Demolition firm has a recycling mantra

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By SHELLEY TOPP

Dumping building materials is frowned on at Rangiora’s Graceworks Demolition and Recycling.

“We’re one of the few demolition yards that actually recycle,” yard supervisor Adam McKay says. “Most of the other demolition companies crush and carry. All they do is fold the building up, crush it, put it on the truck and dump it.”

Owner Paul King, a builder by trade, says he is passionate about recycling.

“I love getting as much as we can out of the buildings we are demolishing for recycling,” he says.

The Graceworks yard in Mulcocks Rd is testament to that. It is a trove of pre-used building materials, much of it saved from red-zoned homes, shops, businesses and churches condemned to the demolition hammer after Canterbury’s 2010-11 earthquakes.

For Paul, it was heartbreaking to see so much building material from red-zoned properties dumped in landfill when it could have been reused or recycled.

At the yard, customers can buy everything from a pair of cast-iron flower pots from last century to double-glazed aluminium windows, hot water cylinders, woollen insulation, kitchens, bathrooms, internal and external doors, steel beams, gates, timber, chairs, sofas, electrical appliances, mirrors, wooden framed-windows and everything in between.

There is even a selection of specially made tongue-in-groove timber made from recycled, re-machined kauri and rimu available for customers renovating old villas who want to retain the character of the house, or if part of an existing floor needs to be replaced. “It is quite unique,” Adam says.

To Paul’s way of thinking, every unwanted building can provide much to recycle or reuse, but some demolition jobs also uncover hidden or lost treasure.

“I found a diamond hat pin once,” Paul recalls. It had slipped down behind a fireplace.

The demolition of Christchurch’s Nazareth House also uncovered a long-forgotten treasure, a golden monstrance which is a sacred church vessel.

“It was found in a safe behind the altar,” Paul says. “It wasn’t part of the chattels the church wanted, but we decided we wanted to give it back to them. They were ecstatic.

“The monstrance was sent to England to be polished and has now been returned to the new Nazareth House aged-care facility built on the old site in Brougham St.”

Paul also managed to save two buildings from the Nazareth House demolition.

He donated the pair, a small chapel and the top story of the convent containing six bedrooms with ensuites, a lounge and a laundry, to the Woodend Christian Camp. Graceworks was established in Loburn 15 years ago after Paul had leftover recycled material he had sourced to build a new garage.

He listed the surplus items on Trade Me, turned a profit, and the business began from there. A year later the business had outgrown the Loburn site so Paul moved to premises in Rangiora.

His skills as a builder are also put to good use in the business, creating new products, such as chopping boards made with Canadian Oregon and a rustic dining room/kitchen table made from English pine.