This insightful article is about breaking down the market for Deconstruction in Aspen, Colorado (oh the pun). It’s thorough, and a good read if you are interested in the challenges and opportunities of building material reuse ordinances.
The city of Aspen doesn’t have any requirements for contractors to deconstruct a building versus demolishing it. However, it does encourage construction companies to use best practices according to its international energy code, which fosters training and educating contractors and subcontractors to recycle when they can.
Stephen Kanipe, the city’s chief building official, said the practice of deconstruction is driven by the market, and if contractors can sell materials for recycling or scrap.
Based on projects he’s seen coming through the building department, most contractors do recycle material on the job site. However, it depends on the wishes of the building owner and what constraints the contractor faces.
For example, nearly all of the material from the 2011 demolition of the Given Institute in the West End neighborhood was recycled because the construction site was large enough for the separation process. But the Gap building, which is in the Aspen downtown core, has less space to work with.
“There are so many instances that one size doesn’t fit all,” Kanipe said.
City officials in the past have discussed whether to require developers to recycle or employ deconstruction methods. But presently, it’s based on the honor system. Most contractors, residential and commercial, attempt to recycle when they can.
“The market should incentivize it, not the government,” Kanipe said.