Karin Boriss is thrilled to be taking her Vancouver house apart instead of just knocking it down.
Boriss and her husband Alex Holmes are the first homeowners in the city to get a deconstruction permit instead of simply demolishing their 1940s-era home on West 18th Avenue.
They purchased the home in order to build a new house and tried to sell it to someone who would move it. They couldn’t even give it away, though, so it had to come down.
But they didn’t want to just send the house to the landfill.
“We were thrilled when we found out about the deconstruction process,” Boriss said Thursday during a city tour of her house being carefully torn apart to salvage anything of value.
“It cost us less to do than demolition,” she said.
The process takes longer, two to three weeks compared to two to three days for demolition, but that’s where the city steps into the process by speeding up the permitting process.
Sadhu Johnston, the deputy city manager, said a pilot program tested deconstruction on two homes.
“We found we could actually keep 93 per cent of the houses out of the landfill,” said Johnston.
He said that 80 tonnes of housing materials were diverted from the landfill with each house. With 800 house demolitions a year in Vancouver, the rough estimate of diverted material is 64,000 tonnes.
“We think we can create good green jobs, apply less pressure on the landfill and pursue our Greenest City goals,” said Johnston.