Tag Archives: BMRA

Introduction: Joe Connell, Incoming Executive Director- BMRA News, November 2017

BMRA Interim Executive Director, Joe Connell

I am excited about leading the BMRA into its next stage because I believe that it is only together as an industry that we can address the issues facing us. Across the country there are countless building material reuse companies and organizations operating to save our resources. Yet way too often we operate alone, or in organizational silos. My vision is that we can all embrace the same goals, and support each other to the same ends.

Source: BMRA News, November 2017

Nothing In Nature Is Wasted: Reclaimed Wood | WXPR

Two national examples of this trend toward reclaimed wood are the Building Materials Reuse Association, which is a nonprofit educational organization with a mission to facilitate the salvage and reuse of building materials, and more locally, the Habitat for Humanity ReStores, which are retail outlets where used and surplus building materials are sold. Approximately 30% of sales are wood-based materials. Nationally, more than 55 million tons of wood waste is generated on an annual basis. About half of this material is of acceptable size, quality, and condition to be considered available for recovery. Clearly, the amount of waste wood available for recovery in the U.S. is a substantial figure.

Source: Nothing In Nature Is Wasted: Reclaimed Wood | WXPR

Fewer CO2 emissions by reusing others’ ‘stuff’ » Yale Climate Connections

Anne Nicklin, executive director of the Building Materials Reuse Association, which represents suppliers of used construction parts, says that only a “a very tiny percentage” of useful items currently is salvaged from building demolitions. Times are changing, though, she says. Governmental officials, mostly at the municipal and county levels, are discovering that reclaiming stuff from torn-down buildings helps them conserve landfill space and avoid the economic and environmental downsides of trucking waste to far-off disposal sites. “They realize that they have a problem and that this is the best available solution.”

Source: Fewer CO2 emissions by reusing others’ ‘stuff’ » Yale Climate Connections

BMRA News June 2016

On October 31 of this year Portland plans to implement a policy requiring deconstruction on any demolition of a house or duplex which was built in 1916 or earlier.  Pre-1917 houses currently account for approximately one-third of the 300+ demolitions taking place in the city each year.

A number of BMRA members have been involved with the effort to develop, pass and implement a deconstruction ordinance in Portland.  BMRA member Sara Badiali, of the Reclamation Administration and also a member of the City of Portland Deconstruction Advisory Group touts the pioneering aspect of this effort:

“The City of Portland, Oregon’s Deconstruction Ordinance is unique as the very first in the world to lawfully require dismantling buildings for reuse. Its historical precedence lays the foundation for other laws to be created to close the loop in our building material waste streams. I am honored to be on the team that created the Deconstruction Ordinance and I am thrilled for the future of the planet.”

Source: BMRA News June 2016

BMRA News, January 2016 – Decon ’16 Update


DECON ’16 Update

Time is drawing closer to the DECON ’16 conference and expo in Raleigh, North Carolina, February 29 – March 3.  If you have not yet registered, make your plans and get started here.  There will be speakers providing the latest research and hottest topics in building deconstruction, salvage and building materials reuse.  This is an opportunity to network with others in this field that only comes every couple of years, so we urge you to take advantage of it.  Register now!

The conference program is coming together, accepted speakers are being posted on a rolling basis.

An exciting class is planned for the days just after the main conference.  Added Value: A Hands-on Guide to Setting up your Reclaimed Wood Shop.  The BMRA has partnered with the Department of Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University to develop the ideal course to get your reclaimed woodshop up and running. This 1.5 day course will run on Thursday March 2nd (9-5) and Friday March 3rd (9-3), with plenty of time on Friday evening to catch your flight home.

Full details available here.

via BMRA News, January 2016.

Building Material Reuse Association – Editorial on Measuring the Impact of the Reuse Industry

We need to measure the size and impact of the Building Materials Reuse Industry in an organized way.
The editorial this month was going to be on wood as an important material in the building salvage industry in the United States. Indeed, wood is one of the materials most recovered from buildings. Whole businesses are dedicated to reclaimed wood from large timbers used as structural elements in large old buildings. Most general building salvage operations have a significant amount of lumber, but they also carry a lot of other items that are made out of wood or wood products. Cabinets, doors, flooring, trim, paneling, even some higher end windows have a lot of wood, and usually the wood is in a form that cannot be recycled — which makes reuse the best option. But how much wood reuse is going on? How much of salvaged material is wood or a wood product such as MDF or particle board? How many businesses are actively salvaging wood or selling reusable building materials? How does the practice of salvage and reuse of wood and wood products vary from region to region?

Continue reading Building Material Reuse Association – Editorial on Measuring the Impact of the Reuse Industry

Q+A: Anne Nicklin, Executive Director of the Building Materials Reuse Association, on Material Salvage | Architect Magazine

Anne Nicklin, executive director at the Chicago-based Building Materials Reuse Association

What should the architecture community know about building-material salvage and reuse?

Architects are becoming more curious about how to design for reuse. We get a lot of questions about selection—for example, how to pick out doors and store them for a few years [until the project is complete]. I encourage people to think about the process the same way they think about stone. You can specify a stone finish and then, often, when you’re ready for it in construction you can pick out your piece from what’s available. I don’t think architects realize how much they can reuse on their own sites. On most sites there’s a building that came down and still has a lot of [functional] materials—plywood, joists, glulam, stud walls, commercial steel—that are incredibly expensive to buy but are undervalued in the reuse market.


via Q+A: Anne Nicklin, Executive Director of the Building Materials Reuse Association, on Material Salvage | Architect Magazine | Products, Salvaged Materials, Renewable Materials, Recycled Materials, Sustainable Materials.

Reclamation Administration / Decon ’16 – Building Material Reuse Association Conference – Reclamation Administration


The Decon Expo is back, the conference on deconstruction, building materials reuse, and C&D recycling.  This event is a lively, informative conference on the latest in deconstruction technology and materials-reuse applications featuring hands-on learning excursions, top speakers, networking events, business growth strategies, and more.


Decon ’16 is calling on all experts, innovators, and passionate persons – help make Decon ’16 an event to remember.

Submit your presentation here.



We’re soliciting folks to not just help organize the conference, but to develop industry solutions for important issue like appraisals and data collection.  

Sign up today to shape the future.

The Building Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) is a 501 c3 non-profit educational and research organization whose mission is to advance the recovery, reuse and recycling of building materials.

  • Reduce the consumption of new resources
  • Reduce landfill waste and pollution
  • Create value-added markets and increase cost-effectiveness
  • Expand job opportunities and workforce development skills
  • Promote the sustainability of communities and the environment through resource preservation

We can be reached via email or by phone: 773-340-BMRA (773-340-2672) email: contact@bmra.org

Our Mailing Address is: P.O. Box 47776 Chicago, IL 60647 

Copyright © 2015 Building Materials Reuse Association, All rights reserved.

via Reclamation Administration / Decon ’16 – Building Material Reuse Association Conference – Reclamation Administration.

BMRA DeconExpo


Join us for a lively, informative conference on the latest in deconstruction technology and materials-reuse applications and help choose hands-on learning excursions, top speakers, networking events, business growth strategies, and more!

via BMRA DeconExpo.

On Wisconsin: Wooden bullet helps researchers make affordable shelters : Wsj

Safe room testing

Bob Falk, a research engineer at Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, stands near an air cannon that fires 2-by-4s at 100 miles per hour into a wall designed for a tornado safe room. The walls of the room are made of interlocking pieces of lumber, making the rooms more affordable.

That’s why Falk and his team of engineers have been using an air cannon to fire, at 100 mph, 12-foot long, 15-pound southern pine 2-by-4s into specially designed walls made of some of the cheapest wood available.

The cannon mimics the forces of an F5 tornado with 250-mph winds. The lumber used to make the walls of the shelter is of such low quality, Falk had to specially order it because he couldn’t find it at area lumber yards or hardware stores.

“This is quite a resilient design,” Falk said after a test shot. “All we’re trying to do is absorb the energy.”

The goal is to create an economical wood-based shelter that can be easily constructed in a basement or garage by anyone halfway skilled with a hammer and saw. The process for making a tornado safe room could be similar to that of building a storage shed that comes in a kit.

“You buy the lumber, you take it home, you put it together,” Falk said. “And that’s an important aspect. Most safe rooms you can only put into new (homes).”

Safe room testing

via On Wisconsin: Wooden bullet helps researchers make affordable shelters : Wsj.

C&D recycling and deconstruction training offered – CDR – Construction & Demolition Recycling

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.

via C&D recycling and deconstruction training offered – CDR – Construction & Demolition Recycling.

Board of Directors – Call for Nominations | Building Materials Reuse Association


Board of Directors – Call for Nominations

Event News

The BMRA is holding elections to fill open 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.

The BMRA is seeking individuals with experience in: marketing, nonprofit law, organizational development, fundraising, website optimization, accounting and financial management, business networking, event coordination, membership management and grant writing.

Responsibilities: Board members are required to attend a two hour meeting once a month, and commit to six hours of service per month. The board of directors serves as leadership and staff of the BMRA. The current year’s work plan is availible for review.

If you have any questions about board service, please contact either board chair Sara Badiali at Sara.Badiali@bmra.org or the president of the board Tom Napier at Tnapier@bmra.org.

If you would like to be included as a candidate, please complete this questionnaire.

All nominations should be submitted no later than March 21st, 2014.  The full roster of candidates will be made available at the BMRA Annual Member’s Meeting, with voting to take place in the days following the meeting.

via Board of Directors – Call for Nominations | Building Materials Reuse Association.

Drowning in Demolition – by Sara Badiali

For an updated, comprehensive look at Demolition Health Hazards and Waste (including water) Read: Deconstruction vs. Demolition: Portland, Oregon’s Potential for Groundbreaking Health and Safety Studies in Building Demolition – By Sara Badiali

In 2008 while working in DeConstruction Services for The ReBuilidng Center in Portland, Oregon I researched water usage in demolition.  I was biking to work and saw the Wonder Bread Headquarters building being demolished. The building was still full of furniture and I remember seeing papers flying out of the filing cabinets.  Huge hoses propelled water into the air and soaked materials as they fell off the open floors.  It wasn’t until later that I realized even though I talked to people every day about the benefits of deconstruction over demolition, I never said anything about water conservation.

Six years later I still do not see water conservation in the list of reasons why deconstruction is beneficial. Materials saved produce markets and economic benefits.  Jobs are created and the list of environmental advantages including emissions reductions are facts that are well used.  It is time to add water conservation and air quality to our curriculum.

In 2008 my research on water usage in demolition lead me to Trip Turner a Project Manager at Elder Demolition.  He explained that the hoses they used to spray the water for dust suppression were one to two inches in diameter. That the water is typically stopped from going into the sewer systems by caps and then collected to be disposed of as hazardous materials.  Why hazardous material? Trip explained that the water picks up benzene, a chemical in natural gas along with other particulates.  He told me that to demolish a 5,000 square foot building they typically use 6,000 gallons of water.  That comes out to roughly 1.2 gallons of water per square foot of building.

That is over a gallon of clean water for every square foot of building that is being demolished to keep air quality on a demolition site legally safe.

Continue reading Drowning in Demolition – by Sara Badiali

Training | Building Materials Reuse Association

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.

Deconstruction Curriculum

Deconstructor Credential

Master Trainers

2013 Pricing for Training

Training Curriculum Flyer


Training | Building Materials Reuse Association.

Recycled Building Materials | WTTW Chicago

It could be argued that most building materials are recycled: wood, brick, and stone, after all, are just reuses of other materials. But today, driven by economic and environmental forces as well as aesthetic considerations, builders are experimenting with a wide variety of recycled and reclaimed materials – wood used in previous buildings, discarded shipping containers, cans, bottles, tires, and phone books. Many modern buildings make use of just about anything that might provide shelter, insulation, or decoration.

via Recycled Building Materials | WTTW Chicago.

Urban Habitat Chicago › A Short, Informal Essay About Deconstruction Ethic Before Deconstruction Was Invented

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.

Thanks Tom!

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.

Continue reading Urban Habitat Chicago › A Short, Informal Essay About Deconstruction Ethic Before Deconstruction Was Invented

BMRA Decon ’13 – Register Today!

Decon13-iconWhether you have one day or all three, you can choose the days you want to attend the conference. Because BMRA wants the broadest mix of building materials reuse advocates possible, we offer special admission prices for students. There are discounts for BMRA members, speakers at the conference, and additional discounts for those registering early- the earlier you register, the better the price. Register now!

The General Admission price is for all non-student conference guests. It covers all three days of the event plus conference meals.

If you’re a member, you can save with a discount code of 10% off on your registration.

Click here to request your membership coupon code.

General Admission + BMRA Membership


Has your BMRA membership lapsed? Looking to support the field of recovery and reuse by becoming a first time member? Here’s an opportunity to sign up for membership and receive an automatic discount on your Decon ’13 registration.

Students who want to attend Decon’ 13 have two options: they can register for the conference with meals for $225.00 or without meals for only $75.

Choose any day that’s good for your for you. $225.

If you’re a member, you can save with a discount code of 10% off on your registration.

Click here to request your membership coupon code.

Are you bringing a bunch of your friends with you to Seattle? Or looking for an affordable way to bring your whole decon crew?  When you buy multiple tickets at once, there are big discounts.

via Registration – BMRA Decon ’13.

Salvage and Reuse of Building Materials was not considered when EPA created RRP

The December 2011 issue of Qualified Remodeler featured a story about deconstruction (page 18), which prompted a reader to ask whether the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule impacts the reuse of building materials.

The Chicago-based Building Materials Reuse Association also was concerned about how RRP would affect the deconstruction and salvage industry. In January 2010, BMRA submitted a letter to EPA in which it asked EPA to help interpret the scope of the rule. Bob Falk, Ph.D., P.E., research engineer with the USDA Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wis., and BMRA’s current president, says the letter specifically asked “Does the RRP rule apply to the salvage and reuse of building materials or components that may contain lead-based paint from target housing?”

The letter asked EPA to comment about BMRA’s interpretation of the rule, which is as follows: “While the rule does make reference to ‘waste management’ and addresses the disposition of ‘waste’ and ‘debris,’ we could find no reference to the disposition of salvaged building materials intended for reuse. As the RRP rule does not explicitly address the disposition of nonwaste materials, our interpretation is that the salvage and reuse of building materials that may contain lead-based paint is outside the scope of the RRP rule. We further assume that state regulations will dictate the reuse, resale or disposal of lead-based-paint-coated materials.”

Continue reading Salvage and Reuse of Building Materials was not considered when EPA created RRP