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Architecture/Replacing Buildings


This is probably a silly question, but I was wondering if there is anything about modern buildings that would allow someone to actually move a building after it is built? Maybe remove the internal furnishings and seperate the floors and transplant it elsewhere? I live in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY and I have to say it is a very frustating town and it lacks good spacing for more 2-way streets, and better parking. It seems like the seemingly permanent positioning of the buildings is the major thing that keeps the city from looking better.


Considering that large ocean voyager ships have been dismantled and reassembled on the opposite coast, anything is possible.  But not everything is practical or financially feasible.  The cost of moving a home is somewhere between $20,000 and $40,000.  That does not include the cost of the new foundation, gas, water, sewer and electricity ready to receive the old home.

Before an existing home can be moved without excessive damage (there will be damage), the walls are typically reinforced with a great deal of diagonal bracing to stiffen the structure.  Keep in mind that most houses are not structured to make it easy to move them.  

During my experience, I have been involved in a number of projects to include a few modular (double-wide) houses, and moving an old farm house from one side of the property to the other.  Local comedian "Larry the Cable Guy" recently moved a big old barn from one farm to my neighborhood.  But that's because he can afford the cost of disconnecting every overhead power line that would otherwise prevent him from moving a 30 foot tall and 24 wide structure down the side roads and highway in the dark of the night when there is no traffic but plenty of utility workers willing to work for a local celebrity.  I am not so certain that common people like you and me could expect the same cooperation from your local utility company.

Given that you can get over all of those logistical hurdles, there is only one more thing to do.  The original foundation needs to be completely removed and utilities capped off.  In other words, you are responsible to make the original property ready for new construction as if it were clean virgin soil without any debris.

Please let me know if that answers your question or if you have any follow up questions.

Thank you,

Richard Burton, AIA
Registered Architect
ICC Certified Plan Reviewer


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Richard Burton AIA


A combined total of 25 years experience with construction, architecture, and building code enforcement. Ask me about residential and commercial design. Ask me about design aesthetics, structural methods, and building something that will withstand severe weather conditions. Ask me my opinion about YOUR design ideas and I will tell you the merits of good design and challenge your thinking about practical issues. Ask me how to best find and work with your local architect and approach general contractors to get the most value for the least amount of headaches. You can ask me about improving your energy efficiency and things that are both green and practical. But don't ask me about solar panels and wind turbines unless you are currently paying your utility company 35 cents per Kilowatt. Otherwise the math does not justify the initial cost and return on investment. Ask me any building code question and how to get a building permit from the most difficult enforcement agencies.


Here in the midwest, we design and build "green" in ways that make sense. My construction methods prioritize weather resistance, ease of maintenance and durability. While a graduate student in San Diego, I taught drafting and history of architecture. After working ten years for other architecture firms, I have started my firm Arrow Architecture in 2008. More than half of my work involves commercial office buildings. But my portfolio of work also includes custom homes, residential additions, home remodels, and second story additions.

President-Elect of American Institute of Architects - Lincoln, NE

B.S. Architecture - (Interior Design) University of Nebraska Lincoln 1997 Master of Architecture - (Urban Design and Professional Practice) NewSchool of Architecture - San Diego 2004 Graduated Summa Cum Laude ICC Certified Building Plans Examiner

Awards and Honors
AIA Henry Adams Medal and Certificate

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