Deconstruction in Metro Vancouver

 1.     Background

In Vancouver area, over 3000 buildings are demolished each year. Among all the demolitions, an average of 50 tonnes waste was sent to landfills. Although some valuable materials worth recycling such as metals, heavy timber and gypsum drywall and concrete are salvaged, tons of usable materials are still thrown out.

2.     Concept

Deconstruction is backwards procedure of construction. To salvage and to reuse the material, contractors need to taking down the material with caution and care which allow the material to be reused or sold. Normally the procedure to taking off the most exposed materials such as crown moldings, drywall and then insulation, poly will come off which exposes the framing.

3.     Deconstruction and Demolition

A traditional demolition requires a heavy machine to tear down the house. The typical demolition process uses heavy machinery to knock down a building, completely destroying it during the process. What remains is collected and hauled to landfill.

Deconstruction is a more labour-intensive process than demolition. With deconstruction, materials are systematically taken from the structure and kept in a reusable or salvable manner which allows the recycling process easier and materials separated into different kinds.

If your site has an existing structure that is slated for demolition, before deconstruction, you can:

  • Hazardous Material Inspection
  • Hazardous Material Sample Report & Pre-Demolition Hazardous Material Survey city submission
  • Sell or donate the building for use on another location.
  • Salvage materials including doors, wood trim, siding, cabinets and bathroom fixtures.
  • Deconstruct the building to maximize the amount of materials diverted.

4.     Benefits for Deconstruction

Deconstructing buildings reduces waste when a structure comes down. Experience in Metro Vancouver and other regions is that at least 80 per cent of materials can be kept out of the landfill[1]. Old wall plasters can be grounded up and reused. Roof shingles can be melted down and combined with asphalt to surface the roads. Fixtures can be sold such as toilets, sinks etc. The most valuable commodities is the timbers and lumbers in the framing which help to save homeowners to build the new house also contributing in cutting less trees.

For demolition permit in Vancouver:

For demolition permit in Richmond: