Design for Deconstruction

5th April 2015 by ProDEM

Prior to any building work taking place, careful consideration must be made during the design and planning stages to ensure the building can be dismantled and demolished quickly and efficiently when required. It’s important that engineers and architects bear in mind that deconstruction is more than just the end of the building’s useful life. Premises which have been designed in preparation for demolition are typically easier to maintain and can be efficiently dismantled at end of life so all salvaged materials can be reused, recycled or remanufactured.


A range of conventional construction methods and materials are almost impossible to deconstruct and should, therefore, be avoided during the Design for Deconstruction (DfD) process. For example, the use of nails and adhesives can significantly slow down deconstruction and can ruin otherwise reusable materials, so mechanical fasteners such as bolts are a much more efficient way of connecting parts. With this in mind, hazardous materials , such as lead, must be avoided altogether as they cause environmental and health concerns and are non-reusable after deconstruction.

Typically, simple construction methods which use high-grade, durable materials work best for Design for Demolition (DfD) structures as the components can be dismantled quickly and efficiently. Therefore, careful consideration regarding demolition must be made during the design process.


According to the DfD manual, the idea of this movement is to “responsibly manage end-of-life building materials to minimise consumption of raw materials. By capturing materials removed during building renovation or demolition and finding ways to reuse them in another construction project or recycle them into a new product, the overall environmental impact of end-of-life building materials can be reduced.” Therefore, architects and engineers have an important role in contributing to this movement by designing buildings which allow for adaptation and renovation at the end of their useful life.

Last year, it was reported that a team of Cambridge researchers were putting together a case for flexible buildings that are specially designed so they can be easily reused and recycled. As part of their project, they spent a year working with a large supermarket chain and discovered that, despite an increase in the overall costs, the fast construction time and flexibility of the system were considered important commercial benefits. Incorporating flexibility and adaptability into the design process provides plenty of opportunity  to alter and upgrade buildings, so their useful life can be increased from the current average of 40 years to 100 years.


As leading demolition contractors serving across Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and the Midlands region, our team at ProDEM are highly trained in all aspects of safe and effective demolition, remaining professional at all times. No matter what your demolition requirements are, or what size the site, we are the most experienced demolition company in the region, providing first class services for highly competitive prices. Simply get in touch with our expert team today for further information about any of the services we provide.