Charles Kibert, 6/00, #00-05 (2,114 Kb)

Deconstruction is defined as the disassembly of structures for the purpose of reusing the structures components and building materials. The primary intent is to divert the maximum amount of building materials from the waste stream. Deconstruction is a relatively new term used to describe an old process – the selective dismantlement or removal of materials from buildings instead of demolition. The common practice in the industry is to cherry pick - strip out highly accessible recyclable, reusable or historic materials - prior to traditional demolition. (Traditional demolition usually involves mechanical demolition, often resulting in a pile of mixed debris, which is sent to a landfill).

Deconstruction encompasses a thorough and comprehensive approach to whole building disassembly (versus cherry picking specialty items), allowing the majority of the materials to be salvaged for reuse. The process of deconstruction can significantly decrease the national solid waste burden placed on the environment the construction industry. Through deconstruction, natural resources are saved, employment and training opportunities arise, and local businesses grow from using the materials diverted from the landfill. Deconstruction provides useful building material stock to building material yards, recycling centers and remanufacturing enterprises, which create additional jobs and community revenue.

Out of 260 million tons of non-industrial waste produced nationally each year, 136 million tons are a result of the construction and demolition (C&D) industry. This equates to approximately 33% of the waste produced nationally. Similar circumstances exist internationally, for example, in the Netherlands over 70% of the waste is a result of the construction and demolition industry and in Ontario approximately 20% of the total waste stream may be attributed to C&D. Similarly in the State of Florida, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) reports approximately 23% of the waste produced is a result of the construction and demolition industry. Deconstruction provides an excellent opportunity to target a significant portion of the waste stream for reduction.

This report investigates and analyzes the feasibility of replacing demolition and disposing of building materials with deconstruction and reuse. The report contains information from an extensive review of case studies from international and domestic regions. The examination of case studies resulted in the development of a list of influence factors affecting the implementation of deconstruction. Factors such as: labor, scheduling and cost, tipping fees at construction and demolition landfills, hazardous materials management, existing markets, value adding and marketing of reused materials, material grading systems, time and economic constraints, contractual agreements, environmental building goals, and public policy all affect the successful implementation of deconstruction. These influence factors were further explored to provide insight into the feasibility of establishing deconstruction in the State of Florida.

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