De-constructible Construction

Our current construction practices are out of date. Today we are building using the same techniques we developed centuries ago. Sure, we have refined our technologies but we are still building with cement, wood, etc and using the same details. Our typical wall assembly includes so many sealants and glues that it’s impossible to take it apart after construction. The number one barrier to a circular economy in the built environment is de-constructability. Modular construction, though faster and sometime cheaper, hasn’t been able to scale and replace conventional stick-built construction.

This is a challenge to design a system for a fully de-constructible/circular office building - no wet-applied coatings, no sealants, no glue, using conventional building materials (no shipping containers, etc…). The de-constructible office building <em>must</em> meet all codes, be fully water-proofed, provide ulterior energy performance, be constructed in the same or faster time frame as a conventional building, cost no more than a conventional building, and be able to be FULLY taken apart in the same time frame as a typical demolition job. Construction AND Demolition of this building would result in ZERO waste to landfill.

If every building was built to be de-constructed, we would relieve the world of 50% of its current solid waste, and of the need to produce 870 tons of materials per second for the next thirty years.

Thanks for pitching this idea, @Avideh! It sounds like an intriguing proposal.

Could you elaborate on the 50% figure for me?

Werner Sobek in “Building for the Future” states: “in Central Europe, 60% of the mass waste production comes from the building industry ( and if you look world wide: 50%)”

Compared to USA:
In 2016 EPA estimated that 548 million tons of Construction&Demolition (C&D) debris were generated in the United States in 2015, which is more than twice the amount of generated Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in 2015.

The total amount of MSW in 2015 was 262.4, half of this ended up in landfills, 137.7 million ton

Source: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-09/documents/construction_and_demolition_debris_generation_in_the_united_states_2015_final.pdf
https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/construction-and-demolition-material-specific