For many people the idea of a whole house being recycled is a foreign concept and hard to imagine other than as a demolition project. The fact is houses have been recycled in this way for a very long time (since primitive man came out of caves and decided to built semi permanent accommodation) but even today it is still a rarely witnessed event.
Removal and relocation of homes offers significant benefits in environmental terms as well as economical terms. Demolition of homes goes some way to helping the environment because some material is recycled and used again, but an awful lot is wasted too. Demolition is not only wasteful, it costs money which is never fully recovered.
When recycling a home by moving it whole or in sections, nearly everything is recycled. In most cases 95 percent of a home can be recycled by relocating it. The only thing that is not routinely recycled in a house relocation project are the foundations. The beauty is that everything else can be left in situ as it is and be carried to its new location and used again, kitchen sink and all!
Houses are removed and reused because it is often economical to do so. Not all houses have the potential to be economically recycled, however a huge proportion do. Only a very small percentage of homes that are potentially viable to recycle are actually recycled in this way. Many are wasted due to factors such as ignorance, project time constraints and barriers created by naive Government policy.
It is part of a solution to the housing affordability problem. The cost of moving a house and re-siting it (for suitable homes) is significantly less than the cost to build a similar home from scratch using new materials. The industry has set a benchmark all by itself for the saleability of used homes for removal, by law of supply and demand, and by comparison to the cost of building a new home. In most industries second hand products sell for between a half and two thirds of the cost of a similar new product. A used home for removal will be attractive to a buyer when it can be delivered and sited upon new foundations and connected to services at no more than about 65% of a similar home built new. Many projects are completed for much less than that.
Another benefit is the saving of time. Construction periods are significantly less compared to building new, simply because the house structure already exists with only new foundations and connections required to complete ready to live in. If the house requires complete renovation then construction times can be longer of course, but are rarely as long as a new construction project.