Demolition

We're far along in the construction process for the new house, but I realized I had never touched on demolition vs. deconstruction. This can be a hot topic up for debate these days in the construction industry not to mention the public and public opinion. Demolition is now required to be recycled in many if not all cities in the Bay Area. There's a particular program the City of Palo Alto uses called Green Halo. As opposed to a fairly quick demolition process, the deconstruction process takes longer for the obvious reasons that a team of workers will disassemble a building piece by piece. In demolition, it's more focused on bringing down the building and then hauling its pieces off site to a recycling center.

We decided to demolish our existing structure for several reasons. Time was actually not as big a factor since we've been living on the property, but it was more about the complexity of the building or lack thereof. There was very little to actually demolish (much more garbage we'd been storing in the garage that we wanted hauled away) and the lack of building materials and salvageable items contributed to our decision to demolish and recycle the building waste.

Here's the bobcat on demo day. The first thing to go? The sliding garage door.

Here's the bobcat on demo day. The first thing to go? The sliding garage door.

Once the door is down and removed, the bobcat makes its way inside.

Once the door is down and removed, the bobcat makes its way inside.

Perhaps not the best picture, but I was actually staying out of the water that was being sprayed to keep dust to a minimum. Part of the demo team also stands by on the bed of the hauling trucks so they can arrange for the pieces to fit best. In addition to the bobcat, a mini-excavator was brought on side to help with the demo.

Perhaps not the best picture, but I was actually staying out of the water that was being sprayed to keep dust to a minimum. Part of the demo team also stands by on the bed of the hauling trucks so they can arrange for the pieces to fit best. In addition to the bobcat, a mini-excavator was brought on side to help with the demo.

It's literally a matter of minutes. Again, the building was very simple, so you can imagine it might be different if this were a house with interior walls and fixtures, but in our case, just a simple four walled garage.

It's literally a matter of minutes. Again, the building was very simple, so you can imagine it might be different if this were a house with interior walls and fixtures, but in our case, just a simple four walled garage.

Once the roof and walls are gone, they start chipping away at the concrete slab that used to be the floor of the garage. 

Once the roof and walls are gone, they start chipping away at the concrete slab that used to be the floor of the garage. 

After the garage was fully demolished, we had the tree removed as well. While it was a pity to cut down the tree, it was actually already sick partly because the tree roots began to grow under the side of the existing garage. Another thing many people don't realize is the lifespan of trees. While we'd like to think we should be able to keep all trees forever, each species of plants have a lifespan and when a tree gets too old or beyond the end of its lifecycle, it can become a fall hazard. While it can be valuable having trees nearby, too close to a building can be a bad idea as in this case. We were sad to see it go, along with the treehouse...

You can see the remains of the treehouse in the pile of tree trunks and limbs.

You can see the remains of the treehouse in the pile of tree trunks and limbs.

One of the unforeseen issues that came up with the tree removal, was the extent of its roots. Again, it was at the end if not already past its lifecycle, so you can imagine how many roots were spread in the ground – like wrinkles on an old person's face. Okay, not the most pleasant analogy, but it's true!

With the tree and garage gone, we're left with our building site. Make way for our new secondary dwelling unit!

With the tree and garage gone, we're left with our building site. Make way for our new secondary dwelling unit!