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A New Reclaimed Building 3

Posted 17th February 2024 by Mongers Admin




There are many items that we are very used to recycling; glass bottles, for example, have been broken in bottle banks and then re-manufactured for re-use since the late 1970’s. Metal is another material which is widely recycled, melted down and utilised in new construction. However, a milk bottle that is cleaned and re-used is an obvious example of reducing waste and energy consumption, and so it should be with steel beams.

We, when aspiring to construct a truly reclaimed building, decided that we should use old steel beams and columns within the building. The construction, itself, does not require a large amount of steel, but because we are adapting an existing steel building, we are using steel beams to support the second story and to support a flat roof extension.

Luckily, up the road from us in Hingham, there is a large established firm that makes steel framed farm buildings. I approached the Managing Director about purchasing some of their reclaimed stock and after a bit of persuasion we managed to get someone to look at our specifications and see what was lying about in their yard. In an enormous muddy field, there are hundreds of sections of steel, that have been removed from existing buildings when alterations and the like have taken place. They are re-used when temporary bracing is required or shoring up of old structures.

Our engineer was very happy to use the reclaimed steel, but it did mean that we had to be quite flexible with sizes. Some of our beams are now way oversize to that which was required. The only complaints coming from those with the task of lifting them into place.


I visited the yard to approve each beam and we decided to use some large round columns, rather than those drawn, for our balcony supports, which I think will be a nice feature. The biggest surprise was the difference in price between new steel and our reclaimed. One new beam (for which we failed to find an alternative) costing nearly as much as all the other beams together. We paid a little above scrap prices for the material and then we paid for the steel to be altered, with new lugs for fixing, and re-sprayed.

My honest conclusion to this part of our project is to question why more people are not doing it and using reclaimed steel.

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