The City of Vancouver has very specific recycling requirements in its Green Demolition Bylaw which applies to demolishing pre-1940’s houses. The Green Coast team was asked to take part in just such a project recently, providing pre-demolition deconstruction services for a house tear down. Here’s how it unfolded:

The challenge:

We were hired by Fortin’s Excavating to do the “pre-demo” deconstruction for a pre-1940’s Vancouver home that they were tearing down for a home owner.

Deconstruction means taking apart the house more carefully and systematically instead of knocking it down rapidly with heavy equipment. By using deconstruction techniques, wood and other materials can be separated, sorted, and more easily reused and recycled. Deconstruction results in much higher recycling rates than the 40-50% you would find in traditional construction demolition.

The City’s mandatory recycling rate for pre-1940’s houses (not designated as character homes) is 75%; however, we set the bar even higher  with a goal to recycle 90% of the materials.

Photo gallery:


Recycled that:

Our team started work after the asbestos abatement process and removed all of the recyclable building materials; this left just the shell of the house for demolition (as pictured). All of the drywall, concrete, plaster, wood, and metals we collected were recycled. The bricks and pavers were given away for reuse, and we were able to achieve our goal with a 90% diversion rate.

Notable quotes:

“Fortin’s Excavating came in to do the heavy hitting and took the house down, easily achieving the target 90% recycling rate.  It’s so important to see construction projects achieving these high recycling rates as we move towards zero waste in Metro Vancouver. This wasn’t happening a few years ago,” says Eamonn Duignan, President & CEO, Green Coast Rubbish.

Pro tip:

If you have a deconstruction or demolition project in Metro Vancouver, Green Coast Rubbish has an experienced team that will divert as much of the construction materials away from the landfill as possible by recycling and donating valuable building materials to our donation partners. Contact us at 604.230.4530 or for more information.