Procore set out to find the companies, projects and individuals that stood out for their bold achievements in construction. Among the 27 outstanding finalists selected, nine were named winners of the 2023 Groundbreaker Awards. This article is the fourth in a nine-part series spotlighting each winner.
Sometimes, it’s not the biggest project that has the most significant impact. For Clark Construction Inc (CCI), an employee-owned general contractor headquartered on Bainbridge Island, Washington, their contributions to a special project for their local community has set a precedent for sustainability, reducing construction waste and providing affordable housing.
On Bainbridge Island, the Morales Farm wanted to be able to cost-effectively house local farm workers and interns. The result was CCI partnering with skilled trades and the community to create three tiny homes that were made out of repurposed construction materials. The mission of this project was to demonstrate that through thoughtful design and materials sourcing, construction waste can be reduced and affordable housing for the community can be attained.
When CCI was approached about this project, known as reHOME, they had simultaneously won a lump sum public bid to renovate a medical clinic into a police station and municipal court. This project, nicknamed COBI, required significant demolition, and CCI immediately recognized this would provide the perfect source of materials for reHOME. Through methodical demolition of the old medical clinic, CCI was able to repurpose countertops, bathroom fixtures, doors, windows, flooring and other materials for the tiny homes.
This one-of-a-kind project is deeply connected with CCI’s values and future goals:
“We build big, specialized projects and we’re proud of that. But this small project is unique. It’s complex, and it speaks to our culture, to ingenuity and creativity, and to our values,” said Ashley Oaksmith, Marketing & Business Development Manager at CCI.
Uniting the community through construction
Not only was reHOME an important project to CCI, but to the local community as well. Many volunteers and skilled trades pitched in, helping to solve the jigsaw puzzle of different uses for the recycled materials while trying to stick to the original architectural designs as much as possible.
“It was truly a community effort. They were willing to donate their time, donate materials and even go through their own warehouses and garages to find additional materials,” Oaksmith said. “For many of us at Clark, this project is visible on the drive home from our office and for much of the community, so it’s a constant reminder of what we’re able to do when we put our mind to something.”
In the end, more than 26,000 pounds of building materials, valued at about $125,000, were diverted from the landfill. Not only was the community and CCI involved in getting the job done, but they also were able to reduce waste firsthand in their area and invest in local farms. Though small in size, this project will have an exponential impact for Bainbridge Island.
The future of repurposing and recycling
Casey French, CEO of Clark Construction Inc., has high hopes that the reHOME project will set a standard for what’s possible in regards to minimizing waste in construction through the reuse of materials. A big motivator for the work on reHOME was to prove that construction materials could be effectively reused.
“There’s a lot of waste in construction, as well as over-ordering of materials,” said French. “I have a plan that one day, we can create a storage center with a database which would track extra materials. People would be able to see what materials were available and reuse some of this stuff.”
With organizations seeking for more practical ways to implement sustainable practices, ideas like French’s may be just the ticket. CCI is already practicing the repurposing of materials beyond reHOME.
“We have that conversation on all our jobsites — we care about what is our waste and what we do with leftover materials. They don’t go in the dumpster. We try to find a place for them, sell them, maybe an employee has a use for them, or Habitat for Humanity,” said French.
As CCI continues to value fresh ideas and commitment to their local community and planet, it’s sure to result in even more groundbreaking projects.