Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

Building Deconstruction: Giving Building Materials a Second Life

Posted on Fri, Nov 04, 2011 @ 10:28 AM

As a baby boomer who has spent over 35 years in the architectural and real estate development professions, I'm aware that the current economic downturn has made many of my peers revaluate where they are going in both their personal and professional lives. Some have regretfully waived the defeat flag and headed for retirement. Others have reinvented themselves in second careers, and in so doing given themselves exciting new lives.

In an analogous rebirth, perfectly good building material that once would have been buried in a landfill is now enjoying a second life through creative reuse.

Building-materials reuse was once considered the backwater of do-it-yourself homeowners on a limited budget. Today reuse serves a vital role within the mainstream of state-of-the-art design and construction, in both the residential and commercial sectors of the industry. This trend is driven by building professionals and building owners who have become more conscious of the financial and environmental benefits of materials reuse and the potential tax benefits of choosing deconstruction over demolition.

In California, an entirely new driver is the new CalGreen Building Code, adopted in 2011. Although building industry professionals have mixed opinions of the code, it is now the law. The code mandates requirements that encourage the adaptive reuse of materials and, in some municipalities, actually offer developers and owners incentives for creatively reusing building materials. Although the code only affects construction in California, a similar set of codes and mandates is in the works with the International Code Council, which will affect the majority of states when adopted over the next few years.

The reuse of building materials falls into three basic categories:

1. Conventional reuse of materials
2. Adaptive reuse of materials
3. Recycled content reuse of materials

The conventional reuse of building materials involves building or remodeling with materials salvaged from older structures. One of my favorite examples is the "Big Dig House." The Big Dig was one of the largest infrastructure projects in North America in the late 20th century and involved the creation of a major loop transportation system around the city of Boston. The Big Dig House was constructed with over 60,000 pounds of salvaged material from structures that were demolished or deconstructed in the path of the Big Dig. The final construction cost was approximately half that of a comparable custom home built with conventional new materials.

The Big Dig House, Boston, MAThe Big Dig House, Boston, MA

Adaptive reuse involves salvaging a material that was used for one purpose in its original structure and reusing it for a different purpose within a new or remodeled structure. For example, a glass curtain wall from a commercial building might be used to create a new residential sun room. A more spectacular example is the Malibu "Wing House" in which architect David Hertz used wings from a retired 747 jetliner as the roof of a new custom home.

The Wing House, Malibu, CA

Taking Hertz's vision to the extreme is a custom hotel suite in Costa Rica constructed from the entire fuselage of a recycled 727. If planes could talk, this one would tell you what a great second life it's having at the beach!


The third and final category of building material reuse is recycled building material content, which involves taking previously used material and, through some type of manufacturing process, turning it into new building material. This is an exciting niche within the building industry that has inspired both small entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies to come up with new products made from old products.

New counter tops made from recycled wine bottles New counter tops made from recycled wine bottles


Blog Post Written by Wally Geer of The ReUse People of America.  And posted on their Velvet Crowbar Blog


Tags: material reuse, salvaged building materials, conventional reuse, building deconstruction, sustainable, deconstruction, reuse

Why Disaster Kleenup International (DKI) Is Already Positioned to Take Building Deconstruction Lead

Posted on Sat, Jun 05, 2010 @ 04:11 PM


disaster kleenup international,trust the triangle,

Advanced Restoration Corporation is a proud member company of Disaster Kleenup International (DKI).  DKI is North America's largest disaster restoration services organization made up of a network of the leading independently owned and operated disaster restoration companies with over 400 hundred locations throughout North America. 

Sustainable development is the most vibrant and powerful force to impact the building design and construction field in more than a decade.   And Building Deconstruction is the first step in the sustainable building process. 

Building Deconstruction is much more labor intensive than standard bulldozer style demolition.  Great care must be taken to preserve the value of the materials that we are deconstructing.  Most contractors do not have the built in training that restoration contractors already have in taking the care and patience that is needed to deconstruct, let alone deal with an insurance claim involving property damage.  As a restoration contractor, my technicians are trained to carefully remove undamaged building materials to facilitate the mitigation or remediation of the damaged building materials while still protecting their value for reinstallation once the reconstruction portion of the claim begins.  It is second nature to restoration technicians to disassemble a kitchen to facilitate the drying of the structure behind the finished building materials.  This is not something we have to learn.  We already know how to deconstruct on a smaller scale.  Our skills just need to be fined tuned to where it becomes second nature.    

DKI understands that in today’s environment, individuals and organizations continually strive to do their part in building or creating green environments.

DKI has pioneered this movement by being the first and only disaster restoration and reconstruction organization to be green risk certified in building reconstruction and restoration services. 

DKI is the only Green Certified Services Organization that is adequately trained to provide a superior level of knowledge, expertise, professionalism and customer service to property owners, managers, facility directors, and insurers of green buildings.  Not only does DKI understand the makeup of green buildings, products used in green buildings, rating systems and insurance coverage as it relates to these elements, but DKI can ensure that if a green building  sustains damage, the building will be restored using the most efficient green products in the marketplace.

I believe that DKI and its member companies are already poised to take the lead in Building Deconstruction and Material Reuse.  By forming a partnership with The Reuse People of America at no cost to DKI and its member companies, DKI would become part of the largest building deconstruction organization in the United States. 

DKI Benefits from Partnership by:

  • Partnership with Deconstruction Industry Leader to become part of the largest building deconstruction and material reuse organization in the country by far
  • The ReUse People handle all the material donations and paperwork.  DKI Member companies stick to what they do best which is material handling and building deconstruction
  • Additional revenue stream during slow summer months in the Restoration Industry
  • Free On Site Building Deconstruction training
  • Positioned as the leader to promote building deconstruction and material reuse to the Insurance Industry before it becomes mainstream

The ReUse People Benefit from Partnership by:

  • Partnering with Restoration Industry Leader become part of the largest building deconstruction and material reuse organization in the country by far
  • Expansion into previously unthinkable DKI member company markets
  • Don’t have to waste time vetting companies in each new market.  DKI stands behind each member company
  • Many more avenues for promotion of building deconstruction and material reuse

Just by signing a piece of paper, Disaster Kleenup International can re-affirm their reputation as the Restoration Industry's Green Leader and be a force for the sustainable development and future of our world. 

Hopefully DKI doesn't wait too long and have one of our corporate competitors swoop in and steal the mantle......


Tags: the reuse people, dki, building material reuse, material reuse, disaster kleenup international, insurance industry, building deconstruction, reuse long island

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