FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DECONSTRUCTION

WHAT IS DECONSTRUCTION?

Deconstruction is the process of systematically dismantling a structure in an environmentally, economically and socially responsible manner, aiming to maximize the recovery of materials for reuse and recycling.

WHY DECONSTRUCT?

The deconstruction industry has gained ground consistently in recent years due to the considerable economic and environmental opportunities it offers. Although the environmental benefits are a significant driver, the economics are becoming an important impetus in certain parts of the United States, especially in economically depressed regions.

Deconstruction can also be cost-competitive with standard demolition, when taking into account reduced disposal costs, avoided purchases of new materials, revenue earned from material sales and potential tax incentives. Tax benefits can result in a significant reduction in overall cost as compared to demolition for the same project (EPA 2000). Moreover, integrating recycled and reused materials helps toward LEED® certification, creating marketing advantages.

WHO BENEFITS FROM DECONSTRUCTION?

These broader socio-economic and environmental benefits show that deconstruction provides opportunities for a wide range of stakeholders in different ways. For example:

  • Property owners can obtain a tax deduction by donating materials or gain income from reselling materials;
  • Remodelers can get a large stream of quality materials at lower costs;
  • Traditional demolition contractors can use deconstruction as an additional or new revenue source and position themselves for the emerging green economy;
  • Architects, engineers and design professionals can position themselves in the growing field of green building design by incorporating used, salvaged and recycled materials that can help achieve LEED points;
  • General contractors can use deconstruction to meet LEED requirements, gain a competitive edge from reduced waste fees and obtain valuable materials for resale;
  • Developers can save money, reduce environmental impacts, contribute toward community development and potentially command higher prices given the reuse aesthetic in new design trends; and
  • By championing deconstruction, cities and local governments can help improve management of solid waste, meet C&D waste diversion and recycling objectives, and reduce costs and tax burdens associated with brownfields and vacant properties.

WHAT IS DRIVING THE MARKET FOR DECONSTRUCTION?

The market for the deconstruction industry at large is contingent upon social and economic conditions, local policies and the presence of organizations driving the industry. These factors are present to a greater or lesser extent throughout the U.S.

GREEN BUILDING MOVEMENT

The green building movement has been a major factor driving material reuse and recycling in the U.S. and influencing other sustainable building practices over the last decade.

LANDFILLING COSTS

Landfills have always been the cheapest option for disposing of materials perceived as "waste." Such practices have been widespread in the development and construction industry. But the number of landfills and the space within them is diminishing in many urban areas. Some jurisdictions are imposing surcharges or additional taxes on tipping fees and requiring waste plans that require demolition contractors to consider alternatives to landfill disposal.

10+ years of experience in the appraisal of re-used, recycled, salvaged and deconstructed building materials and supplies