Unbuilders owner Adam Corneil with employee Erin Watkins in front of a deconstructed hearth. Unbuilders crews carefully deconstruct old homes to rescue as many reusable materials as possible, including old-growth timber. (Unbuilders photo)

Unbuilders owner Adam Corneil with employee Erin Watkins in front of a deconstructed hearth. Unbuilders crews carefully deconstruct old homes to rescue as many reusable materials as possible, including old-growth timber. (Unbuilders photo)

B.C. deconstruction company ignites Dragons’ Den interest

Unbuilders deconstructs and salvages old buildings instead of sending them to landfill

A B.C. entrepreneur had all six Dragons’ Den judges opening their wallets after pitching them a business that makes money from salvaged supplies.

Unbuilders is a deconstruction company that is working to save thousands of homes – including one in Vic West – from going to landfill each year by “unbuilding” them instead.

READ ALSO: New Vancouver Island ‘deconstruction’ company breaks down heritage houses by hand

Founder Adam Corneil explained to the dragons that they donate the homes’ fixtures and finishes to Habitat for Humanity and salvage the building materials for resale and remanufacturing.

In Canada, the construction and demolition industry sends the equivalent of 80,000 homes every year to landfills, Corneil told the dragons. Most of those are old homes and are built from old-growth lumber, which is far denser and stronger than modern lumber and holds 12 times less embodied carbon.

READ ALSO: Victoria entrepreneur slays Dragons’ Den pitch

It’s also far more valuable. According to Corneil, $2 billion worth of this lumber is left to rot in landfills across Canada every year. Unbuilders is currently working to salvage it and turn it into flooring, stair treads, countertops and furniture.

“Adam is really impressive — he is the real deal. Entrepreneurs think outside the box; they’re innovators and problem-solvers, and that’s where they win long term,” dragon, Arlene Dickinson, said in the Oct. 29 episode. “Adam is all of that. His company, Unbuilders, is a game-changer within the construction and demolition industry.”

By the end of Corneil’s pitch, he had all six dragons offering him a deal and walked away with the potential for $600,000 ($100,000 from each dragon) at 18 per cent.

READ ALSO: New Vancouver Island ‘deconstruction’ company breaks down heritage houses by hand

In January, Unbuilders expanded to Vancouver Island and set up its office in Nanaimo. Corneil has met with representatives from municipalities in the Lower Mainland, the City of Victoria, and the Capital Regional District, in hopes of having them implement stronger deconstruction policies.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

ConstructionDragon's DenentrepreneurGreater VictoriaHeritageRecycling

Just Posted

A rendering shows what the Doral Forest Park development would look like from the southwest. (Rendering via D’AMBROSIO Architecture & Urbanism)
Beaver Lake area project passes next hurdle in Saanich

Council approval for 242-unit parks edge development hinges on meeting of conditions

Police are looking for witnesses and video footage after a crash on June 18. (Photo courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP looking for videos related to Corvette crash

Driver believed to have fled the scene of View Royal crash

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Greater Victoria with unusually high temperatures expected Monday and this coming weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria’s first week of summer will be a scorcher

Special weather statement issued Monday by Environment Canada

Central Saanich has rejected plans for a pilot project that would allow food trucks in Centennial Park. (Black Press Media file photo)
Central Saanich puts brakes on food truck pilot project

Coun. Carl Jensen questions Central Saanich’s consistency

Construction will begin soon on a building in Victoria designed for families and seniors with low to moderate household incomes. (Black Press Media file photo)
New building in Victoria aimed at providing more affordable homes for families, seniors

Four-storey building will provide 58 homes for residents with low to moderate household incomes

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctos urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

By the end of life, the average North American has eaten the weight of a family sedan in sugar. (Pixabay.com)
FITNESS: Living the sweet life without too much sugar

Simple choices can have a major impact on your health

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

Most Read