(From the City of Joplin)
Some Joplin residents are choosing to demolish their own tornado-damaged houses, either by doing it themselves or by hiring private contractors to do the work. City officials encourage this continued cleanup effort and remind citizens of some simple conditions: Get a demolition permit first. Be safe. Dispose of your debris correctly. Leave a clean lot behind, if you aren’t going to rebuild.
“We know some people have the need and the means to move ahead with the demolition of their own private properties and that’s fine, as long as they’re following the right steps and proceeding in a safe manner,” said City Manager Mark Rohr. “Most importantly, if people aren’t going to rebuild, we need them to leave behind a clean lot in good condition for the health and safety of our city and to aid in the redevelopment of the city as a whole.”
If a property owner is not going to obtain a building permit to rebuild on their existing lot, the necessary demolition must meet the same requirements the City uses when it has dangerous structures taken down, Rohr added. The City requires that a lot is left in a clean, mowable condition that does not hold water, meaning that there are no surface depressions resulting from the removal of a slab, crawlspace, partial foundation, open basement or other built-in feature. These depressions create an attractive nuisance to children and can become a mosquito breeding area, which is considered a violation of certain sections of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Joplin.
If there is a crawl space, the footings must be removed. For basements, if the sub-structure is not being removed, a contractor can break up the bottom slab, crush the walls in to the basement and fill the area with dirt, as long as it is below the 30-inch required depth of footings for another structure. Depressions can’t be filled with mined chat.
Property owners who are rebuilding on an existing slab, crawl space or basement, need to put up temporary fencing to keep someone from falling down into a hole they can’t see. If water collects in the below-ground space before or during construction, it should be removed to reduce the chances of a public health hazard, such as mosquito breeding. Property owners with unsafe slabs, crawl spaces or basements, should consider demolition.
Citizens are reminded to also:
§ Obtain a demolition permit from the City of Joplin before beginning the demolition of structure. This is required for all structural demolitions. Permits are free through Dec. 31, 2011 and available at the City’s Building Division in City Hall, 602 Main Street, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
§ Be safe. Make sure all utilities are properly disconnected before work begins. Hire a certified professional to do the demolition, if you believe there may be asbestos in the structure. Again, make sure to fill in holes and place a fence around any ground openings that create a hazard for children or adults.
§ If you are hiring a contractor to do the work, be sure the contract requires them to haul away the demolition debris. A contractor cannot push demolition wreckage to the public rights-of-way. Use someone who is licensed and bonded. If possible, get more than one bid. Ask for references. Get a written, detailed list of the work to be performed.
§ If you are going to rebuild, please contact the City at 417-624-0820, ext. 539. This information will be used to identify the footings, foundations, basements, slabs, driveways, and other appurtenances that could remain, if they are structurally sound. The City encourages citizens to verify the integrity of these foundations prior to rebuilding.