What is deconstruction?
Deconstruction may be defined as selectively dismantling a structure for the purpose of salvaging valuable construction and architectural materials to resell, reuse, or recycle.
How does it differ from demolition?
Demolition involves whole building implosions or “wrecking ball” dismantling, which is much quicker and usually less expensive. However, often much of the material is broken in the process, and is hauled off together in a roll-off container to a construction and demolition (C & D) landfill, where as much as possible is separated and recycled. The process of deconstruction can be compared to “source separated recycling” where materials are carefully selected and separated on site and retain more of a value. This process is much more time consuming. Whereas, demolition is more of a quick “single stream” recycling process where everything is thrown together and then separated as best as possible at the construction and demolition landfill facility for recycling.
Why is deconstruction important?
The materials deconstructed often have a higher value and can be more easily reclaimed than salvaged materials from the demolition process. Reselling or reusing them reduces the need to manufacture new materials, thus reducing the need for natural resources. Deconstruction creates jobs, preserves old architecture, and saves energy. LEED points may be obtained toward green building certification through deconstruction projects.
What materials are reclaimed in deconstruction?
Typically materials reclaimed from deconstruction consist of doors, windows, cabinets, lighting and plumbing fixtures, lumber, roofing material, flooring, and materials with architectural detail such as crown molding. Other materials salvaged may include brick, stone, and granite.