How to Estimate the Cost of Commercial Demolition

inside look at commercial demolition

Updated January 23, 2023

The national average to demolish a commercial building is roughly $24,000.

However, to accurately estimate how much your commercial demolition will cost, there are a few factors you'll need to consider.

Measure the structure in square feet as accurately as possible.

Most costs associated with demolition are calculated by square feet, so the first and most important thing to figure out is the square footage of your property.

How to Calculate Square Footage

Calculating the square footage of a square or rectangular building is pretty straightforward—use a measuring tape or laser measure to find the length and width of the room, then multiply them together.

  • Example: A 50 ft x 80 ft building would be 4,000 sq ft (50 x 80 = 4,000)

If your structure isn't a simple square or rectangle, then do your best to calculate the property by breaking it down into simple shapes and adding it all together.

  • Example: This building would be 2,900 sq ft (30 x 15 = 450. 35 x 70 = 2,450. 450 + 2,450 = 2,900)
commercial building square footage diagram

Average Cost per Square Footage

The national average for commercial demolition is roughly $4 - $8 per square foot.

Although, the average cost per square foot can go down as the square footage goes up.

Get the building inspected for asbestos and other hazardous materials.

If your property was built in the 1980s or earlier, then there's a decent chance asbestos or other hazardous materials were used in its construction.

Asbestos is commonly found in floor tiles, cement sheet, millboard, steam pipes, boilers, insulation around furnaces, etc. 

Hire a professional, certified asbestos inspector to inspect the property.

If hazardous materials are found, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has guidelines to ensure safe and proper removal.

It typically costs $2 - $3 per square foot to remove asbestos, but always get a written estimate of how much the removal/disposal will cost from the abatement professional.

Find a qualified commercial demolition contractor

Account for permits, licenses, and other policies.

Before performing any demolition, you'll need to be sure you have the necessary permits (and alert utility companies of your intent to perform demolition).

Demolition permits cost $200 on average, but because costs are dependent on where you're located, permits can sometimes reach as high as $10,000.

Permit cost is generally included in the price of your demolition service, but be sure to confirm this with your contractor when you get your written estimate.

Learn more about commercial demolition:

Estimate landfill and hauling fees.

debris must be disposed of properly

Oftentimes, contractors will handle the debris disposal aspect of a demolition project, but this isn't always the case.

Always make sure you have a clear understanding (and written confirmation) of who will be responsible for debris disposal.

Disposal costs can vary quite a bit depending on the type of debris, local disposal fees, and the demolition site's proximity to the landfill/recycling center.

If you have to dispose of the debris yourself, you can get an idea of how much the hauling and disposal will cost by reaching out to a qualified, local dumpster rental company.

If you know the type of debris that your demolition will produce (e.g. concrete, rebar, plaster, metal, equipment, etc.) along with the square footage of the building, an experienced dumpster rental provider will be able to give you a pretty accurate estimate of how much debris your project will produce and how much it will cost to remove it.

We recommend getting a quote from no less than 2 or 3 dumpster rental providers to be sure you get the best deal possible. Talk with the dumpster rental services about whether or not they recycle asbestos-free materials, too; this can save you money.

Learn more about dumpster rentals:

Get estimates from multiple demolition contractors.

Commercial demolition is serious business and should not be taken lightly or handled by a non-qualified person.

Hometown Demolition Contractors makes it simple to get quotes from multiple qualified contractors in your area.

As you decide on the contractor you're going to hire, we also recommend getting a written estimate separated into line-items (e.g. demolition, labor, disposal, etc.) so you have a thorough understanding of what you're being charged for and how much. This helps minimize your chances of overpaying.

Find a qualified commercial demolition contractor