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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Caroline Sousa, Bela Spick and her son Mateo marched along Prospect Lake Road in November 2019 to bring attention to the unsafe conditions on the road. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich reduces Prospect Lake Road speed limit to 30 km/h

New speed limit in effect as of Dec. 1 from Goward Road to Estelline Road

Royal Bay Secondary’s leadership class, comprised of Grade 9 through 12 students, is part of the student team organizing this year’s 10,000 Tonight event that shifts entirely online for 2020. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
West Shore student food drive shifts entirely online

Drive-thru option removed from 10,000 Tonight in light of COVID-19 restrictions

Colwood resident, Geoffrey Irwin, has been missing since Sep. 27. His vehicle was found in Vancouver on Nov. 25. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Police search for Colwood man last seen in September

Geoffrey Irwin’s vehicle was found in Vancouver Nov. 25

BC Transit confirmed on Dec. 1 that a Langford employee has tested positive for COVID-19. (Courtesy of BC Transit)
Langford transit worker tests positive for COVID-19

Island Health is conducting contact tracing for the case

The BCCDC has added Air Canada Jazz flight 8081 on Nov. 26 to its flight exposure list. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
New COVID-19 exposure on flight from Vancouver to Victoria

Rows four to 10 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8081 on Nov. 26 were exposed

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read