Deconstruction: Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

9 September 2014

A recent workshop looked at the concept of ‘deconstruction’, and how dismantling structures instead of demolishing them can lead to better social, environmental and economic outcomes.

Construction and demolition waste is a significant contributor to all waste-to-landfill in the Auckland region. Estimates indicate that around 400,000 tonnes of demolition waste is landfilled each year.

Tackling this issue is key to SBN’s work stream on Accelerating a Circular Economy in NZ. We we were therefore delighted to partner with AUT University, Community Recycling Network, WasteMINZ and Auckland Council to run a Deconstruction seminar and workshop, to help identify solutions that will bring about zero waste from construction and demolition.

Deconstruction is the process of dismantling structures with the aim of recovering as much material as possible for either reuse or recycling.

Whole House deconstruction insert into post

Attracting more than 130 industry participants, ranging from architects to demolition companies and community organisations, the workshop highlighted some major issues and solutions. The event also showcased examples of deconstruction materials including ‘Pou’ lit by LED lights (see image below), which have been designed and developed from recycled floorboards by Otara based organisation The Roots Creative Entrepreneurs.

Pou by The Roots Creative Entrepreneurs insert into Deconstruction story

Presenters included:

  • Juliet Arnott, Rekindle
  • Peter Ward, Ward Demolition
  • Simon Gaines, Fletcher Construction
  • Waikare Komene, The Roots Creative Entrepreneurs.

With almost all major structures using large amounts of concrete, and much demolition material being buried as clean-fill, difficulties in finding markets for crushed concrete was a recurring theme.

Some contributors indicated a need for legislating deconstruction techniques into demolition, design, and building, or the use of diversion targets in building projects. This was supported by a call for better specifications of reused materials, to give assurance of the performance and quality of reused items.

Improving awareness, research and education was also a recurring theme, which highlights the need to make owners, developers and builders more aware of the options for demolition materials and minimising construction waste.

The next steps for the project are to integrate them into SBN’s current work on the Circular Economy.

 If you are interested in finding out more about the Deconstruction project, contact Mark Roberts at Auckland Council on 021 041 2526. If you are interested in SBN’s Circular Economy work stream please contact or phone 021 686 155.

Click here to view the slides from the workshop: Deconstruction Workshop slides 27 August 2014 1 of 2, Deconstruction Workshop slides 27 August 2014 2 of 2