Deconstruction

Deconstructing floor in a home

Deconstruction can be as simple as stripping out cabinetry or as involved as dismantling a building frame by frame. More than 70 percent of a deconstruction project can be reused or recycled (U.S. EPA). Deconstructing can be an integral part of demolition and can save you money on disposal costs. It also offers opportunities for lower-cost building materials through salvage and reuse stores.

There are two general categories of deconstruction.

  • Non-structural. Also known as salvaging, where high-value materials such as appliances, doors and windows, lighting fixtures, cabinets and other finished materials are selectively reclaimed.
  • Structural. Goes further than salvaging high-value materials by removing structural components for reuse or recycling. It can include materials such as framing lumber, sheathing, roofing tiles, bricks, hardwood flooring or old growth timbers.

Project considerations

Because deconstruction is done manually, the project will take longer and have increased labor costs. A detailed building and site assessment will help community leaders determine the economic viability of a deconstruction project. Some factors the assessment should include are:

  • Age of the building
  • Appraised value of the materials
  • Distance to recycling markets or reuse stores
  • Availability of deconstruction contractors
  • Hazardous material considerations such as asbestos and lead
  • Landfill tipping fees
  • Labor cost and project timeline
  • Local ordinances

better Futures deconstructing homeBenefits

  • Provides local jobs and training opportunities
  • Income tax deductions for donated materials
  • Reduced or avoided landfill tipping fees
  • Qualifies for LEED credits by reusing materials in new structures
  • Revenue from sales of reclaimed materials

 Deconstruction firms

Resources