How reclaimed can a building be?

September 8, 2017 Sanjana Saluja

The trade in used construction materials is big business these days. As owners strive to make authenticity an element of their projects, a cottage industry has sprung up to meet demand for secondhand wood, steel, brick and any other building material that can be repurposed in new structures. Construction Dive explores how reclaimed materials can be useful for building new structures. 

One way this is achieved is through the process of deconstruction. While demolition generally involves tearing material out of a space or knocking a building down and sending the wreckage off to a landfill, deconstruction is more methodical. In deconstruction, crews take great pains to avoid damaging the bricks, fixtures, windows, wood and other high-value items they are able to remove intact.

In some cases, firms deconstruct a building and use materials salvaged from that project in the replacement structure. In other cases, those reclaimed products are donated to resellers like the nonprofit Lifecycle Building Center, in Atlanta, and the Rebuilding Exchange, in Chicago, where other architects and builders will purchase them for inclusion in their projects. In some cases, the resellers do the deconstruction work, too.

Find out more about the use of reclaimed materials, here.

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