Frequently Asked Questions:
What is involved in moving a house
What Buildings can be moved?
Any building can be moved, given time and money. Basic jobs to jack a building can cost as little as $5,000, while more complex moves can cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. We are equipped for all types of projects. Our most typical jobs involve supporting or jacking barns, camps, or single family homes, most often to facilitate foundation replacement. The majority of house moves are on-site (moving to a new location on the same piece of property), but we are equipped to move over the road projects as well.
What is involved in moving a house?Exact procedures vary for every job, but the following is a brief overview of a typical job.
- First: Site preparation. For a building to be moved, the existing site of the building, as well as the area it is to be moved to, will require some preparation. This involves the terrain of the land, property boundaries, obstructions that may or may not be removed for access to and from these locations, and accessing the house. Basic excavation, tree trimming, plant relocations and other site specific conditions to the project. Power, telephone and all other applicable utilities must be disconnected.
- Second: Building preparation. For the supporting beams to be placed under the building, beam pockets must be created in the foundation and any other locations of the building, as may be necessary. After beam placement is complete, jacks are position in strategic points under the building and are powered by unified hydraulic system to lift the structure. If the building is being moved, depending on the distance and terrain either track beams or dollies will be placed under the building. The building is moved to the new site and can be lowered onto a new foundation or have a new foundation built under it.
- Thrid: Moving the building. Depending on the requirements of the move, the building is either moved along a track beam system or placed onto transportation dollies to traverse the terrain to the new or temporary site. Once the building is at the new site, the building is moved over the new foundation or is moved over the excavated foundation hole and supported while a new foundation is built under it.
- Finally: Setting down. Hydraulic jacks will then lower the building, placing the building upon the foundation and we are then able to remove the beams and equipment. Once the building is set upon the foundation, all the necessary utilities can be reconnected and any other improvements begun.
Do I have to tear down the chimney/porch/addition?
Not necessarily. If they are in disrepair, it may be safer to do so. If they make the building too wide for the road, it is possible to detach an addition and move them separately. Generally, houses can be moved in one piece, with the chimneys, porches, and/or additions intact.
How long does it take to move a house?
Most smaller buildings can be jacked or moved in a matter of days. When moving a building, you must consider the distance the move will cover, terrain from the current location to the new site, obstructions from existing location to the new location and the size of the house. The average houses will take approximately one week to prepare, another day or two to actually move the building, and three days to a week to place the building on the foundation and remove equipment used to support the building.
What are the homeowner's responsibilities?
For jacking / supporting and on site moves, the homeowner is responsible for securing all necessary permits, disconnection of all utilities and pumping of the oil tank (as may be necessary). The basement/crawl space area will need to be cleaned out so that the necessary equipment can be installed under / in the building.
For moving a building on public roads, the homeowner will also need to coordinate other requirements that the permits from the State Transportation departments require. This will include necessary police escorts, utility company crews for overhead wires, as well as other conditions specified. MOVER will obtain the necessary permit to move on the road, but the homeowner is responsible for the fees required by these permits and surveys.
To find information about underground wires and pipes, we suggest visiting the Digsafe website and your local town hall. Over the public road moves require far more planning and coordination. Please see information for these specific requirements at the websites for Vermont's Department of Transportation or New Hampshire's Department of Transportation
Things homeowners should consider:
Is the building worth moving?
While we can move any building any distance, consideration to the costs of the total project should be a guiding factor. If the building is structurally deficient and/or the distance to be moved is fairly lengthy, and/or many obstructions and other factors are along the move route, it may become less feasible to move the building. Each move is specific to itself, as no two moves are exactly the same. We recommend having an architect or engineer examine your building and assess the structure for the specifics of what you want to do. Use them as a sounding board for ideas.
Is there room on the road for the building?
On average the roads in Vermont are only two lanes with limited shoulder space (if any). You must also look for any other obstructions that may narrow the road, be it to the sides of the roads or over head. These can be trees, tree branches that hang out over the road, signs, telephone poles, wires, bridges, rocks, fences and sometimes other buildings set very close to the roadway, as well as other miscellaneous factors (is there room for heavy equipment like tractor-trailer rigs, earthmoving equipment, Bobcat skid steer, and etc.). To estimate the height of the building while moving, measure from the sill plate to the peak of the building and add five feet — this is a good estimated height going along the route. Signs and some other obstructions can be moved/removed and replaced, trees may be cut (with permission and this must be obtained before the move is to occur) and some structures can be worked around if the space allows, but all of the factors will impact the costs of the project. These factors may be involved with an on-site move as well, but to a lesser degree. Each project is as individual as we are and we know that one size does not fit all. So remember, an 18 ft wide roadway may not always be able to allow a 20 ft wide building to travel to another site down the road. It depends on many other conditions along the way.
How far do I want to move this building?
In Vermont, 1 mile is about the limit for an average size house to travel before costs become prohibitive. It may be farther or shorter depending on the area.
How much room is there around the building?
To insert the beams, we must have approximately the length/width of the side they are to be placed on.
How close to the ground do I want the house? Do I want windows in the basement?
Keeping a house well off the ground helps prevent sill rot and can potentially allow you to place windows for sunlight or ventilation into the basement. Think about the direction your house is facing. Do you want to change that? Minor changes to the basement can help improve the value of your house.
What kind of foundation do you have and do you want the same kind when the house is moved?
It is usually cheapest to put in a new version of what you already have. However, this is usually a waste of a golden opportunity to add useable space to your home. Don't forget about frost walls either! Paying more now will save you money down the road when it comes to foundations.
Estimates and Submittals
Our Work Territory
Our primary area is within the borders Vermont. Exceptions may be made depending upon our availability. We will travel to many locations in New Hampshire and parts of New York.
We presently do NOT work in Massachusetts.
Getting an estimate
Estimates are free online. We have a page where it outlines the information we need to give you an approximate cost for your project.
Estimates requiring a site visit may require a fee. If we are working in the general area or are scheduled to see more than one project in an area, we are usually able to do an inspection at no charge. If we make a specific trip for just your project, a fee may be charged — determined at the time of contact prior to inspection.
We will only give you our bid price if we are able to do the work. If we decline your project, we will not issue a cost estimate. All of our work is bid on a contract basis — we give you a specific price for the outlined scope of work. No more / no less. The only time this price will change is if the scope of work changes and it is not in the stated price originally.