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The Home Deconstruction Process: An Interview with Justin Dall'Osto of The ReUse People of America

By Justin Dall'Osto

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

The ReUse People of America (TRP), is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce the solid waste stream and changes the way the built environment is renewed by salvaging building materials and distributing them for reuse. TRP has over 16 difference regional offices in the United States

What are some of the services your company offers?

Services for homeowners:

  • Free project estimates for homeowners considering deconstruction
  • Referrals to IRS-qualified appraisers to determine the value of donated materials
  • Step-by-step rundown of the deconstruction and donation process, including costs
  • Detailed inventories of all used materials to be donated, including fixtures and lumber
  • Delivery of donated materials to TRP warehouses, or partnering organizations

Services for Building Professionals:

  • Consulting on deconstruction and reuse
  • Training in sustainable building practices for contractors wishing to attain TRP certification
  • Tips for contractors and architects on how to better serve their clients while lowering project costs, keeping good materials out of landfills and achieving near zero waste
  • Access to a network of green builders and architects, custom-home builders, interior designers, municipal permitting officials and deconstruction contractors

What are some reasons homeowners would want to deconstruct their house?

Deconstruction is growing in popularity for several reasons:

  • When reusable materials are donated to a qualified nonprofit such as The ReUse People, the donor receives a substantial tax deduction that may offset the cost of deconstruction.
  • Used materials sell for cents on the dollar. This gives consumers a wider range of choices and helps them save money. Stores that sell salvaged building materials are similar to thrift stores.
  • Deconstruction reduces the flow of materials clogging overburdened landfills and extends their life.
  • Salvaged materials do not have to be replaced with newly manufactured materials, which saves energy.
  • Deconstruction is labor intensive and requires trained workers, adding private sector jobs to the economy.

If you could, please explain the steps of the general home deconstruction process:

Deconstruction is the process by which a building's reusable fixtures and framing are carefully removed and salvaged. The deconstruction process prepares the site for new construction or building renovation.

In a full deconstruction, the entire structure is carefully dismantled in the reverse order from which it was built. A qualified deconstruction contractor and crew of skilled workers salvage all reusable fixtures and framing lumber, leaving a clean site.

In a partial deconstruction the process is the same, but involves only those portions of the building being renovated or remodeled. For example, a kitchen remodel would remove cabinets, countertops, sinks, appliances and other fixtures targeted for replacement.

Fixtures are anything that is not part of the framing?doors, lighting, sinks, bathtubs, toilets, vanities, appliances, cabinets, windows, wood flooring, etc. Framing lumber includes rafters, wall studs, ceiling and floor joists. Wood siding, bricks and roof tiles are also salvaged.

How do you suggest clients prepare for this process?

Here is all you need to do, with the TRP Regional Managers Guidance:

  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 (for IRS purposes) and identifies your appraiser and TRP-Certified Deconstruction Contractor. Note: your tax deduction cannot be processed without our receipt of this letter.

How much of the home material can be recycled, and in which ways?

On average 75-90% of homes can be diverted from landfills for reuse and/or recycling

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Visit www.deconstructionwisconsin.com to learn more. Justin Dall'Osto, TRP Wisconsin Regional Manager can be reached at 414-388-6783.

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