CS - Deconstruction & Surveys
A deeper dive into this element of the Circular Steel event
This content came from my Circular Steel event, however many of the principles can be applied to other materials, and material reuse generally. Thanks to Rafe at Meridian Water and Charlie at McGee who created the boards and shared their insights and expertise.
There seem to be some common steps across both sets of boards:
Survey & Understand
Critical to reuse from any site is a survey. This might be called a pre-demolition audit, although I think this name will soon be dropped, as the value of this survey is doing it much earlier that ‘pre-demo’ suggests.
Don’t just put the survey in a drawer. Understand it. What is of high value (could be £ or carbon)? Aim to spin the survey result around to take the form of a value or carbon bank, with obvious focus on the largest or most readily reused deposits.
Market & Method
Now look externally and try to establish if there is a demand for the deposits you have in your building(s). In parallel, consider how accessible the material is and how easily it can be extracted. Think of this step as another filter which is helping you focus on the right materials to salvage for reuse (remember this is about trying to reuse things in their current state, but something that cannot be removed without breakage might still be able to be reused in a reduced form, or perhaps recycled).
Cost & Logistics
If you have identified materials to be extracted, then their removal needs careful consideration, along with where they are going once removed. This is where the commercials of cost to extract and programme impact need to be fully understood. If you’ve focused on the highest value materials (£ or carbon) and you know there is buyer interest, then hopefully the numbers stack up. If they don’t today, I predict they will soon.
The ‘mapping of links’ that Rafe and his team are doing at Meridian Water is very proactive and they are managing to match donor and recipient. In the future and with a more liquid market with more players involved, this shouldn’t be as forced or require as much effort. The Enfield Excess Material Exchange is a step towards this, so well done to the team that have launched it!
Aside from the steps identified, both mention a metric or measure of success. I’ve said before that I think this is needed - it will help in decision making where there are typically more and more factors to consider, plus it will help projects demonstrate how well they have ‘reused’.
And finally, as Rafe mentions in the second board, things like deconstruction specifications and donor agreements are needed to give clarity and confidence to those that are playing in this space. On one of my projects the whole team (designers, project managers, lawyers, contractor and suppliers) are working together to produce a ‘purchase agreement’ for some reused steel. I hope to be able share this for others to use, once we’re happy with it :-)
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