Seven construction workers stand near a building site prior to its completion.Recently three professors at Michigan State University developed a method of studying the life cycle of a building. Termed “domicology” this discipline “examines the continuum from the planning, design and construction stages through to the end of use, abandonment and deconstruction or reuse of structures.” 

Today, we’ll take a look at what we can learn from domicology and how Elder Demolition in Oregon has been using many of its principles by recycling valuable materials from demolition sites.

Studying a Building’s Life Cycle

Domicologists look at building construction and demolition not as separate events. They see them as part of a cycle that every building follows, from its initial planning and design to deconstruction to make way for new development. 

Domicology examines the continuum from the planning, design and construction stages through to the end of use, abandonment and deconstruction or reuse of structures.

The first thing that domicologists do is look at the whole picture before construction starts. By keeping in mind the building’s entire life cycle, the building can be designed to mitigate the costs of deconstruction as well as prevent unwanted waste. Planning for the end of the building at the beginning can encourage sustainable construction as well as mitigate landfill-dependent demolition.

Planning Ahead for Construction, Deconstruction, and Demolition

After understanding the building’s life cycle, the next step is to identify how to build it with its deconstruction in mind. One way to do this is in the planning stage

First, plan for a construction process that reuses materials salvaged from previous deconstructions. Next, develop a plan for how the deconstruction would occur and what is necessary to ensure that that is done sustainably. Then, when the building is eventually deconstructed, salvage the materials you can and recycle them to keep them out of the landfill stream.

Domicologists also consider:

  • Incorporating modular components for easier dismantling.
  • Increasing the value of salvaged material by using connectors like screws instead of glue or nails.
  • Using salvaged wood over virgin timber to reduce the drain on natural resources.
  • Using salvaged materials, like copper or concrete.

Is Domicology Economically Viable?

As part of their research, the professors at Michigan State performed a study on the economic feasibility of using deconstruction over traditional demolition. They also looked at the shift to a deconstruction-based repurposing economy. 

Their findings, which focused on cities in the Great Lakes, noted that the model is feasible with the help of “specific policies, practices and targeted economic development strategies.” 

Our Oregon Demolition Company Prioritizes Scrap Metal and Concrete Recycling

At Elder Demolition, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive demolition services that incorporate scrap metal and concrete recycling. 

Commercial demolition services can incorporate scrap metal recycling and concrete recycling.

Commercial demolition contractors can follow these principles to help prevent waste of valuable materials that would otherwise be sent to a landfill. Instead, through asset recovery, materials like scrap metal, copper, iron, glass, steel and concrete can be recycled into new forms. Asset recovery can also be potentially lucrative and help offset the costs of demolition.