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Reuse Development: The Missing Phase in the Design and Construction Process- SP'10 Newsletter

Deadlines, schedules and routines are constants in the design and construction world. It can be challenging to incorporate new ideas into a process that’s already so demanding. So, how do we keep evolving? By making sure the concepts we embrace are faster, smarter and more cost-effective. When thinking green, the industry demands solutions that are as beneficial for the project as they are for the planet.

Traditionally, material reuse in commercial construction has been subject to mis-perceptions that limited the practice. But as the movement progresses, times change. And as many sustainably-minded professionals have demonstrated over the years, when you perpetuate beneficial adjustments to the system, the system responds.

This same approach is revolutionizing the way people view material reuse. By overcoming and solving reuse material concerns, people are changing these processes—not only for good, but for the greater good.

The old-school design process is familiar: Schematic Design, Design Development and Construction Documents. But is something missing? Bayne Dickinson of Concordia Architects asks, “With no cost to projects, possible savings and LEED points, why wouldn't I run every project through your company? It's a great idea to open all projects up to more reuse opportunities.”

PlanetReuse is on a mission to encourage Reuse Development as a part of the process on every project, regardless of whether LEED certification is planned. Material reuse saves clients money, helps divert materials from landfills and provides great stories of reuse—without complicating the design process.

Reuse Development is a cost-free way to evaluate reclaimed material opportunities. By considering reuse opportunities earlier in the process, the scope of potential materials grows exponentially. And because the efforts happen in parallel with design work, there is no impact to the schedule.

In the new model, the design process becomes: Schematic Design, Reuse Development, Design Development and Construction Documents.

Here’s how it works: send PlanetReuse project drawings as PDFs—the earlier the better—with a project description or material lists if available. PlanetReuse assembles a summary of reclaimed materials for use on your project, including options like structural steel, access flooring, office furniture, carpet tile and many other items. Once identified and reviewed, the company coordinates photos, samples, purchase orders and shipping.

PlanetReuse is working with designers to reframe the typical process to include reuse development. “Sustainable designers want to do the right thing. Architects ask me to send them reminders about our services all the time, since it isn’t part of the traditional process—yet,” said PlanetReuse Principal + Founder Nathan Benjamin. “Material reuse doesn’t have to require additional budget or time, and it’s within the realm of possibility for all projects. We’re here to show people that it’s easy too.”