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Deconstructing better home demolition

Miles Timmis (below) throws metal salvaged during
Miles Timmis (below) throws metal salvaged during 'deconstruction' of a South Surrey home into a bin Thursday.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photos

‘Deconstruction’ of three buildings on a South Surrey property got underway last week  – and the effort is expected to barely make a dent at the landfill.

“There’ll be a minor bit of garbage,” said Miles Timmis, owner of Disposal King Ltd., the Richmond-based demolition company hired to do the job. “I think we can hit 90-per-cent recycle rate.”

The work – in partnership with Surelock Builders – is clearing the way for construction of 29 townhomes that are eyed for two Morgan Heights lots totalling five acres.

The buildings targeted for the process are a 3,000-square-foot home, a two-car garage and a barn on a 2½-acre environmentally sensitive lot – a stream runs through it – on 160 Street.

Timmis said over the course of about 10 days, each will be taken apart piece by piece, largely by hand, and the materials sorted into a series of bins: wood in one, metal in another, concrete in another and so on.

The process is far longer and more labour-intensive than a traditional demolition, which could have got the job done in about 1½ hours.

But Timmis believes the costs will balance out through dump-fee savings and selling things like the scrap metal and good-condition items that can be re-used. The latter include windows and the home’s front doors.

“Beautiful front doors,” Timmis said. “Someone will use that for sure.”

Timmis said whatever can’t be sold will be recycled.

He estimates 80 per cent of the project’s cost is for the labour, compared to a typical demolition, where trucking items to the dump and those resulting fees are the biggest expense.

Timmis described the South Surrey job as “a bit of a test project” that he hopes will catch on.

“There’s just too much stuff going to the landfill,” he said.

He noted benefits to developers who choose the environmentally friendlier route are catching on.

In Vancouver, there is no delay in getting permits if there is a plan for deconstruction – a time savings Timmis said can amount to six weeks. The City of Surrey is working on implementing a similar program, he said.

 

 

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