2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal)

2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal) Conference


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Mr. Akash Pushkar, Carnegie Mellon Univeristy (Presenter)
Mr. Yujie Wei, Carnegie Mellon University
Dr. Burcu Akinci, Carnegie Mellon University

Construction and demolition of buildings produce 136 million tons of debris per year in the US,
with demolition alone accounting for 48% of the total construction waste stream. In the past, several
researchers have reiterated the significance of ’deconstruction’, a systematic disassembling of a structure,
instead of demolition for reducing waste and increasing reuse. They have listed numerous environmental
benefits and a cost saving of approximately £1.3 billion on haulage and landfill tax. Since deconstruction is
a complex and costly process, it is important to assess the candidacy of a building for deconstruction as
‘suitable’/‘unsuitable’ beforehand. Candidacy is assessed by considering environmental and economic
factors. For this purpose, the economic viability of the entire process, consisting of expenditures, such as
the cost of labor and cost of disposal, and earnings, such as resale/salvage value of the material, need to
be examined before deconstruction commences. Prior research studies have compared the value of
deconstruction to demolition in case studies of buildings that were not designed for deconstruction. As
facilities get designed with deconstruction in mind, the impact of deconstruction activities is expected to
increase.. The research described in this paper assesses the economic benefit of deconstruction as
compared to demolition activities in a case study of a building designed for deconstruction. In this case
study, we evaluated the economic viability of a deconstruction project based on the quantity of material
recovered and different cost incurred, such as labor, material, equipment and administration costs, and
explored whether the deconstruction was beneficial over demolition for the case study building. Cost-benefit
analysis (i.e. total benefits - total cost) was used for evaluating the economic viability of deconstruction and
it showed that deconstruction was significantly beneficial, with savings of 105%, than a demolition case
scenario for the same building. This amount of saving can be attributed to the fact the facility was originally
designed for deconstruction.