Adam Corneil’s Vancouver company UnBuild, offers an environmental alternative to building demolitions and cost savings for homeowners.
This North Vancouver home, at 5,000 square feet, is one of the largest projects Unbuilders has taken on. After three weeks, they have completed the front-end salvage and the strip-out of the four units. The entire project, from start to finish, is estimated to take six weeks. Photo by Michelle Gamage.
And now, as some 3,000 homes are being torn down in Metro Vancouver each year, the material is being sent to landfill or, in the case of the lumber, being burned for heat or energy. “It’s really not waste — it is wasted. This is all reusable material,” Corneil said, gesturing around the home.
Harvest Power CEO Christian Kasper says his New Westminster construction and demolition waste facility is operating at capacity. (Jared Thomas/CBC)
Waste from construction and demolition sites are piling up so quickly that recycling facilities say they’re having a tough time keeping up with demand.
“This [New Westminster] facility receives about 500 tones per day, that’s our maximum permitted capacity and that is what we are taking in right now.”
Architecture professor Susan Herringer says Vancouver’s dwindling Modernist stock of houses is considered exemplary of the style. (Evan Ho / Remax)
Ms. Oberlander, who is 94 years old and still working on major projects, says he spent $300,000 or more on painstaking upgrades that were sensitive to the Lassere design, including geothermal heat and high-end appliances in the kitchen that were customized with a colour to fit with the Modernist era. Dr. Friedman had tried to have the house preserved with a heritage designation, but it is in the University Endowment Lands jurisdiction, which is governed by the province. He was told a designation wasn’t available.
Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, 92, in New York. (Eric Thayer / For the Globe and Mail)
Meanwhile, the listing agent has received several offers on the house, which he’ll present April 27 to the board members. Vancouver will lose another piece of its history.
For Ms. Oberlander, her community is being dismantled. She shakes her head.
“It makes me feel sick.”
Demolition of a heritage home at 3330 West King Edward, Vancouver. (Caroline Adderson)
Heritage activist and antiques expert Robert McNutt was driving by when he saw it, so he pulled over to watch. He got chatting with a young woman with a stroller who was startled to see the house being smashed to smithereens. She was under the common misconception that the old character houses were being carefully dismantled, the old lumber and fixtures salvaged and repurposed.
“I told her, ‘No, this poor house will become wood pellets, and possibly turned into toilet paper or some other paper product,’” Mr. McNutt says. “That’s the way they do it now.”
The Legg House was demolished last June to make way for a tower. Doors from the heritage residence are among the items for sale at the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s sale of architectural salvage items. Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG
Ironic in that we tear down 1900s arts and crafts homes, built with old-growth fir, leaded casement windows, wood-planked floors, stained glass windows and French pocket doors, and replace them with boxy pseudo Craftsman eyesores hastily constructed of chipboard and drywall, the solid wood and artistic detail of yore replaced by slapped-on stucco and MDF.
The long-vacant Infantry Barracks at Fort Vancouver will be renovated into studio and one-bedroom apartments over the next year as part of an $8.3 million “adaptive reuse” project involving four buildings. (Natalie Behring/The Columbian)
The city of Vancouver is funding the $8.3 million project with a combination of state grants, revenue generated from operation of Fort Vancouver property and city bonds, including “mini-bonds” that citizens can purchase for $500 to $10,000.
“Anything we can do to preserve and restore those buildings, we should do that,” Mayor Pro Tem Larry Smith told the city council at last Monday’s workshop. “This is probably one of the greatest assets of our community.”
New regulations could soon restrict the demolition of older Vancouver homes and require at least 75 per cent of the waste material be recycled or reused. (CBC)
The City of Vancouver could soon ban the demolition of homes built before 1940, and require anyone planning to knock one down to deconstruct it piece by piece and sort the materials for recycling.The proposal follows increasing concerns about the demolition of heritage and character homes in Vancouver.
On average three homes are demolished in Vancouver everyday, of which 40 per cent are pre-1940s homes that give many neighbourhoods their character.The proposed regulation would require recycling or reuse of 75 per cent of the waste from a pre-1940s home and 90 per cent of the waste from one which has been identified as a character home.
Miles Timmis (below) throws metal salvaged during ‘deconstruction’ of a South Surrey home into a bin Thursday.— Image Credit: Tracy Holmes Photos
“There’s just too much stuff going to the landfill,” he said.
He noted benefits to developers who choose the environmentally friendlier route are catching on.
In Vancouver, there is no delay in getting permits if there is a plan for deconstruction – a time savings Timmis said can amount to six weeks. The City of Surrey is working on implementing a similar program, he said.
What looks like a giant pile of rubble outside the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Vancouver is actually an art installation by Chinese art collective MadeIn Company titled Calm. All is not as it seems. Pass by in a hurry and you’ll hardly notice this giant pile of broken cement blocks, grass, and construction waste, but stand next to it for just a moment and you’ll notice something almost imperceptible: the entire pile of rubble is moving, slightly undulating atop a giant hidden reservoir of water.
Calm’s ambiguity and unexpected ability to move provoke us to question ways of observing, believing and understanding facts, and remind us that the truth often differs from what it seems. In this context, Calm comments on the concerns that arise alongside urban development and the gentrification of residential neighbourhoods, whether in Vancouver or Shanghai. While the volume of construction in Vancouver might pale in comparison and scale to that of Shanghai, there are currently several retail and residential expansions underway within a five-kilometre radius of Offsite.
Holy-Cats! This guy is awesome!
George Robson is laboriously deconstructing the B.C. Rail station in North Vancouver, and moving much of it to his south Langley farm.
At age 73, he’s certainly old enough to know better.
“I should be,” laughs the septuagenarian.
“I’ve retired twice, but it didn’t take.
“So I’m still working.”
Within three months — if all goes well, and he’s not sure about that — Robson intends to transform the former North Vancouver rail freight shed into a giant Langley barn for storing hay and farm equipment.
Read the article via North Vancouver rail shed has a future — as a hay barn in Langley.
METRO VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Metro Vancouver’s waste committee says too much junk from construction sites goes to the dump.
More than 20 per cent of what ended up in the landfill last year was demolition waste; it worked out to 307,000 tonnes in 2011. Surrey City Councillor Marvin Hunt tells us they’re looking at a few ways to fix the problem.
“In getting the demolition permit, should it be part of the demolition permit itself that you say how you’re going to recycle? Where are these materials going to go to?” he wonders.
“We have our building permits to build in the first place. How are we building the building so that [it] in fact can be recycled at the end of its use?” he adds.
The committee wants to get cities on-board before introducing such by-laws.
MAPLE RIDGE, BC — JULY 15, 2012 — Bruce MacDonald of Western Reclaimed Timber discusses his company’s process of reclaiming quality construction materials in Maple Ridge on July 15, 2012.
Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost , PNG
There’s a lot of spilled beer and good memories on the back of a flat-deck truck at Western Reclaimed Timber’s property beside the Fraser River in Maple Ridge.
Stacked on the truck is about 2,000 board feet of laminated structural beams — known as “glulams,” layers of woods bonded together — removed during construction work at the Fraser Arms Hotel on South West Marine Drive in Vancouver.
“They’re excellent,” allows Western owner Bruce MacDonald, who’s been in the wood-recycling business for 25 years. “Nothing wrong with them at all.”
Crews remove nails from the beams and use metal detectors to probe for potentially dangerous metal bits not visible to the naked eye.
The beams will be visually graded according to knots and cracks, then milled into a variety of wood products that could include tongue-and-groove flooring, timber frames, table and counter tops, decking for boats, and wraps for steel beams.
The wood may be old — made from ancient Douglas felled around the 1950s — but in today’s wood-construction market, old has never seemed newer.
“The old look is in,” MacDonald confirms. “It’s highly sought after.”
The human history of the wood also adds value to the product.
Some of the more recognizable structures from which Western has reclaimed wood include the Woodward’s Building and Drake Hotel in Vancouver, and the historic Glenrose Cannery on the Fraser River in North Delta, which was dismantled due to construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road.
“People are often more interested in the story behind the wood than the wood itself,” MacDonald notes.