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Deconstruction

Deconstruction is the disassembly of a building when crews enter a building and take it apart. The recovered materials such as appliances, floorboards, stair treads or roof joists are resold for use in new construction and renovation projects, or for remanufacture (i.e. turning wood framing into fireplace mantles). Items that can't be reused are recycled. Examples of this are turning damaged wood into mulch or turning cement foundations into aggregate for new foundations and sidewalks. Building can be fully deconstructed, partially deconstructed or complete demolished. To learn more, read about Seattle Housing Authority‚Äôs High Point Housing Development. Here are some suggestions before getting started: 

  1. Determine if deconstruction is cost-effective for your site.
  2. Find deconstruction companies at Recycle It! 
  3. Include a deconstruction specification in your bid package. Section 024293 [01736] (DOC, 72 kb) specifies deconstruction and removal of selected portions of or an entire building for salvage.
  4. Read Deconstruction: The First Step in Green Building (PDF, 141 kb)
  5.  This fact sheet describes which buildings are good candidates for deconstruction, how to plan a deconstruction project and the three levels of deconstruction. It also compares the costs and time differences between deconstruction and demolition.

Is it cost effective?

The feasibility and cost-effectiveness of deconstruction is different for every building depending on how the building was constructed and what building materials were used. Deconstruction can be used in most wood-frame and some metal-frame buildings. The building components, their condition and the manner in which they are secured to the structure can affect the cost-effectiveness of salvaged materials. To be cost-competitive with conventional demolition, the added costs of deconstruction (primarily, the extra labor of disassembly and removal) must be offset by the value of the salvaged building material and the avoided cost of disposal.

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