Friday, April 29, 2011

Design for Deconstruction

The web site advises that the factors influencing deconstruction are:
The local cost of landfill tipping fees
The local cost of labour and equipment
The ease of disassembly which affects labour cost
The value of the materials recovered
Having adequate time available for deconstruction

The buildings we are designing right now are expected to have a life span of around 50 years. Think of that in terms of the factors influencing the practice of deconstruction.

The rate at which we have been using up landfill sites over the last 50 years means that the sites themselves will become a rare commodity within the next 50 years. "The local cost of landfill tipping fees" in 2061 will make the practice of putting a wrecking ball through your building at the end of its life and carting it away to landfill a very expensive exercise.

We are also now using up building materials faster that the planet can reproduce them. This means that the materials we are using now will be quite rare in 2061. Rare material is of high value.

So by the end of the expected life of the buildings you are designing right now two of the five factors influencing the practice of deconstruction will be in play. The rest is up to you.

The cost of labour and materials and the available time is out of our hands so that only leaves "the ease of disassembly".

Your role as a building designer is to consider the materials you use, think about the connections and fixings you use and make it as easy as possible for the principle of reduce, re-use, re-cycle to be applied at the end of your building's life.

To find out more just "google" "design for deconstruction". You may be surprised at how many results you get.

Russell Brandon