Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between deconstruction and demolition?

Deconstruction is the selective dismantlement of building components, specifically for reuse, repurposing, recycling, and waste management. In contrast, with demolition, a site is cleared of its building by the most expedient means and the materials are smashed down and hauled off to the landfill.

Why should I deconstruct vs. demolish my building?

534 million tons of construction and demolition debris were generated in the United States, in 2014 (EPA).

When heavy equipment is used to smash building materials, harmful particulate matter is released into the surrounding environment in the form of lead dust, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide, and carbon monoxide. “Pardon Our Dust” doesn’t quite cut it here.

In contrast, deconstruction reduces the need for extraction of raw materials for new construction, conserves the energy and natural resources used in the manufacturing of new building material, prevents environmental pollution by diverting waste, and increases the longevity of landfills.

Deconstruction is a job creator. This is specialized work and requires more hands to dismantle a building than to swing a wrecking ball.

Why would a homeowner want to go through this process?

Everything removed from the house and donated to a qualified 501(c)3 charity can be claimed by the property owners on their taxes as a donation at fair market value.

There will be a large reduction in disposal costs.

Most homeowners feel pride in knowing that so much material was diverted from the wastestream!

How long does it take to deconstruct a building?

This will depend on the size of the building, logistics, permitting, and several other factors. A rough estimate for a single family home is that it will take about two weeks longer to deconstruct than to demolish.

How much does it cost to deconstruct a building?

This also varies based on numerous factors, including whether you use a workforce training crew vs. private crew, the size of the building, location, percentage of salvageable materials, and more.

Soft stripping is the removal of non-structural parts of a house.  Trainees were taught how to remove wood trim, finish flooring, windows and doors, appliances, kitchen cabinets, and electrical, plumbing and heating equipment.  Almost all of these materials are assumed to be reusable and will be resold through the ERW. The minority general contractors for the houses benefitted, because their labor and disposal costs were significantly reduced.