Deconstruction Is An Environmentallyfriendly Alternative To Demolition

Dated: 02/01/2016

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What Is Deconstruction?

Deconstruction is an environmentally-friendly alternative to demolition. Trained deconstruction crews carefully deconstruct the building to salvage as many of the reusable materials as possible, diverting them from local landfills. Salvaged items typically include doors, windows, cabinets, lighting and plumbing fixtures, framing lumber, roofing materials, and flooring. For an overview of materials salvaged from actual projects, visit the projects page.

Materials are shipped to TRP retail warehouses, or to the warehouses of partnering organizations, for sale and distribution to the public. Salvaged lumber is sometimes used as raw material by furniture, cabinet and flooring manufacturers. Larger dimensional lumber is shipped to mills that resurface and cut the lumber for reuse in homes and commercial buildings.

TRP has a nearly spotless safety record, a reputation for starting and completing jobs on time and on budget, and a long list of satisfied contractors and clients.

What are the steps for deconstruction?

Here is all you need to do:

  1. Receive an appraisal consultation:

    TRP will have independent, IRS qualified appraisers assist you in determining a preliminary value of your donation at no obligation to you. If you choose to move ahead with the project, the appraiser you hire will complete the full evaluation and all necessary documentation.

  2. Get a free deconstruction bid:

    A TRP-Certified Deconstruction Contractor will submit a bid to carefully deconstruct your building to TRP specifications.

  3. Donate:

    Email or fax the Donation Letter to TRP. This letter states you intend to make the donation and identifies your appraiser and TRP-Certified Deconstruction Contractor. Note: your tax deduction cannot be processed without our receipt of this letter. (See “Donation Letter,” enclosed.)

That’s it. TRP takes if from there!

What are the benefits for the homeowner?

Tax donation documentation is available for every private building owner. The value of used building material donations can often be substantial – large enough to pay for the costs of deconstruction. The following chart shows actual deconstruction jobs and the tax donation value received by their respective homeowners. The amounts listed are dependent upon several variables and should not be used to assess your specific situation. For additional information, see Homeowner's Guide to Donations.

Below the chart is a comparison of deconstruction costs to those of traditional demolition on an actual project. To calculate the economic benefit you could receive when choosing The ReUse Solution click on this worksheet.

Actual Appraised Donation Values

City   Square Feet   Appraised Donation Value
Atherton   5,523   $182,346
Carmel   3,342   $137,712
Healdsburg   2,772   $174,315
Larkspur   2,304   $129,425
Napa (house & barn)    2,804   $102,025
Newport Beach   6,771   $333,000
Oakland   1,400   $74,144
Orinda   4,275   $137,940
Pacific Palisades   4,500   $162,600
Palo Alto   2,488   $94,849
Rancho Santa Fe   4,900   $168,465
Santa Barbara   2,100   $57,000
Santa Monica   1,400   $46,694
Woodside   8,600   $326,863

Boulder   3,300   $114,000
Boulder   5,800   $232,000
Denver   2,900   $125,566

Fairway   2,204   $77,474
Mission Hills   2,996   $145,297

Chicago   2,200   $110,096
Chicago   2,800   $118,150
Glencoe   4,950   $204,000
Dallas   3,200   $129,000

Bellevue   3,800   $175,600
Redmond   800   $38,302
Seattle   1,600   $40,000

Kenosha   2,250   $98,000


The example below is a composite based on actual jobs and used here to make an economic comparison between deconstruction and demolition. This composite is a single story, 2200 square foot house plus garage, with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, raised foundation, composite shingles, single-paned windows, carpeting, hardwood floors, and a 12 x 40 wood deck. The costs due not include removal of concrete slabs, sidewalks, foundations or asphalt, but do include the site being left in a rake clean condition (no debris).

In the machine demolition scenario, the owner pays $10,100, but in the TRP deconstruction scenario, the homeowner receives $24,640 in after tax benefits - slightly more than the total deconstructon costs. Therefore, the owner would be financially better off to the tune of $10,402 ($302 received in tax benefits over the cost of deconstruction plus avoiding $10,100 in machine demolition costs).

Comparison Between Deconstruction and Demolition

TRP Deconstruction Demolition  
  Physical lowering of house
Disposal of trash & debris
Appraisal of salvaged materials

Total Costs

Donation Value*

Tax Savings* (after-tax value of donated materials)

Total Costs (from above)





  After-Tax Benefit / (Out of pocket cost) $302 $(10,100)  
The after-tax benefit between the two methods is $10,402; not only does the tax savings completely cover the cost of deconstruction, but the homeowner also saves $10,100 in demolition fees.
*Total materials (lumber, plywood, cabinets, plumbing and electrical fixtures, doors, windows, etc.) would generally appraise for $77,000 to $112,000 in good reusable condition. Assuming a tax bracket of 28%(federal only - this will be larger in states with an additional income tax), the after-tax cash value, based on a typical appraisal value of $88,000, is $24,640.

Now for the disclaimers. Figures vary depending on location, age and condition of the home and materials, topography, type of siding and interior walls, distance from a TRP or partner retail-warehouse, landfill rates, etc. Still, the economics almost always favor TRP deconstruction over demolition.


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Sheryll White

As a Full Time real estate agent for the past 23 years, Sheryll has helped hundreds of home owners in Colorado buy and sell their homes. Sheryll's easy going, no pressure style and her in depth knowl....

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