Through in-school apprenticeships, after-school programs, and summer internships, Salomon empowers his students to dream big, work collaboratively, and tackle problems with their own creative designs. Charlotte Nelson (’25) appreciates the freedom and structure. “It’s more like we’re equals. We’re all learning together. We’re trying new things. You want to do something? Go for it.”
“Breaking It Down” is your indispensable roadmap to ushering in an era of change. In this groundbreaking guide, you’ll delve into the powerful tool of Building Deconstruction, a revolutionary approach to tackling the environmental, economic, and social challenges brought about by the construction and demolition industry. Millions of tons of debris generated annually, poisonous emissions, resource waste, and economic decline—all these issues demand attention and action.
206 College Ave was deconstructed by the Circular Construction Lab. The materials were reused in Felix Heisel’s artwork Circulating Matters.
The Catherine Common’s project is being used as a case study for documenting deconstruction’s local potential. It is particularly useful as it permits a side-by-side comparison of demolition and deconstruction processes on nearly identical buildings within the same economic system. The Circular Construction Lab expects the generated data to provide a “much-needed insight” into the effects of implementing deconstruction and developing a business analysis that could address the scalability of the process.
Earlier this year, crews removed roofing, flooring and walls in a project that’s part of a Cornell University study comparing deconstruction and demolition. @ FitchyImages | stock.adobe.com
However, Felix Heisel, director of the Circular Construction Lab at Cornell, Ithaca, New York, told WSKG deconstruction can be cheaper than demolition when accounting for landfill diversion, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and fewer natural resources extracted since more materials are reused in deconstruction than in demolition.
“The first is there is a lack of education for beginning professionals and those who want to upgrade their skills and knowledge, and there are virtually no courses in North American building circularity,” said Martens. “This is the first micro-credential in building circularity in Canada – and, I believe, in North America.”
Heisel hopes the deconstruction project spearheaded by his Circular Construction Lab and a team of community partners – supported by a grant from the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement – serves as a local case study promoting a more sustainable approach to building materials across the region. The results will inform local policy proposals that, if enacted, would make Ithaca one of a small number of U.S. cities prioritizing material and building reuse over downcycling and landfilling.
For those interested in learning more about deconstruction and reuse in detail from the comfort of your office!
Deconstruction vs Demolition on-line webinar series (4 modules at 1-1/2 to 2 hrs each)
January 15 & 16, 2020
*Purpose and Benefits of Deconstruction (Jan 15 @ 12 to 2PM EST)
*Markets for Deconstructed Materials (Jan 15 @ 2:30 to 4PM EST)
*Material-Specific Deconstruction Methods (Jan 16 @ 12 to 1:30PM EST)
*Planning and Conducting a Deconstruction (Jan 16 @ 2 to 4PM EST)
The sessions will be recorded for any registrant to view at a later date, and one can enroll for 1 or up to all 4 modules independently.
2.0 HSW CE Hours
Mr. Guy is an associate professor of practice and director of the MS in Sustainable Design program, School of Architecture and Planning, The Catholic University of America (CUArch), Washington, DC. He is also the director of the Center for Building Stewardship, and director of the MS in Facilities Management program at CUArch. Mr. Guy’s teaching and research focus on sustainable and healthy materials and C&D waste, life cycle assessment, prefabrication and modular design, design to use reclaimed materials, design for deconstruction, and building deconstruction. In 2005, he co-founded the Building Materials Reuse Association, and he has conducted deconstruction projects throughout the US.
Debris remains where a demolished rowhouse once stood on one of many blocks slated for demolition in Baltimore. When possible, city officials want to dismantle and salvage materials from buildings rather than demolishing them.
Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press
The two Baltimore enterprises address multiple problems at once. Details Deconstruction takes apart blighted buildings and salvages or recycles materials that are still valuable — a process called deconstruction. Brick and Board processes and sells reclaimed materials, saving them from the landfill. And both hire people with criminal records and prepare them for jobs in the construction industry.
A guide for the perplexed inside Philly Reclaim. As the books and paintings behind the sign indicate, there’s more on offer here than building materials.
And Philly Reclaim will sell just about anything that anyone brings to it. When I visited the store last fall, the available items included organ pipes that a donor had dropped off, deer skins, a phone booth, a pool table, and even old turntables and vintage vinyl LPs to play on them. There was wood reclaimed from a bowling alley, chalkboards from the old West Philadelphia High School, and a wooden bathtub filled with clawfoot feet for those needing them for their own historic restorations.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple TNP worker Racheal Miller, 22, of Newton Falls, boards up a window on a house on Prospect St. in Niles.
The employees are trained to salvage materials from properties scheduled to be demolished as well as doing landscaping and maintenance at properties that already have been demolished.
AN 11-PERSON TEAM from Americorps is in Mtn. View helping renovate House of Abigail. Team members Adrian Stephen and Rachel Silverman are carrying boards into the house for a floor the team is building.
Over the course of this six-week project, the AmeriCorps team will start by completing the deconstruction of the building’s interior. This will include removing the reaming walls, ceilings, floors, plumbing and other objects that cannot be reused after the renovation.
Master of Special Problem Solving, Dave Bennink Disassembles 1,000 Buildings by Hand
by Sara Badiali
Imagine you are packing your car for a trip. You can only move your gear once, but you still have to maximize space. Sound difficult? Now imagine you have to do it with a stranger’s gear. That’s what Dave Bennink of Re-Use Consulting has been doing almost every week for the past 25 years.
But instead of gear, he does it with entire dismantled buildings. Dave’s expertise is in disassembling structures, staging the components for transport, and then moving them to be resold.
Dave deconstructs buildings for reuse. He’s dismantled 1,000 structures, in 42 states and 4 providences. He is a master of spatial problem solving. The materials are so big and take up so much space on site that they can only be moved once.
Dave Bennink’s extensive knowledge and experience meant that when the City of Portland passed their new Deconstruction Ordinance, they asked Dave to train the City’s first Certified Deconstruction Contractors. They also tapped him to train and certify a new deconstruction workforce.
In addition to his own business dismantling structures, Dave is a certified Deconstruction Trainer for the Building Material Reuse Association. He’s done trainings for the City of Seattle, Vancouver, other municipalities, numerous small businesses and organizations.
Students are drilled in safety, technique, material recovery, recycling, diversion equations, staging and selling materials. All of the lessons take place in the actual building the students are deconstructing.
It is a common site to see Dave drawing out waste diversion calculations on the interior walls one day, and the next day the walls are gone. If you ever buy reclaimed materials with calculations on them, you may have just purchased a piece of one of Dave’s many classrooms.
Along with his own business, and deconstruction training, Dave also is a consultant for reclaimed building material reuse start-ups. Guiding entrepreneurs with reuse business planning, deconstruction jobs, and marketing used building materials is Dave’s passion.
He is happy to help new converts into the world of environmental stewardship, job creation, community building, and healthy alternatives to demolition. His motto is “Say no to the track hoe”.
If you are interested in meeting Dave Bennink you can see him present twice at the Decon + Reuse ’17 Expo: Saving Our Past, Building the Future conference in Portland, Oregon on September 24th-27th. Dave will be on a panel with some of his certified deconstruction students. He will also be speaking on the basic principles of starting a reuse business (including spatial acumen).
Dave will be presenting at the Decon + Reuse ’17 Expo with over 50 other building material reuse experts, and hundreds of participants. This is the largest building material reuse event in the country and is being hosted by the City of Portland, Metro, the Reclamation Administration, and Portland State University’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions.
The Reclamation Administration has made a lot of friends over the years.
We are proud to say that over a third of the speakers for Decon + Reuse ’17 Expo: Saving our Past, Building the Future are from our invitations. These presenters have all been featured on the Reclamation Administration going as far back as 2011!
Here is a list of Presenters brought to you by the Reclamation Administration. You can see them all in Portland, Oregon on September 24th – 27th at the Decon + Reuse ’17 Expo.
Compared to demolition, deconstruction is tough, hands-on, time-consuming work. But the city opted to require it for homes built before 1916, citing it as a more sustainable alternative that would allow for quality building materials to be salvaged and reused. Now, the city sees another benefit to its decision: job opportunities.
An International Symposium on Off-site Reuse in Architecture
Source: D E C O N S T R U C T I O N
(Photo: Nina Mehlhaf)
That rule means a lot more certified deconstruction experts are needed. Tuesday, the city let us into a hands-on workshop at a home on Northwest 23rd Avenue, where 15 men and women were learning the trade.
Devon Campbell-Willliams is one of those trainees. He worked as a construction flagger before, and wanted to learn deconstruction technique hands on.
“You don’t want to go to straight in and straight up to pry up floorboards, if you do that you could crack the wood and it wouldn’t be reusable,” he said.
Heather Eidson The Times
Abandoned and burnt homes stand vacant in this now-barren Gary neighborhood in 2010. Steel City Salvage is training contractors on how to salvage materials from abandoned homes.
The group estimates there’s a $12.8 million market value to salvageable materials sitting untouched in abandoned Gary homes. “Demolition contractors are critically important to supply the marketplace,” Delta Institute Director Eye Pytel said. “While there is a learning curve, training gives contractors the capacity to safely and effectively get the most valuable building materials out of homes.”
Originally slated for a remodel, a condemned house at the DePauw Campus Farm is instead serving as a winter term project, with students (below) figuring out how to tear down the home with the smallest environmental impact. Courtesy photos/DEPAUW UNIVERSITY
But even that knowledge is useful, Everett argues, whether for an architect planning for the entire lifecycle of a building, or a college student learning the bigger picture of what it means to build a home.
“For us, even if the financial opportunities of deconstruction are few, the educational opportunities are extremely plentiful,” Everett said. In addition to the deconstruction aspect of the course, students are also being exposed to outside perspectives on the life of materials, with guest lectures from arts and humanities professors as well as recycling and building deconstruction professionals.
“The thing I most want students to take away from this course is an embodied understanding that they have the power to make real change in the world, right now,” Everett said. “Nothing stands between them and the work of making the world a better, more sensible, more caring, more mindful place – starting here, at DePauw, with this house.”
Construction crew (from left) Marcus Banks, Demetrik Williams and supervisor Steven Teasley listen while Mayor Tom Barrett holds a press conference in front of a home at 2700 block of N. 40th St. Angela Peterson
The city will train unemployed residents of the Sherman Park neighborhood for construction jobs by starting them on crews to disassemble vacant city-owned houses, Mayor Tom Barrett said Wednesday.
Dismantling an abandoned house with a goal of salvaging building materials for reuse and recycling can provide the training and work experience needed for someone to step into a job in the construction industry, he said.
Building Research Establishment Trust is working on several research projects focused on mitigation and resilience to climate change
Another research project last year also looked at the impacts of deconstruction – or, essentially, demolishing buildings – on the circular economy, as “effectively dealing with buildings at the end of their life has the potential to unlock significant economic value”, according to the Trust. Construction and the built environment is the single biggest user of materials and generator of waste in the UK economy, but the value that can be extracted from deconstruction is very much dependent on how buildings have been designed and built.
Deconstruction vs. Demolition: Portland, Oregon’s Potential for Groundbreaking Health and Safety Studies in Building Demolition – By Sara Badiali
Demolition: deliberate destruction of a building or other structure.
Deconstruction: the systematic dismantling of a building in order to recover the maximum amount of materials for reuse and recycling.
The City of Portland is poised to contribute to the study of health and safety in building removal. The Deconstruction Ordinance will take effect starting October 2016. The ordinance outlines single family homes built before 1916 must be deconstructed for material reuse. Deconstructing buildings will greatly lower greenhouse gas emissions and material disposal in landfills over traditional demolition. Deconstruction not only provides access to unique materials but also viable building materials that would otherwise go to waste. The Deconstruction Ordinance will provide the first ever opportunity for side by side comparisons of demolition verses building deconstruction for environmental health and safety measures.
Portland presents an environment of blistering-fast paced development, houses upwards of one-hundred years old, and established demolition and deconstruction companies. Residential interest in environmental health and safety is at an all-time high due to incidents pertaining to lead and radon, and unprecedented housing demolition. Portland is also home to multiple academic organizations specializing in environmental health issues, health sciences, urban planning, and architecture.
By hosting studies of building removals, new information will lead to a better understanding of hazardous material reductions and ultimately best practices. Consequently research in Portland could be the catalyst for laws regulating more than standards for lead dust fall, but also heavy metals, asbestos, and water contamination in demolition practices.
Hazardous Particulates in Buildings
When a building is demolished, the mechanical action of crushing creates particulates of dust from the building’s materials. These particulates enter the air and spread throughout the environment. Machines repeatedly driving over the worksite further circulate these particulates. Atmospheric conditions like wind can exacerbate the spread of dust.
There are currently no U.S. federal regulatory standards for lead dust fall, exterior settled dust, or dust-suppression methods in housing demolition. There are also very few demolition dust fall related studies, or inquiries into whether hand dismantling structures (deconstruction) reduces the spread of potentially hazardous air particulates.
Lead and asbestos are by far the most studied and discussed of hazardous materials attributed to buildings. Asbestos is proven to cause the fatal diseases asbestosis, pleural disease, and lung cancer. According to a 2011 survey by U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, over 37 million homes have lead based paint somewhere in the building.  The majority of hazardous lead is in homes built before 1978.
One study indicates that 37 billion square feet of building components are coated with deteriorated lead-based paint. A 2008 study of lead exposures in U.S. children found that “Exposure to lead can occur from many pathways and sources, but housing is the main pathway of exposure in the U.S., accounting for approximately 70% of childhood lead poisoning cases.”
There are other less well known potential health hazards in buildings. Arsenic and heavy metals like chromium, copper, iron, and manganese are harmful to humans. These heavy metals are thought to be from use of pressure treated wood manufactured before 2003. Mercury is a common toxic waste present in buildings, including gas pressure regulators, boiler heating systems, and thermostats. According to the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority “The amount of mercury present in one mercury thermometer is enough to pollute 5 million gallons of water.” That is the capacity to contaminate a 20-acre lake with enough mercury to result in a fish consumption warning, says Wastecap of Massachusetts. Benzene, a chemical related to natural gas, is also found harmful to humans. Environmental dust is especially problematic for people who suffer from asthma.
Brandon Shirlee of Pontiac works on the interior of a long-vacant building on West Huron near the former Pontiac Central High School. Shirlee is one of 10 workers who are learning job skills while harvesting wood, tile and more from aging buildings to sell in the vintage building materials market. Anne Runkle — The Oakland Press
“You can’t buy 100-year-old oak anymore,” said Ron Borngesser, OLHSA chief executive officer, as he explained the value of harvesting materials from the building, which dates to 1920. It has been vacant for about three decades and had recently been home to squatters, he said. OLHSA is working in cooperation with Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit, a nonprofit organization that promotes the environmental advantages of diverting reusable building materials from landfills, as well as the job training benefits.
Native American workers for Miigwech Aki Deconstruction (Co.), based at Bemidji, recently completed deconstructing a commercial building in downtown Minneapolis and a large Twin Cities suburban home. They have also started deconstructing two abandoned properties in the Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota.
This is the world architect and building scientist Bradley Guy—assistant professor of sustainable design at The Catholic University of America School of Architecture and Planning, as well as author of Unbuilding: Salvaging the Architectural Treasures of Unwanted Houses—has been slowly, arduously advocating for since the mid-1990s, when he was introduced to the idea of designing for deconstruction. Design for deconstruction (or disassembly, sometimes abbreviated DfD) is a design philosophy and set of strategies that acknowledge that the vast majority of buildings have a life span.
From left to right: Steve Shelton, executive director of the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh: John Folan, professor of architecture at Carnegie Mellon University; and Mike Gable, executive director of Construction Junction.
With $2.3 million in funding support from organizations that include the Heinz Endowments and the Colcom and RK Mellon foundations, Project RE launches as a 10,000 square foot production facility within Construction Junction in which architecture students within the UDBS work with the apprentice laborers from the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh, which operates a few blocks away, to design and build new affordable housing and other prototype products out of reused materials collected by neighboring retail operation.
Rachel Meyer, left, and Misty Sedotal, both pre-apprentices with Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., deconstruct a former strip club in the Cully neighborhood of Northeast Portland. (Sam Tenney/DJC)
“We know what was going on behind these walls,” Neel said. “So yeah, this feels good. There’s something poetic about it – I mean, this building was used to disempower women for years. There was prostitution, all kinds of stuff. Now to have a project that will benefit the community and give women an opportunity to learn a trade and be able to earn a good living – there’s nothing more empowering than that.”
Students said they enjoy working around and being taught by other women. They expect the experience to help them make the jump to a field long dominated by men.
Oregon Tradeswomen pre-apprentice Yolanda Sandoval removes a ceiling grid at a Northeast Portland building that is being redeveloped by a coalition of community groups into the Living Cully Plaza. (Sam Tenney/DJC)
COME JOIN THE BUILDING MATERIAL REUSE ASSOCIATION FOR THE ONLY CONFERENCE DEDICATED TO THE RECOVERY AND REUSE OF BUILDING MATERIALS. LEND YOUR EXPERIENCE AND SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE TO HELP US CREATE A WORLD WITHOUT WASTE.
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Big News! The Daily Record has named Humanim’s Jeff Carroll and the DETAILS team as “Innovator of the Year.”
DETAILS, a Humanim social enterprise, is a nonprofit deconstruction business with a social mission: creating jobs for people who, for many reasons, have faced difficulty getting hired. We train and hire men and women to take apart buildings – rather than demolishing them – and then we salvage the materials for resale, reuse or repurposing.
via Humanim – Home.
PHOTO CREDIT: TRIBUNE PHOTO JAIME VALDEZ – An Eastmoreland home on Rural Street was demolished to make way for a new house. Portland neighborhood leaders want the city to tighten rules governing residential demolition and infill projects.
The resolution would establish a program to provide incentives, training and technical assistance to promote voluntary deconstruction as an alternative to the demolition of homes to be replaced with new housing. The request for the program was put together by a Deconstruction Advisory Group within the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.
“Through Community Glue Workshop, we run these clinics where people can fix stuff for free,” said Bruni. By ‘stuff’, Bruni means items ranging from lamps to toasters and clothing. “I work with craftsmen and groups who need a few tools to do some really cool stuff. You can start a deconstruction company with a few hundred dollars in tools,” she said. And, she helps to make that happen.
Losing ReNew was a blow to the local deconstruction business, Kruger said, because ReNew provided an outlet for reusing building materials — an outlet that no longer exists.
WasteCap has more than twelve years of experience in training building professionals on reuse and recycling of materials. The BMRA provides increasing opportunities for the recovery and reuse of building materials in an environmentally sound and financially sustainable way. Attendees will learn the necessary skills to develop, manage, monitor, document and promote a successful deconstruction project and take away the eight steps to create and manage a successful project from beginning to end, says WasteCap.
More information on both courses is available at www.wastecap.org/training.
From construction and manufacturing to art and handicrafts, the articulation of knowledge and skill through tools and materials is the foundation of quality craftsmanship. The National Center for Craftsmanship is assuring that the knowledge, skills and abilities of our community’s finest craftspeople is passed on to future generations. Won’t you join us and help build the next generation of craftspeople?
In a joint effort to establish deconstruction and materials reuse methods as feasible options for reducing construction and demolition waste in Iowa, the Center on Sustainable Communities (COSC) and the Iowa Waste Reduction Center (IWRC) have scheduled a Rethinking Demolition workshop at the Corning Public Library on March 13.
The Building Material Reuse Association is looking to fill board positions with new or existing members. Please consider serving on the Board of Directors yourself, or helping to recruit someone who you think would be a good fit.
Sign Up Here:
Advanced Community Enhancement, the building owner, partnered with Building Value (a local nonprofit building materials reuse center, deconstruction service and job training business of Easter Seals TriState), Rumpke Recycling, and the Uptown Consortium in the demolition of the 12,000-square-foot building in what was billed as an environmental event in that 90 percent of the building’s materials will be recycled. The Uptown Consortium and Sperry Van Ness-RICORE Investment Management coordinated the project the corner of Forest and Burnet avenues.
In addition to diverting the waste from the landfill, the project provides transitional employment opportunities through Building Value’s job training deconstruction program. The Building Value crew positions act as a bridge to move people with workforce disadvantages into careers in construction.
Photo: Jay Young, The Evansville Courier & Press via Associated Press
Deconstruction is new to the Twin Cities, and one Minneapolis social enterprise called Better Futures Minnesota is leading the charge. It offers work crews for hire to provide deconstruction services, property maintenance, appliance recycling, groundskeeping and more. But off the clock, the men who work at Better Futures also get help with housing, healing and recovery, and personal coaching — helping these formerly incarcerated or homeless men turn their lives around.
A demolition boom is upon us, and we have a choice as a community. Demolish and send it to the dump, or deconstruct for less money, less waste and more green jobs.
Illinois Central College is launching a program that will teach students how to keep building materials out of landfills.
Students can earn a “deconstruction and building materials salvage and reuse” certificate. The program was given a boost by a $500,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Labor.
This is great news! Anne Nicklin is a knowledgeable and excellent resource in the building material reuse industry. Her accomplishments are too numerous to mention here. If you live in Illinois we highly recommend taking her class at Illinois Central College.
“Debris and waste are just materials in the wrong place,” said Anne Nicklin, curriculum development and instructor at ICC.
Nicklin said that little infrastructure or certified laborers exist in central Illinois to handle the recycling of material from the Nov. 17 tornado in Washington, and the loss of materials is staggering.
‘It’s atrocious what’s happening in Washington,’ Nicklin said. ‘Driving through and seeing the debris, so much materials are there. We need to ensure, God forbid it happens again, that these materials don’t need to go to the landfill.’
According to Nicklin, 40 to 60 percent of the national waste stream comes from construction and demolition debris, most of which can be recycled. The certificate program is open to both employers who want to expand the diversity of its employees and current students who might be tracking toward a construction, architecture or demolition career. Registration for the spring semester is open on ICC’s website.
Over a 10-week period, Detroit Future City — a Kresge Foundation-funded nonprofit that devised a 50-year planning framework for the city and now works to implement the plan— is teaming with NextEnergy, EcoWorks and an array of other partners to use vacant houses as a laboratory for reusing materials in a process called partial deconstruction.
Instead of just knocking houses down, crews are prying them apart, removing floorboards, unhinging doors and windows, salvaging hardware.
“This is blazing trails we haven’t gotten to before,” Kinkead said Wednesday, at a site in southwest Detroit, where a hard-hat crew was stripping a Pearl Street house down to its frame.
Erin Kelly, a NextEnergy program manager, is overseeing the project, systematically testing different approaches to salvaging building materials in a cost-effective way. The team has tried everything from a meticulous five-day deconstruction — likely to be too expensive for most sites — to a one-day “skimming” process that may prove practical.
The Building Material Reuse Association have just released an accredited training course on deconstruction. Both to be trained as a deconstructionist – but also as a decon teacher!
Check out the links below and see for yourself – this is a well developed comprehensive deconstruction training certificate program. Thanks BMRA!
Building Material Reuse Association Training
We now have a full detail of the training program, credential, and textbook available on the bmra.org website.
Share the flyer with your contacts, sign yourself up to take the first credential exam, or purchase a new copy of the textbook.
As architects we generally see ourselves as providers of new buildings; we also often see architecture as a way to remedy social ills. For many architects, when presented with a social problem, we try to think of a design for a building which addresses it. But what happens when the problem itself is a surplus of buildings?
The process of deconstruction provides more jobs than demolition, which means that the work of Reclaim Detroit is vital in a city with such high unemployment, as evidenced by their profile of one of their Deconstruction Specialists Billy Brown.
Both Recycle Detroit and Reclaim Detroit are initiatives that look at demolition and the contraction of Detroit in a different way. Where many see a symptom of decline and regression, they see demolition as a resource, which rather than being a wasteful way to remove the homes of people long gone, could be a way to benefit the lives of those still living in Detroit.
The program performed very well in the areas of training and placement and made substantial contributions to the metropolitan green job training infrastructure by building local capacity to deliver training Deconstruction & Building Materials Reuse training. Additionally, the program activities contributed to local market development for Deconstruction and Building Materials Reuse.
The program not only exceeded its target number of workers trained by over 30 percent, but perhaps more important, Construction Green Up was able to add six additional environmental industry credentials at no additional cost.
The quality, look and feel of old construction materials — not to mention the stories these remnants tell of another era — are attracting the interest of entrepreneurs and others setting up shop in Detroit.
“It makes us feel much more connected to the city,” said Kevin Borsay, co-owner of the recently renovated Stella Good Coffee in the Fisher Building in Midtown. Borsay and his partners used 100-year-old wood from a home on Cadillac Boulevard for the coffee shop’s countertops.
“It’s like (having) a piece of Detroit history,” he said.
While not a new industry, the popularity of reclaimed wood and other materials from Detroit has spiked in the past few years, thanks to the creation of a nonprofit that makes them easily accessible.
Founded in 2011, Reclaim Detroit — a branch of the WARM Training Center, which promotes green jobs and sustainable housing — has dismantled about 15 homes in the city and Wayne County. The materials — from wood and bricks to doorknobs and windows — are stored in a 6,000-square-foot warehouse on Oakman Boulevard in Detroit.
The salvaged wood has been used in bars and restaurants in Midtown, Corktown and downtown. Companies from Birmingham, Ann Arbor, Woodhaven and other suburbs have bought materials, too.
Even billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert is pining for old Detroit wood. He tapped Reclaim Detroit for a project under construction at the Dime building — now called Chrysler House, said Bob Chapman, executive director of Reclaim Detroit.
Read the entire article via Reclaimed materials from old Detroit buildings finding new life | The Detroit News.
MCT PHOTO Kevin Henderson and Harvey Burrell remove the floor of an Englewood, N.J., home that was being replaced. The ‘deconstruction’ approach allowed the lumber to be donated to Habitat for Humanity and reused…
To dismantle the old Englewood house, Teicher hired a crew from a Baltimore non-profit, Humanim. Interviewed at the house recently, Chris Posko, an operations manager for Humanim, said 80 to 85 percent of a home can typically be saved.
“There’s value in everything,” Posko said. “To be able to get over 1,000 square feet of heart pine flooring (from the Englewood house) is beautiful.” Part of Humanim’s mission is to hire and train the unemployed to do the deconstruction and build their own work record.
The business and workforce training initiative uses funds from legal settlements in bank predatory home lending cases to train the disadvantaged and long-term unemployed.
About 10 are on the payroll now learning how to run a warehouse and inventory and successfully salvage building materials from a selection of the area’s thousands of abandoned homes, Kent said. ARC has deconstructed more than 200 homes in three years.
There’s green in ARC’s mission, too. Kent is keen on keeping historically significant building materials out of the landfills. Kent says he emphasizes skills such as punctuality, attitude, comprehension of tasks, work ethic, leadership and compatibility among workers while deconstructing blighted structures. His target is to do 50 homes per year.
Don’t miss the entire article via Pieces of local architectural history to go on sale | www.daytondailynews.com.
Had the most informative conversation today with Thomas Napier President of the Building Material Reuse Association.
With his permission we are posting this personal and truly great article on deconstruction.
Maine Township High School, Des Plaines, IL circa 1920s.
Along with millions of other young men and women, my father spent his high school and college years struggling through the Great Depression. He was born in Chicago in 1911, and moved to Des Plaines with his family in 1913. Their new house had recently been moved a short distance to clear the right-of-way for the construction of Busse Highway. That’s the way they did things back then.
While not destitute by any means, the family had nothing to spare. My father practiced “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” all his life. Waste offended him. He couldn’t throw anything away that he judged to be useful, if not by us, then by someone else. He routinely rescued “perfectly good stuff” from neighbors’ garbage.
The photograph above shows Maine Township High School in Des Plaines, circa 1920s, which he attended from 1928 through 1932. The building was demolished in 1963 after serving the community for fifty seven years.
I was eleven at that time, and didn’t place any great significance in the school’s demolition. This was a time of great prosperity and progress, and public sentiment was that more modern schools or houses should occupy that site. Demolition was an exciting transition from old to new.
My father saw something different. He saw materials being wasted. He saw an opportunity to rescue “perfectly good stuff” and put it to good use. While doubtless motivated by sentiment to some degree, he was interested in more than grabbing a souvenir brick or two. We sorted through the debris to find useable lumber and bricks. He cautioned me about nails, glass, and unstable rubble, but never considered that I should not be there helping him. We took responsibility for ourselves, and didn’t complain if we got nicked here and there. That’s the way they did things when he was growing up. We stacked 2×12’s on the roof of our Ford, loaded bricks in the trunk, and hauled them home.
We hauled several loads, and while making only a small, perhaps symbolic dent in the debris stream, we recovered a worthwhile stock of materials. The bricks were used mostly for landscaping in our yard, and the lumber served a variety of purposes from garage renovation to a new fireplace mantel. Neither of us thought our efforts were extraordinary, so these exercises were conducted without fanfare, photographs, or written account. I never imagined this story would become part of a seminar on deconstruction.
Decades later I had the good fortune to become involved in the subject of construction and demolition waste reduction. Only by seeing the wastefulness of our construction industries could I fully appreciate what my father was doing. He was practicing an ethic borne of necessity, not fashion. This was his culture, his value scheme. He didn’t need to read William McDonough’s Cradle to Cradle to recognize people behave differently in times of scarcity than in times of abundance. He didn’t need “green building,” “deconstruction,” or “embodied energy” in his vocabulary to feel a moral obligation to conserve finite resources. He lived it himself, up close and personal. Even though we no longer experienced the scarcity of his youth, waste was still very wrong.