer in the event something is ruined.
Finally, the last issue I want to circle back to is “demolishing a structurally important component”. Our 3rd floor is very literally standing on a set of 3 vertical pieces of wood that were ALMOST accidently TORN DOWN. I am not kidding you guys, I went up to the 3rd floor last week with our contractor and was terrified to learn that, as I was standing up there, 4 of our lives were in the fate of 3 pieces of wood beneath us. I know this is all part of the process, and I am probably being dramatic here, but I hate heights and the thought of potentially falling through a floor is not my ideal scenario. Anyways, happy to report we survived and the framing is starting so all should be well again soon (knock on wood).
SO NOW THAT WE KNOW some OF THE ISSUES THAT COULD POP UP – WHAT CAN WE DO TO AVOID THEM?!
Before I even type these out I want to openly admit that I did not personally follow many of the below “tips & tricks” to avoid major “surprise” issues BUT I still want to share some of them with you…
Tip #1 : Hire a design-build firm so that everyone is on the same page… we just hired a build team and I did the design myself because I am OCD, jk, I mean I am, but the true reason is a design-build firm was just too expensive for this project.
Tip #2 : Make sure to do a thorough inspection of the home prior to purchasing… guilty again, we bought this property sight unseen – oops!
Tip #3 : Work with a contractor you trust… fingers crossed that we are!
Tip #4 : Constant communication… I am constantly checking in with our contractor to make sure we are both on the same page!
Tip #5 : Budget for surprises… unless your contractor has super x-ray vision, there are most likely going to be some things that are missed in the initial walkthrough. So, I believe it is probably best to have a little safety net set a side for these moments.
Are there any other major issues you all have seen come to light during the demo phase!? What are we missing here?!
Feel free to comment on the blog post HERE and let us know what YOU think!
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ME – this week’s post is based on my personal experience and findings