• Zero Waste Marin Presents: Life of a Deconstruction Project

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    March 22, 2019
    Deconstruction is the process of carefully dismantling a structure, or parts of a structure, and salvaging the materials for reuse. Deconstruction is not demolition; in fact, deconstruction is a form of waste reduction that creates the opportunity for building materials to be repurposed and reused. Deconstruction has the potential to open new markets, create job opportunities and foster a more resilient environment. This article will guide you from the beginning to the end of a deconstruction project.

    Full article is available for download at the following web address:  http://zerowastemarin.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Life-of-a-Deconstruction-Project-12319-TG.docx 

    Phase 1: Site Inspection
    Before a building is considered for deconstruction, a general contractor or construction management firm will first contact a non-profit that takes building materials or deconstruction materials. This is to ensue that the materials taken from the building will be diverted to a facility focused on reuse and waste reduction. 
    Phase 2: Salvage Value Assessment
    When the building in still in its original form, the contractor inspects the building for hazardous materials, and contacts a non-profit or deconstruction company that identifies whether the building qualifies for deconstruction. If so, they determine what materials can be salvaged. This is perhaps one of the most important phases of the deconstruction process, as the goal is to reuse and repurpose as many materials and appliances as possible. Deconstruction does not begin until a demolition permit is issued by the City or County.
    Phase 3: Internal Building Deconstruction
    Phase 3 begins once the building is ready to be methodically disassembled. Items such as appliances, sinks, windows, toilets, cabinets, and doors located internally are deinstalled   and staged for transport off site. Hardscape and landscape materials such as pavers, stones, and trees are also salvaged at this point for reuse. 
    Phase 4: External Building Deconstruction
    Once the deconstruction of the inside of the building is finished and all salvageable and reusable items have been removed, the structure of the building is disassembled. Materials such as framing lumber, sheathing and flooring are salvaged. 
    Pictured in the full article are piles of clean lumber that were removed from the building and sorted by size into piles; windows that were stripped from the building are now available for reuse and resale. This is a great example of waste reduction as these materials were diverted from the landfill.
    Phase 5: Transport of Salvaged Material
    Clean lumber is loaded and prepared for transport from the deconstructed building. Salvaged lumber becomes the building blocks for new furniture, cabinets, sheds and flooring. One company that specializes in deconstruction is GreenLynx. Based in Santa Rosa, this company meets the needs of those interested in preserving resources and diverting reusable materials from the waste stream.
    Success Story
    Non-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, The Reuse People, The Away Station and Reuse Alliance all enhance the integrity of materials through salvaging reusable materials and distributing them for reuse. These organizations increase waste reduction and instill value in materials that would otherwise end up in the landfill. 
    Some of the work involved in these organizations include:
    - Responding to disasters and helping affected communities recover. 
    - Providing volunteer opportunities for students, veterans and families.
    - Supporting communities across the globe through providing shelter, support and education. 
    Judith Silver, Zero Waste Marin
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