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Alternatives to Demolition

Alternatives to demolition

Deconstruction and salvage can save you money

Salvage and deconstruction practices

Salvage is the recovery of valuable or useful materials for reuse.
Deconstruction is the systematic disassembly of a building.

Using salvage and deconstruction techniques on a demolition project can be an effective way to cut costs and come in with a lower bid or gain a higher profit margin.  The key to effective salvage and deconstruction is to identify which techniques are most cost effective and when to apply them on a project.

Benefits of salvage and deconstruction

  • Avoids the disposal costs of demolition debris.
  • Avoids transportation costs - when salvage companies remove materials from a jobsite.
  • Earns money by selling recovered materials or saving money through on-site reuse of materials.
  • Earns points in green building certification programs and greening the projects image.

Questions to ask before starting the project

  • Contact a salvage or deconstruction company about the project as early in the development process as possible. A lot of salvage can occur before the demolition permit is approved.
  • Is it more cost-effective to train a crew about deconstruction techniques or use a subcontractor that is skilled in salvage and/or deconstruction? The company may provide its services in exchange for the materials removed (if materials have sufficient value).
  • Know which materials you plan to salvage and dispose. For example: Managing the roof and the walls as demolition debris while salvaging the floor joists and beams may be the most cost effective solution if a building is in poor condition.
  • Find buyers for the materials that can be recovered before beginning the project. Specialized firms listed below will determine what items can be salvaged.
  • Concrete, wiring, metal piping, yard debris, metal studs, and metal bracing/supports are all easily recyclable. Most deconstruction projects will also yield clean wood with minimal salvage value that can still be recycled.
  • Always know where materials go when they are removed from the jobsite. Require disposal, salvage and recycling receipts for all materials removed from the jobsite.

Avoid penalties for illegal dumping and unsecured loads

Property owners, contractors and subcontractors can be fined up to $5,000 if materials are disposed of illegally. For more information see:

The fine for transporting an unsecured load is $194. For more details see secure your load.

Avoid penalties for inappropriate management of asbestos

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) requires the property owner or owner’s agent to conduct an AHERA asbestos survey prior to performing a renovation or demolition to determine the presence of suspect asbestos containing materials. A notification to PSCAA is also required prior to any demolition and/or performing abatement of friable asbestos containing material.

For more information on the asbestos requirements or to submit a notification, visit the PSCAA Web site external link or call 1-800-552-3565 ext. 4058. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries has similar requirements, see external link or call 360-902-5435.

Failure to comply with the asbestos requirements can result in significant financial penalties.

Salvage and deconstruction resources

Companies listed below have extensive knowledge of salvage and deconstruction techniques. For additional information, see the What Do I Do With…? website.

Salvage and Deconstruction Companies



Dedicated Deconstruction external link


Earthwise, Inc.


Olympia Deconstruction Co.


Resource Woodworks, Inc.


The RE Store


Re-Use Consulting


RW Rhine, Inc.


Seattle Building Salvage


Second Use Building Materials


Sledge Seattle external link


Deconstruction consulting services

Private consulting services are available to work in-depth with you to provide guidance and networking support for salvage and deconstruction services.

Deconstruction Consulting Services



Re-Use Consulting


Web resources – King County Solid Waste Division


For salvage and deconstruction assistance, call Kinley Deller at 206-477-5272 or contact the Construction Recycling program online.

For general recycling information, or to request this material in alternate formats, contact the King County Solid Waste Division at 206-477-4466, TTY Relay: 711.

Contact Us

 Call: 206-477-4466

TTY Relay: 711

King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal