Deconstruction Initiative by City of Lethbridge

2011 Alliance Award Winner - Outstanding Achievement in Local Government Innovation

Aligning with City of Lethbridge environmental interests, for the past four years Facility Services has taken a responsible attitude to mitigate the impact on the environment when a City facility or building has reached the end of its useful lifecycle and must be removed. In the context of physical construction, ‘deconstruction’ is the selective dismantlement of building components, specifically for re-use, recycling, and waste management. It differs from demolition where a site is cleared of its building by the most expedient means. 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. The process known as ‘waste streaming’ involves identifying and assessing various building elements prior to deconstruction so they can be diverted accordingly. Hazardous materials are properly abated to render a safe and clean site and prearranged ‘homes’ are found for remaining usable materials prior to even starting work. The successful contractor is generally awarded salvage of all materials which help generate funds to offset deconstruction and disposal costs. Ultimately deconstruction is a method of harvesting what is commonly considered “waste” and reclaiming it into useful building material.

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