Designing Structural Systems for Deconstruction: How to Extend a New Building's Useful Life and Prevent it from Going to Waste When the End Finally Comes

November 29, 2005
Publication: Greenbuild Conference, Atlanta, GA
Author(s): Mark Webster Costello D.T.

Abstract: This paper applies the emerging concept of Design for Disassembly (DfD) to building structural systems. DfD benefits the environment by simplifying building modifications and end-of-life disassembly. Buildings are more likely to be renovated, rather than replaced, when renovations are made simpler and less costly by the application of DfD. At the end of the building's life, materials are more likely to be salvaged or recycled if they can be easily removed and segregated. Structural systems generally account for well over 50% of a building's mass, so application of DfD to the structure is particularly worthwhile. The authors, a structural engineer and a building dismantler, review the general concepts of DfD, and then apply DfD concepts to the most common structural systems and materials, including steel, concrete, wood, and masonry structures. Finally, the paper considers how DfD might be rewarded in a LEED credit.