No Job for Old Men

With the Labor Day weekend approaching (though long gone by the time you read this) I want to focus on TRP's exemplary workers.

Reused building materials are all around us, but we don't often fully appreciate the complex backstory of what we're seeing. We admire the depth and sheen of beautiful paneling, distressed southern yellow-pine flooring, or furniture crafted from old-growth lumber. We gaze at light shimmering through centuries-old stained glass windows, browse antique stores looking for architectural fixtures for our homes, or search salvage yards to find remodeling materials that won't break the budget. But we rarely spend time thinking about where such things come from or what kind of effort it takes to salvage them.

Homeowners, general contractors and architects frequently compliment our deconstruction teams for completing projects on time and budget and leaving clean sites, ready for rebuilding. But few probably realize the amount of hard work, talent and attention TRP crews expend to safely remove the materials and get them to market. Once they're on the retail floor, its all too easy to forget about the behind-the-scenes people who do most of the work.

Several years ago TRP deconstructed several Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolution movie sets in Alameda, California. The films' producers decided to have their own building crews do some of the salvage work prior to TRP crews taking over. The result was a disaster. We had to spend thousands of dollars cleaning up and repairing the damage created in their "deconstruction" efforts.

A couple of weeks ago our Oakland warehouse manager refused a truckload of kitchen cabinets that were "salvaged" by the crews of a custom builder. The materials were scratched; some were destroyed beyond reasonable repair. All the doors and drawers had been removed and handled separately, making it impossible — ok, very difficult — to reassemble. None of the cabinets were wrapped with blankets or other padding, and they were transported in an open truck without secure tie-downs.

To stock the quantity and quality of materials that customers demand requires hard physical work, attention to detail, erratic work scheduling, and exposure to dirty, potentially dangerous conditions. Imagine what it's like to work in 90-degree August heat, wearing long sleeves and gloves for protection, dust masks and respirators to guard lungs, and fogged safety glasses to prevent eye injury. OSHA working conditions are required, but potentially dangerous conditions still exist.

TRP deconstruction workers are young and eager to prove themselves. They are looking for opportunities to move up in the ranks of the construction industry. TRP requires new hires to have experience using all types of construction tools, and then gives them considerable specialized training.

TRP concentrates on the following five critical areas when salvaging building materials for reuse:

  1. Safety. Deconstruction is potentially more hazardous than general construction, so we follow very strict safety rules and refuse to be rushed.
  2. Proper Removal. Building components are removed using proven methods, sequences and tools, to protect the integrity of the materials and their value.
  3. Protection. Once removed, materials are protected from damage caused by loading, shipping and unloading.
  4. Transportation. Prescribed methods are used to load and secure materials, to ensure their safety during shipping.
  5. Time. While it takes substantially more time to deconstruct than to demolish, TRP crews make every effort to complete their work efficiently and rapidly. If too much time is required, we will probably not get the job.

The next time you visit a TRP store, or any of the hundreds of other retail warehouses selling used building materials, give some thought to the young, tough, energetic workers who salvaged those materials and saved them from a landfill burial.

Specials of the Month

At the Oakland we are featuring 2x4s and electrical. Receive 25% off the price of any 2x4 or electrical fixture in the warehouse through September 30.
The ReUse People Specials
The Los Angeles warehouse is featuring doors and plumbing fixtures. Receive 25% off the price of any door, tub, toilet or sink in the warehouse through September 30.
The ReUse People Specials

New Inventory

The Oakland warehouse has new shipments of 1/2-inch, 5/8-inch and 3/4-inch plywood. Now is the time to stock up on this repair/remodeling workhorse.

 

New inventory at the Los Angeles warehouse includes a fancy solid steel driveway entry gate and a spectacular 48" stainless steel Viking range with six burners, grill and double oven.

The ReUse People Specials The ReUse People Specials

Location and Contact Information

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Oakland
9235 San Leandro Street
Oakland, CA  94603
(510) 383-1983; toll-free 888-588-9490
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-6:00 Closed Sunday

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Los Angeles
3015 Dolores Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065
818-244-5635
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-5:00; Sat 10:00-4:00

Please visit our partnering warehouses:

The ReUse Warehouse
1400 East Geer Street
Durham, NC 27704
(919) 219-4913
Hours: Mon-Fri, 2:00-6:00; Sat, 9:30-5:00

Second Chance Building Materials Center
1423 West Grove Street
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 331-2707
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9:00-6:00; Sun, 12:00-5:00

Roaring Fork Valley Habitat for Humanity
7025 Hwy 82
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
(970) 945-7733
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10:00-5:30; Sat, 10:00-5:00; Sun, 11:00-4:00

Stardust Building Supply
3901 E. Thunderbird Road
Phoenix, AZ 85032
(602) 459-9803
Hours: Mon-Sat, 8:00-6:00; Sun, 10:00-4:00

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Salt Lake Valley,
1276 South 500 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 263-0136
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00am-6:00pm; closed Sunday

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Summit & Wasatch Counties
6280 N. Silver Creek Drive, Silver Summit, UT
(435) 487-9015
Hours: Wed-Sat 10:00-6:00; closed Sunday

Recycle Utah
1951 Woodbine Way Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-9698
Hours: Mon-Sat 8:00-5:30; Sun 10:00-4:00

Reuse Depot
50 West Madison
Maywood, IL 60153
(708) 223-0502
Hours: Wed-Mon 10:00-6:00p; Closed Tuesdays

New England Reuse
400 Sackett Point Rd
North Haven, CT 06473
(203) 230-2638
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00p; Saturday 9:00-1:00p

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