Workers dismantle the old coal-fired power plant on the Burlington waterfront which closed down in 1986. The long-awaited redevelopment is removing the outer brick layer of the building and retaining the interior steel framework, the centerpiece of a new city park on a waterfront that was once devoted to industry.
Adam Corneil sparked the attention of all six Dragons’ Den judges after pitching his deconstruction business. (Screenshot from Dragon’s Den Oct. 29, 2020 episode)
By the end of Corneil’s pitch, he had all six dragons offering him a deal and walked away with the potential for $600,000 ($100,000 from each dragon) at 18 per cent.
As British architect Spencer de Grey of Foster + Partners has remarked, “…with the increasing pressure of sustainability, of survival on this planet, we need, at all times, to be making the best use of what is already built. So, the challenge I think for today, is to find ways of bringing new life to those buildings.”
Yantic Falls in Norwich Friday, October 23, 2020. The City of Norwich is moving forward on plans to develop the park area around the falls. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
“Reutilizing the building will create a more attractive view,” City Planner Deanna Rhodes said. “Deconstruction will be an homage to what was there before, the mill history, and also will provide the viewshed that makes that whole area so significant.”
Keyshauwn Lewis works on pulling nails from lumber reused from the Flexsteel building that was deconstructed recently.
“We are mining the value in demolition,” he said. “1.2 million pounds of wood has been salvaged to date, and there is still more. There’s literally millions of pounds of material that was taken out of that building and would have gone in a landfill.”
“Once materials – raw materials – leave the biosphere and enter the technosphere because they are processed, we need to keep them in the technosphere and recycle or reuse them as much as possible,” Pralle said. “For that we need to create a deconstruction industry as powerful and elaborate as the mining industry.” Pralle said the success of a deconstruction industry
A house on Vancouver’s West Side being dismantled by the group Unbuilders is seen on Sept. 30, 2020.
“What you’re going to see over the next five years is a rollout of deconstruction policy across the board,” said Corniel. “So, we’re the first of our kind in Canada, doing what we do, but this will be the typical way that houses are taken down and taken apart in the future.”
The government needs to go further with its circular economy plans if the UK is to reduce its waste and make a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to engineers from the University of Sheffield.
Adding circular economy principles to the planning process would put greater emphasis on retrofitting buildings, designing for adaptability, deconstruction and reuse of materials at end of life. It would both reduce waste, and help to reduce the UK’s demand for new materials.
A blighted Pine Street home is taken apart by DON ReClaim! workers.
“It was hot, hard work, but extremely rewarding, and demonstrates very clearly there is a real market for these materials. They just need to be reclaimed and offered for sale.”
Holly Springs resident Mark Whitlock used his over 30 years of experience in the salvaging business to construct a building from mostly recycled materials. This building is the first new one in the Town Center District.
“All of the floor has been reclaimed out of a building in Pennsylvania, which used to be a part of an old school house,” Whitlock said. “A building in Kentucky was taken down by a fire, so I salvaged about six tractor trailer loads of it and turned it into furniture. I also brought back 13 tractor trailer loads of lights and light fixtures from Texas to use to create my own light fixtures. Every light fixture in the house was made from these materials and the ones I didn’t use for the light fixtures in my h
More than 20 million tonnes (or megatonnes, MT) of waste was generated in 2017 from the construction and demolition industry – more than a third of Australia’s waste production. And nearly all of it is sent to landfill.
To be eligible, the structure must be a home or apartment with up to four units built before 1950 and with a renovation area of at least 250 square feet. Moreover, six material types need to be removed to be reused and at least 550 pounds of wood must be salvaged from the project. All non-reusable building materials must be sent to a county-approved C&D recycler.
The Zippered Pavilion is constructed of Zippered Wood technology, which uses short lengths of waste 2x4s.
Many commercial buildings have a life cycle of about 10 years (think about strip malls and office parks, for example), and yet most architects approach their work as if it’s permanent. “Architects never think about how their buildings come down,” Swackhamer said. “There is no incentive to think about decay.”
Anderson Media: Danna Sanderson at the Foundary in Sault Ste. Marie.
“The minute we buy a building, I’m in there with chisels and hammers,” said Danna. “The point of buying an old building isn’t to tear down everything, it’s to save what you can.”
“At least we can salvage, and save parts of the building and keep some of these in circulation,” Snyder said. “We’ve done quite a bit of salvage work.”
The Prairie Barn Brothers are taking on their biggest project yet: the deconstruction of a 126 x 68 two-storey timber frame barn. (Stefanie Davis/CTV News)
“There’s so many different unique applications you can do with the barn wood that just makes it stunning,” he said. “We regularly get cedar, fir, spruce and spine as the major types of wood.”
The Phoenix Net Loft has deteriorated even further, according to a recent engineering report, and could cause contamination to the Fraser River if it collapsed.
Photograph By FILE PHOTO
City staff are asking council to approve a plan to deconstruct the 1940s building where fishing nets were cleaned and repaired until the early 2000s, but the plan includes keeping as many of the “heritage elements” as possible.
Skanska’s Jimmy Mitchell has been a strong advocate for salvaged building materials for more than a decade.
From Long Beach to Boston, a new generation of organizations has grown up around the deconstruction of buildings and the sale of reusable materials. They’re often nonprofits backed by local architects, builders and environmental groups. Their aim is to build a supply chain that puts salvaged goods on equal footing with new products and materials.
A 2016 photo of the U.S. Gypsum marine loading crib in Tawas Bay on Lake Huron, offshore of the company’s former mine and overwater tramway in Alabaster Township, Mich. (Garret Ellison | MLive)Garret Ellison | MLive
As part of a mutual agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USG stated that it will be documenting the deconstruction of the historic structure for archiving purposes. Images will regularly be shared on the company’s webpage.
Wesley Posvar Jr.
“It’s a project started by Jay Troutman to make sure we reuse and repurpose as much of the materials and plants as we can,” he said. “It started with the plants,” said Mr. Troutman, vice president of Fox Chapel Borough Council.
Jocelyn Aucoin of the Canning-based 1850 House specializes in dismantling historic structures by hand and salvaging material that can be reused. – Ashley Thompson
Aucoin sees the growing popularity of tiny homes as an opportunity to find another use for the reclaimed material 1850 House is able to salvage by carefully dismantling heritage homes in a manner the significantly reduces the amount of waste bound for a landfill.
The city needs to use original brick to reconstruct the corner of 234 Butler St. Photo by Meg Capone
Federal and state officials have upheld an agreement with the city to reuse tens of thousands of original bricks to restore the facade of the historic Gowanus Station site when construction crews tear down the building for a new water-filtration facility, according to an April 21 letter.
Meanwhile, the ordinance’s continued suspension provides more time to develop a market for materials recycled from deconstructed houses. Selling those materials helps reduce the higher cost of deconstruction.
The National Association of Home Builders reports that 58,600 houses were removed from their lots in 2017 to make way for newer, almost always larger, houses. Many of them were obsolete places that nobody wanted, and the land under most was probably more valuable than the houses themselves. But instead of being demolished, at least some could have been deconstructed: taken apart systematically so their parts could be reused.
Image: author provided.
Advanced sensors and AI that can detect quickly and determine accurately what can be used among CDW and efficient robotic sorting could aid circular construction by vastly improving the recycling of a wide range of materials. The focus should be on the smart dismantling of buildings and ways of optimising cost-effective processes.
“In a demolition project, the entire building is demolished and wrecked,” said Olivia Cashman, construction and waste specialist with Hennepin County. “Whereas in a deconstruction project, the building is taken a part and it’s typically by hand so that process typically takes a lot more labor and time.”
This article explores how heritage values can be productively sustained or transformed by processes of building deconstruction and materials reuse, which address the increasing magnitude of demolition waste, landfill and resource use in urban development. The article starts by examining literature in heritage studies, sustainable building, and discard studies, then presents two examples from Vancouver, a Canadian city under intense development pressure, to help frame questions from project and policy contex
Hennepin County has a total of about $100,000 in deconstruction grants available for 2020.
PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL – Workers have started building vertical on the new City Hall building.
Redevelopment Manager Sidaro Sin said contractors were able to recycle 90% of the two existing buildings — a former medical office and doggy day care — that were on the property where the new City Hall is being built. That was about 15% more than the contractors’ original goal.
A 2017 UN Environment report estimated the building sector contributes 49 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions thus making it the single largest contributor to climate change. Globally, building operations account for 28 percent of GHG emissions and the embodied carbon of building materials–the emissions generated in the production, transport, and assembly of materials such as wood, concrete, and steel–accounts for another 11 percent.
Jeremiah Logemann rummages through a storage locker Friday to show off some of the parts from the St. Raphael steeple that he plans to turn into pieces of art. St. Raphael in Downtown Madison was destroyed by fire in 2005. Since its demolition in 2008, the steeple has been kept in a lot along East Washington Avenue, but Logemann assumed ownership of the spire in June when the Madison Diocese was looking for a way to dispose of the 18-ton structure. STEVE APPS/STATESMAN JOURNAL
“I’ve been busy as hell since that day. It’s kind of miraculous,” Logemann said. “There are a lot of people in Madison that either just want art to make their place look cooler or they like the story of the steeple or a barn or they’re philanthropists. It doesn’t matter where their heart is at. We’ve got the material and I have the drive to make it. We can make great public art all over this city.”
Worker removes plaster from a brick wall with a perforatorGETTY
If the salvageable material from deconstructing your house is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, you should not need to pay somebody to take the house apart so that you can give the pieces to charity. There should be people waving money in front of your face to come in and take it apart.
For about six months last year, the St. Louis Development Corporation hired workers to carefully take apart a former storage warehouse in the Vandeventer neighborhood and saved lumber, brick and other materials for reuse.
DAVID KOVALUK | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO
“Each job is like a cadaver. You get to dissect the building, see how it was put together, how it worked, how it could fail,” Schwarz said. “And each job is different. You don’t always know going into it what exactly is going to be there.”
Dismantling a historic barn is an exacting process, requiring weeks of logistical planning. Because the team hopes to repurpose every piece of wood, most work is done by hand, with the occasional support of heavy machinery. “The barn has its own plan,” says manager Anthony Saraceno. “There are always surprises.” Photo by Joe Polillio
Each salvage job is unique. In the case of Pitney Farm, a portion of the grounds is to be converted into a public park. Some of the salvaged wood was set aside to build benches for the park. Real Antique Wood will repurpose the rest. “I’ve probably made 25 mantels from the beams of that barn already,” says Anthony Saraceno, who manages the mill and Real Antique Wood.
‘To me, this indicates the need to further question the current practices of the construction sector. How is it that something so simple and obvious as keeping reusable resources intact and in circulation can have become so complicated to put into practice?’
The crews carefully deconstruct old homes to rescue as many reusable materials as possible, including old growth timber.
With the climate crisis in our face, and the need to keep forests in the ground, Corneil recognized an opportunity for a holistic approach to demolition. He shifted his Vancouver construction business two years ago into a deconstruction company called the Unbuilders, and business is good.
The volunteer group started recycling the bricks from the former Harbour Board building in 2018.
A community effort to recycle material from Whangārei’s old Harbour Board building has come to a close and after two and a half years of chipping, project leader Andrew Garratt is counting nearly 40,000 bricks to be used in the new Hundertwasser Arts Centre.
Ethical bank Triodos claim their new headquarters is the world’s first totally demountable office building. Photograph: Ossip van Duivenbode
With a structure made entirely from wood, it has been designed with mechanical fixings so that every element can be reused, with all material logged and designed for easy disassembly.
“It can be hard to describe exactly what we do because we do a lot! Our deconstruction team takes apart old buildings; our resale team finds new homes for the reclaimed materials; and our Refab Lab crew turns some of those materials into high-quality home furnishings. On top of all that, we provide training and reemployment opportunities to recently homeless men.”
Throwback from 2015.
From the chapel, more than 250 tons of material was reused or recycled with almost 85 percent diversion, and nearly 700 tons of material was reused or recycled from the laundry with a 73 percent diversion rate. Overall, the three buildings totaled 1,717 tons of material of which 1,246 tons was reused or recycled, making the project a successful venture.
Policies worldwide recognize that the construction sector needs to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tackle the climate crisis and limit resource depletion, with a focus on adopting a circular economy approach in construction to ensure the sustainable use of construction materials.
Instead of simply knocking buildings down and sending the CDW to landfill, circular construction would turn building components that are at the end of their service life into resources for others, minimizing waste.
Imploding the building was an option but considered too risky to public safety.
“You can’t put a dollar value on health and safety.” Deconstruction was a more conservative option but the company did not want to end up in court if demolition caused problems.
“We are already selling pieces from the hotel’s interior on our website. Items for sale include light fixtures fashioned from Venetian glass and French crystal, along with more than 40 marble mantels carved in a variety of styles, including a $40,000 inlaid marble mantel from the US Ambassadors Suite. More affordable items include steak knives ($25), polished bronze swan hook ($45), stainless steel slotted egg spoon ($20), and a steel ice scoop ($10),” added Browne.
Workers from the Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse have already begun the deconstruction process as part of YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s long-term expansion plan. (YWCA Evanston/North Shore)
YWCA is partnering with the Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse because the local non-profit organization employs high quality, sustainable deconstruction practices.
Homes along Laukahi Street with Hawaii Loa Ridge homes in the background, 2015. The City and County of Honolulu could pass a law to require better use of teardowns.
Seeing the pile of rubbish that was once a house made of beautiful clear heart redwood, I could not help thinking about the environmental activists, U.S. National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service staff who have worked for decades in California to save the remaining giant redwoods from logging, while here in Hawaii we are using them for landfill. There was a significant value loss as well since similar redwood boards (8-feet-by-8-feet) would cost at least $50 each if bought locally.
A work crew deconstructs a Southeast Portland home in 2015 (The Oregonian/File)
The majority of council members said Wednesday that they plan to approve the ordinance, and Commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty and Chloe Eudaly said they would like to see a more severe penalty for violators. A first offense can lead to a fine of up to $500 and a third or more can be up to $1,500. “I support everything else, but I think if you’re going to hold people accountable, they’ve got to feel it,” Hardesty said. “This is not something that they’re going to feel.”
“Number one, it’s an economic driver,” said 15th District Alderman Russell Stamper II. “We’re providing opportunities for individuals to learn skills on how to deconstruct, put some money in their pocket, and most of all have a job right here in the city of Milwaukee.”
This was the first deconstruction project in the City of Milwaukee since the passage of an ordinance in January, 2018 which hopes to create a new market for repurposed building materials, reduction of waste and job creation for Milwaukee residents.
Buildings like the vacant row houses in Baltimore can be demolished, but they can also be deconstructed to salvage the materials. The salvaging process requires much more time and labor than demolition. For Baltimore – a city with an unemployment rate of nearly 5%, climbing up to 15% or more in some neighborhoods, and a poverty rate nearly double the national average – this presents an opportunity.
Prasad would like to see architects ‘go for it’ even without the requirements of the London Plan. He said: ‘Circular economy applies to buildings of all scale and all types, and I would love to see it being applied to smaller buildings than the threshold indicates at the moment.’ He said this was not ‘a glum duty’ or ‘dreadful imposition’. ‘It’s a fantastic opportunity to innovate and think in different ways. And the lovely thing is, it can be done on so many fronts. As the name implies, the circular econo