• Chris Dowler, FMP


We were engaged to construction manage the demolition of a c1900 house which had been converted to a two-family residence. Our client sought to replace the house with a new, three-story structure with an up-scale restaurant on the first floor and two apartments, one on each of the other floors.

But there are Tenants…

Tenants occupied both apartments from the time our client purchased the property. We worked with the owner and the tenants to negotiate leases to coincide with the anticipated demolition schedule. Tenant outreach included communicating with the tenants regularly to up-date the progress of zoning applications so that there were no surprises before their leases terminated.

Assistance was provided to the tenants to facilitate their move-outs. This included allowing them to remove fixtures which they then re-purposed in their new homes.

And the House is in an Historic District…

Based on both the age and the location of the house in the town’s designated historic district, the demolition permit application was subject to a 45-day comment period which could then be extended an additional 45-days if an objection was filed. And such was the case.

There may be Money in the Walls…

We presented the idea of performing a retirement study, or asset disposition study, to the owner. A retirement study allows an owner to accelerate depreciation on an asset that was income-producing to identify otherwise lost cash flow prior to demolition. The owner realized a 21:1 ROI.

The Devil’s in the Details…

Demolition notifications involved:

● identifying all property owners within 150’ of the property (not just adjacent

property owners)

● sending out certified letters to all of those property owners

● attesting that the letters were sent

● filing a public notice in the local paper

● sending proof of the filing to the building inspector

● posting a sign making notification of the pending demolition

● submitting photographic proof of the sign posting

Who Shut Off the Lights?

Upon the departure of the tenants, coordination with the utilities was performed to terminate all services. Some utilities required coordination with subcontractors. All had paperwork and insurance requirements. Termination notices then had to be forwarded to the building inspector.

Hazardous Materials

Upon utility terminations asbestos and lead testing had to be performed. When the results of the testing were received an asbestos abatement contractor had to be engaged. Asbestos abatement required notification to the state as there were ACMs (asbestos containing materials) inside the house. This initiated a 10-day review period.

Community Good

After abatement the owner worked with the local volunteer fire department and the regional SWAT team to enable realistic training for both organizations. This is a good community activity for building-owners to engage in when planning a demolition project.

Upon abatement the actual fun of taking down the house could be undertaken. Notifications were sent to adjacent property owners and others who may be impacted by the demolition. Barriers were erected and then the big day began. Two days later everything was gone and cleaned up.


In all, we choreographed 38 individuals representing the owner, two tenants, three government agencies, eight utilities / suppliers, an asbestos / lead testing company, an asbestos abatement company, a retirement study company, a demolition company, and various back office activities such as notary, insurance agent, sign maker, news agent, etc. This does not include the fire department or SWAT personnel, or the neighbors.

We have outlined a synopsis of the activities which took place; they did not follow a linear progression. For details on how Dowler Construction Services can help you with your remodel, repurpose, renovation (R3) or new project contact us for a free consultation.


Chris Dowler, FMP

Founder and Owner

Dowler Construction Services

a strategic facility solutions firm

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