An Introduction to Deconstruction

Comprehensive Training for Deconstruction Workers

TRI’s worker training is designed to convey the full range of knowledge and skills required to become a deconstruction worker.

Deconstruction involves the careful dismantling of buildings with the goal of preserving reusable materials. Whereas nearly anyone with sufficient strength can wield a sledgehammer, a properly trained deconstruction worker knows how to disassemble a building in the correct order, using the appropriate tools, with minimal damage. He or she is able to handle materials deftly, organize them strategically and prepare them for safe shipment.

An Introduction to Deconstruction consists of 12 days of basic training, plus two days of crew chief training, for a total of 14 days. In addition, TRI offers a Training of Trainers program to enable organizations to designate one or more in-house personnel to become licensed to provide deconstruction training on an ongoing basis within the organization.

An Introduction to Deconstruction was developed by TRP with partial funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Products Laboratory and in collaboration with a professional trainer and curriculum writer. The program, which includes student workbooks, trainer guides and accompanying PowerPoint presentations, is available nationwide.

introduction to deconstruction

Basic Training

Basic training consists of 12 consecutive 8-hour days, weekends excluded. Three are classroom days, the remainder is OJT. Crew Chief training requires two consecutive 8-hour days, the first in the classroom, the second in the field. Access to both training sites must be available to the trainer two days prior to the start of training, for preparation of the accommodations, tools and materials. Students are awarded certificates upon completion of training.

Class Size

An enrollment of 10 students (not including one or two supervisors) is ideal. For each additional five students, the host organization is asked to provide one “assistant” to the instructor. Maximum enrollment is 20. More than 20 requires an added class.


Each student receives a 110-page workbook. Students who participate in the Crew Chief Training receive an additional 26-page workbook supplement. Additional materials are distributed during classroom exercises.

Training Site and Equipment

The classroom training requires a space large enough to comfortably accommodate two trainers and up to 22 participants, with ample room for small-group activities and the demonstration of tools and procedures. One each of the following must be provided: a projection screen, flipchart, whiteboard.

A deconstruction site must be provided for the OJT portion of the training. Ideally, this will be a 1,000 to 1,500 square-foot, single-story house with wood or stucco siding. The site should afford ample outdoor space to hold meetings, stack and stage materials and position debris boxes.

Tools Needed

The host organization will purchase, or otherwise provide, a full complement of required tools, using a list provided by TRI. If the host organization is unable to provide tools, TRI will furnish them; however, an advance deposit will be required to cover the cost.

Cost of Training

Quoted upon request.

Training of Trainers

Training of Trainers consists of up to two additional 14-day training workshops beyond the basic. In the first, the trainer-candidate serves as a co-trainer, assisting the TRI trainer with presentations, activities and on-the-job coaching. In the second, the roles are reversed, and the trainer-candidate conducts the workshop with assistance from the TRI trainer. Trainer-candidates must be available to participate in feedback sessions following each day of training.

Prerequisites for trainer-candidates include 1) satisfactory completion of basic training, 2) physical ability to engage in deconstruction work, 3) thorough knowledge of construction and construction materials, and 4) effective communication and presentation skills.

Trainer-candidates who satisfactorily complete the Training of Trainers are licensed by TRP to train others within their organization using TRP copyrighted training materials.

Class Size

At present, TRI trains up to two trainer-candidates at a time.


Trainer-candidates use the student workbook they receive during basic training. In addition, they are supplied with Facilitator Guides, PowerPoint slide presentations and relevant handouts. Only trainer-candidates who successfully complete trainer training may keep these additional materials.

Organization and Duration of Training

Unless excused or otherwise assigned by the TRI trainer, trainer-candidates are expected to participate in all training days. In addition, trainer-candidates should plan to arrive at the training site two days prior to the start of each training program in order to help assess the job site, acquire tools, prepare classroom demonstration props, and participate in planning sessions with the TRI trainer.

Tools Needed

Trainer-candidates are responsible for having a complete set of personal tools, as specified in the Basic Training student workbook.


Quoted upon request

Certification Course Subjects

  • Safety
  • Tools & Equipment
  • Overview of Jobsite
  • Deconstruction Sequence and Variations
  • Debris Handling
  • Understanding Layered Materials
  • Detaching Components and Preparing for Shipment
  • Loading and Unloading Materials

Crew Chief Course Subjects

  • Scheduling and Supervision
  • Documentation and Record-keeping
  • Bidding Deconstruction Jobs
  • Teamwork Strategies
  • Conflict Management