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Salvaging Materials – Watling Street, Burnaby, BC

    Jul 15, 2022

    9 min


Salvaging materials is a must-do task in every demolition.


Salvaging materials is good. Economically speaking, it is cost-efficient for the contractor and homeowner, income-generating for those who are part of the job and all-related jobs, and helps the government in many other ways. Environmentally good because salvaging materials recycle a lot, which helps lower the level of carbon emissions. Due to these benefits, salvaging materials have become required in demolition. 

Last May, we started the demolition, and here are some materials that we have salvaged, 

  • Plumbing connectors, 
  • copper pipe
  • Insulation
  • Electrical boxes
  • Light switches and fixtures

Our construction manager decided to keep them all in one place, sort and sell them later. 

In other demolition, more materials can be salvaged; Asphalt shingles, drywall, glass, windows, reclaimed wood, and steel. These construction materials are made tougher than others, that's why they have high recycling value. Shingles can be reused to patch potholes.

Drywall has a lot of usages, too; the gypsum in drywall can be used by gardeners to nourish their plants. It can also be reused again to create new drywall, and like shingles, that gypsum can be used to patch potholes too. The paper in the drywall, on the other hand, can be recycled too. Meanwhile, glass, windows, reclaimed wood, and steel have more obvious usage once it is recycled. 

Our site in Watling Street Burnaby also has some of these materials. However, we were not able to salvage them. We were unable to reclaim the windows and some of the lumber materials due to time, storage, and labour costs. When pulling out windows, an OSB (or plywood) is needed to be placed as window coverings to prevent environmental issues. However, since the demolition occurred so quickly, we were not able to arrange their salvaging. In the case of lumbers, they need to be pulled out one at a time, and for the type of demolition we are currently into, doing them requires WorkSafeBC approval–tasks that we can no longer accommodate due to unprecedented constraints. For these reasons, we find salvaging windows and lumbers more costly than beneficial, thus leading us to complete the demolition process without them.

This article was last updated on Nov 29, 2023