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[GreenYes] Philadelphia Home Deconstruction Project Report available

In March of 2006 the EPA Solid Waste program funded an innovative
project Deconstructing an abandoned home in the Strawberry Mansion
section of Philadelphia. One of the innovative aspects of this
project was that large sections of the deconstructed home were removed
in panels and deconstructed further off site.

The final Report has been posted on EPA's web site at

Also a fact sheet on the project is posted at

Here's a Summary of the project :

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) in cooperation with Penn
State's Hamer Center for Community Design (Hamer Center) conducted a
deconstruction pilot project to determine cost-effective methods to
remove lumber and other materials from a Neighborhood Transformation
Initiative abandoned house. The US Environmental Protection Agency
funded the project and the City of Philadelphia provided the house for
deconstruction. Kevin Brooks Salvage (KBS), a local minority
contractor, performed the deconstruction work on the 3224 Susquehanna
unit, half of a residential twin building. ILSR and the Hamer Center
selected KBS to do the work because the firm provided the lower bid
and the more complete bid
package. The project work took place from March 27-April 7, 2006. At
the Hamer Center's direction, the KBS crew experimented with the use
of a mechanized, panelized approach of removing lumber. The
dismantling process involved cutting the roof and floor panels into
sections and
removing them to an off-site location for processing.

The project diverted bricks, lumber, metal, and architectural features
from disposal:

Most of the bricks were used for on-site backfill.

Some lumber was sold to a broker for remilling: pine flooring was sold
for reuse.

Metal was sold to local scrap dealers.

Architectural features were marketed through KBS's architectural
salvage business, Found Matter.

The total value of the recovered materials is $7,530, and, as of
December 2006, $6,530 of materials have been sold or directly used by
KBS. The remaining $1,000 worth of materials is for sale in the Found
Matter store.

The Susquehanna project data demonstrate that deconstruction can be
cost-competitive with hand demolition when there are sufficient
recoverable materials with market value to offset higher labor costs.

The $8.94 net cost per square foot for the Susquehanna project falls
within the range of the average hand demolition cost ($7.75 - $9.30).

ILSR and KBS believe that costs could be even lower in future projects
based on the following factors:
On-time dumpster placement, removal, and replacement procedures -
delays in placing and removing full dumpsters resulted in additional
labor costs because workers had to handle some waste materials more
than once.
Better on-site efficiency utilizing improved practices based on
lessons learned from the pilot.
Improving the economy of scale by removing more than one house at a
time. The original goal was the deconstruction of two adjoining
housing units that would have resulted in a lower cost per unit than
from removal of a single unit.

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