Deconstruction & Materials reuse

phpUw4VFyAM“When European buildings die continuing to follow a similar destiny to that of their inhabitants: a few lost buried at sea, a small minority in ashes, the most buried with all their clothes on”



What is the deconstruction?

Deconstruction is the selective dismantlement of building components, specifically for re-use, recycling, and waste management. Deconstruction has also been defined as “construction in reverse”.

The process of dismantling structures is an ancient activity that has been revived by the growing field of sustainable, green building. Buildings, like everything, have a life-cycle. Deconstruction focuses on giving the materials within a building a new life once the building as a whole can no longer continue.

Traditionally this had only been performed to reclaim expensive or rare materials such as used brick, dimension stone, and extinct wood. In antiquity, it was common to raze stone buildings and reuse the stone; it was also common to steal stones from a building that was not being totally demolished: this is the literal meaning of the word dilapidated.

Deconstruction is commonly separated into two categories; structural and non-structural. Non-structural deconstruction, also known as “soft-stripping”, consists of reclaiming non-structural components, appliances, doors, windows, and finish materials.

Structural deconstruction involves dismantling the structural components of a building: brick, dimension stone, wood…

Why is it important?

Building construction uses large quantities of natural re source: construction activities consume 60 percent of the raw materials. The nearly 160 milion tons of annual building construction, renovation, and demolition derived wastes (commonly referred to as C&D materials) account for nearly one-third of nation’s non-hazardous solid waste generation.

Deconstruction has strong ties to environmental sustainability. In addition to giving materials a new life cycle, deconstructing buildings helps to lower the need for virgin resources. This in turn leads to energy and emissions reductions from the refining and manufacture of new materials. As deconstruction is often done on a local level, many times on-site, energy and emissions are also saved in the transportation of materials. Deconstruction can potentially support communities by providing local jobs and renovated structures. Deconstruction work typically employs 3-6 workers for every one employed in a comparable demolition job. In addition, solid waste from conventional demolition is diverted from landfills.

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