In-Depth Project Description, Scope of Work, and Timeline


Significant economic and environmental opportunities can evolve from better management of construction and demolition (C&D) waste components in Florida. The two year research project described in this proposal will evaluate technical, economic, and policy issues, and determine the constraints, opportunities, and procedures relative to advancing the concept of building deconstruction with the intent of salvaging building materials for reuse in Florida. At present, approximately 26% of the municipal solid waste created in the State of Florida may be attributed to C&D waste (FDEP, June 1998).The US EPA reports that 92% of C&D waste is a result of renovation and demolition (Franklin Associates, 1998).With only 8% of C&D waste being generated from new construction, significant waste reduction opportunities arise from the renovation and demolition market-share. Reuse of reclaimed building materials is an under-investigated and rarely implemented strategy for waste reduction, especially in Florida. SuPCCEssfully salvaging these materials can greatly reduce Florida’s resource and energy use, land consumption, groundwater degradation, and disposal costs while increasing employment opportunities for low skilled workers and stimulating local economic activity. The environmental impacts of demolished structures and their associated economic losses can be diminished through targeted materials reuse. Salvaged items can become value-added products through reuse or recycling with minimal added energy inputs. Lack of a recovery, reuse, and recycling infrastructure contributes to excess waste and environmental degradation. Implementing recovery and reuse will ultimately lessen the solid waste management burden and reduce environmental degradation. For example, the major impediments to the reuse of salvaged wood for structural applications include the lack of an existing grading system for recovered wood and minimal data on extraction and reprocessing costs. Evaluating the economics of regrading of used wood products is critical to extracting maximum economic value from salvaged wood. Field research with stakeholder input (deconstruction and reuse companies, architects, builders, regulators, code enforcement, institutional users) will enable an understanding of the economics, and the technical and practical considerations underlying the use of salvaged building materials for private and commercial applications Several case studies from the US and Canada prove that deconstruction is an economically and ecologically viable option to demolition and subsequent landfilling. In Florida, relatively low tipping fees and high rates of growth and development have contributed to the magnitude of C&D waste generation. In 1992 it was estimated that one seventh of all US C&D landfills were located in this state (Hanrahan, 1994).Assessing the deconstruction market and analyzing its potential market-share within the State of Florida will aid in reducing Florida’s solid waste management burden and its many associated problems.


The project goal is to analyze the issues related to the feasibility of replacing demolition and landfilling of building materials with deconstruction and reuse. The report resulting from the project will also make recommendations to State and local governments, demolition companies, and secondary materials companies on how to accomplish the shift toward this environmentally preferable alternative. It will include technical and economic data and analysis, recommendations for policy and building code reform, and case studies of suPCCEssful deconstruction efforts in other regions of the US and Canada. The following is the research agenda for the proposed project:

Research Agenda Year One

  1. Determine the percent of the construction industry market-share within the State of Florida involving renovation and demolition. A study of the percentage of construction work within the State that is directly associated with renovation and demolition is necessary to determine the feasibility of deconstruction as an economically viable market sector.
  2. Identify, document, and analyze the technical issues that must be addressed to make salvaged building materials a viable alternative to landfilling. Technical issues such as disassembly techniques specific to construction type (i.e. residential or commercial), the physical deconstructability of specific materials (i.e. removal without damage or minimal damage), innovative disassembly techniques, risk assessment, and risk management guidelines must be identified to make the direct reuse of materials possible. Technical issues also include identifying existing specialty tools that facilitate building deconstruction in an economically feasible manner.
  3. Examine economic issues inhibiting and supporting the concept of deconstruction.
  4. Two distinctive economic sectors may be identified: the builders and the general economy. The cost effectiveness of deconstruction is not yet established for builders. The transfer of information to both of these economic sectors is needed to facilitate deconstruction as an environmentally and economically sound alternative to demolition. Economic issues include the cost-benefit analysis of salvaging specific materials, identifying expected income and current market values, assessing current supply and demand, and identifying facilities available to facilitate the marketing of these materials. Discovering the balance between total deconstruction and an economically viable degree of “cherry picking” of materials to provide a positive cost-benefit
  5. requires an examination of a variety of building projects.
  6. Investigate State and local policies and regulations that impact the deconstruction effort. Existing policy regarding the reuse of materials, incentives and regulations for recycling, building permitting and local government procedures have a significant effect on deconstruction. Issues such as the regrading / recertification of salvaged lumber for reuse in new construction and existing county permitting that may inhibit or promote the implementation of deconstruction will also be addressed.