Behind the Build: Foundation Recycling 150 150 Administrator

Behind the Build: Foundation Recycling

Deconstruction of this 1923 home in Kenilworth finishes with a machine demolition of the foundation. Masonry, concrete block and steel are carefully sorted and sent to different recycling plants. Through this deconstruction effort the owners have been able to donate and recycle 98% of the old home. We are very happy to enable this very green and renewable construction behavior.

There are lots of ways to be a green builder and deconstruction has a huge impact. You can read about some local Chicago area resources for finding salvage materials, like the ones we recovered from this house, in a previous blog and learn more about the process itself in a previous deconstruction video.



Hi, this is Tom Kenny with Scott Simpson Design + Build. We’re at 240 Raleigh. This is the deconstruction site that you’ve been watching.

We finished the actual deframing portion – where we reclaimed all the you know, slate tiles and the brick and ow we’re actually taking out the foundation. We spent over 3000 man hours deframing the building so that the owners of this property could donate the materials to charity. But these foundation walls are so thick that to have a hand demolition company take it apart would be just cost prohibitive.

This is a 66,000 pound excavator. He’s gonna pull out the foundation for us and we’re still gonna recycle all the material, we’re gonna crush up all this concrete and turn it into road fill, but it doesn’t take as much effort. He’s being really, really careful not to mix up the concrete foundation wall with the masonry block cause they get recycled differently. He’ll break up and stack up the big, heavy pieces of concrete and he’ll load them into one truck and then he’ll take the steel and they’ll load it into another truck and they’re gonna recycle it at different recycling plants.

He’s dropping the stairs and he’s trying to crush the actual foundation wall to break it up. He’s lifting it up. Boom! There we go. I’ve seen these guys going into houses that we’re demolishing and say, listen, the client wants to save that carpet – reach up into the second floor with the tooth bar of the machine, slide the carpet out, bring it out , so we can give it back to the client. It’s amazing how much control they have.

This is the original 1923 boiler for this house. This is so big that we had to bring the excavator in to pull it out of the basement. There’s no other way to get it out. We’re gonna recycle it. It’s cast iron. So, this is the final touch of the recycling part of the job. They’ll pull all the foundation out, they’ll take all this block and we’re gonna recycle that as well and then we’ll have recycled about 98% of the entire building.