About Syd’s Demo Salvage

vintage home theatre seats

Syd’s Demo Salvage is a based near Victoria, BC  We dis-assemble, process and reclaim building materials and products from structures being renovated or demolished otherwise slated for the landfill. These products are purchased at reasonable prices by those in the community choosing to reuse materials rather than purchasing new which places additional stresses on the various resource streams.  Many furniture makers purchase materials no longer available due to scarcity.  This, in a small way,  reduces some demand to cut mature forests for similar wood as well as less energy is expended in the transportation, milling and processing.  In a similar way, various lighting fixtures, sinks, toilets, windows and other housing components are diverted from the waste stream and less manufacture, transport, warehousing and base materials (as well as astronomical amounts of energy) are conserved.   This business also provides materials at a cheaper cost than new allowing the building budget to be stretched further, rewarding the consumer in the process.  In the case of heritage homes, it also rescues unattainable materials allowing for renovations to match the original heritage character.   Success can easily be determined by the tonnage of truckloads of materials that are salvaged from a demo/reno site.


Project Summary and Effectiveness 

Previously salvaging from demo’s was restricted by the short time period from start to finish. As land prices are exceptionally high, the interest on the financing creates a stress on demolition companies to restrict their salvage to easy to market items, ie copper pipes, wiring and bulk steel all to be recycled rather than reused, thereby sacrificing the huge manufacturing and transportation costs.  Our business, was designed to encourage a higher level of reuse along the lines of a business model so that all political ideologies could see the wisdom in reuse and assist and encourage such businesses by grants, regulations and permits.  To date we have not moved this into the political arena, but will soon be ready to.  A final outcome would see government embracing such a program and assisting in land/lease costs, requiring salvage clearance assessments and pricing permits so as to generously offset the interest costs for those wishing to maximize salvage vs those content to crush and rush to the dump.  The project will be ready to present to various levels of government once our existing facility has zoning approval which is in the application phase.    Success will be determined by rules being changed to demand a level of conservation compliance of reusable materials.


Innovation, Creativity and Originality

20140127_103739_resizedOur business differs from existing in that we stock materials allowing consumers to purchase used at a reduction of new cost, when they need it, not when they hear of a building coming down.  This increases the stock of reclaimed materials.  Our system also provides a safety component by not forcing customers onto a construction site, which is prohibited.  Within the existing framework, of taking buildings down, it makes sense to have a crew of specifically trained workers  safely remove and not damage a myriad of salvageable materials following worksafe practices and in a timely manner.  These materials can then be photographed, posted on net for sale and transported to a nearby customer friendly site where the customer can shop without being an impediment to machinery or risking their health and safety.  The larger companies, responsible for removing the building are provided with a financial incentive to salvage by having a ready wholesale customer willing to purchase from them using a  trained, compliant and insured labour force.  They also have their trucking and dumping costs reduced as there is less to dispose of, creating a second level of financial gain


Promotion and Impact of Environmental Stewardship

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to save our forestsThe project by definition is providing a cost friendly bonus to the purchaser as well as the pride that comes from reusing—the highest form of conservation.  Building materials are typically hauled to overburdened landfills or burning sites creating more CO2 and global warming, neither of which is necessary.  It can be conservatively estimated that since 2006 at least 200 tons of material have been rescued and two thirds of that redistributed during that period.

This sort of project would be easy to duplicate elsewhere, but requires an expensive land base, and investments in the initial purchase, labour and transport of product as well as the organizing, marketing and storage costs.  Many salvage techniques have been refined and could easily be shared in a How-To format, video, evening courses or onsite training.  The biggest barriers are the cost of land/rent in the urban areas and the stocking of materials.  These hurdles could be offset if various levels of government were convinced of the benefit to the public to embrace a reuse system and chose to assist in a number of ways to entice idealist operators to step forward.



I have discussed with various contractors, builders and customers the benefits of reuse as well as the ethics of this method of dealing with expired buildings compared to the existing crash, truck and bury model presently used 95% of the time.  Various green businesses invite us to assess the salvage at the beginning of their project and at times at the bidding point where they can reduce their bid over their competition due to salvage revenues.   There are other small salvage companies and individuals that rescue materials, but space is the limiter.  In order for other organizations to increase their salvage of materials and processing skills, a dialogue would need to be established.  Ironically most of those in this practice rarely make the time to do so due to the pressures of life and the efficiency of mobile devices that have made free time as scarce as dinosaurs.

That being said, it would be worthwhile to identify and share the specific salvaging techniques and safe work practices including extraction, packaging, measuring, pricing and specific storing of inventories so as to maximize resale value.  This is more challenging as used materials are nowhere near as standard as those coming from a factory.  In a competitive economic system, this sort of cooperation would require a level of support and leadership not presently achieved, possible staff funding or  volunteerism might help it to succeed.  An Association of Demo Salvagers would be a logical starting point.

Serving Victoria, BC for over 30 years we have become specialists at finding the best items from breaking down homes, restaurants, retail and industrial businesses.  Syd Haskell, owner and founder of SDS, is an expert in removing items from buildings in a safe and careful process to maintain the integrity of each component.  With decades of experience behind him, he has an eye for quality materials, and only picks the best from each demolition site to pass on to his customers, so check out our selection to find what you need to complete your project.