Diamond Head Development uses ethical dismantling for project

Squamish developer pioneers

Squamish Reporter | April 2, 2023

Environmentally driven Squamish developer pioneers practice of ethical dismantling in town’s newest community.

Everything old is new again, at least it is to Finch Drive developer Jason Wood.

Wood’s company Diamond Head Development (DHD) was researching ways to reduce its environmental footprint for Finch Drive, Squamish’s newest – and most environmentally built – community which recently opened sales for Phase 1.

“Climate change has given us no other choice but to become entirely conscious of our impact on the planet,” said Wood, the builder behind Skyridge, one of the latest communities to be completed in the West Coast town. “We’re doing some incredible things that nobody’s ever done before in the Corridor. It’s exciting and we’re really proud. We know it’s possible to make a positive difference in the world while still providing comfort. As environmentally conscientious builders, we have that responsibility.”

DHD enlisted the aid of Squamish-based Phase One Dismantling Services, which specializes in ethical dismantling, and set the standard for creatively replacing the traditionally wasteful process of demolition.

“With 33 to 55 per cent of BC’s municipal landfills made up of building material waste, it is clear we need to get creative on ways to divert. We now know it is possible to divert almost an entire home by ethically dismantling it,” said Bryon Thom, DHD site supervisor.

With Phase One’s help, DHD was able to ethically dismantle five houses — four single-family homes and a log cabin and divert over 98 per cent of the materials – more than one million pounds of building material waste – from the Squamish landfill.

“Diamond Head was committed to a new approach so we began this process back in December 2019,” recalled David Daniels, founder of Phase One. “From the inception, it was clear that taking an ethical approach produces a return on investment. We are able to repurpose windows, doors and jambs, kitchen cabinets, baseboard trim, bathroom fixtures, the insulation inside the walls and the framing materials that make up the structure. We even salvaged gardens, trees, retaining walls and paving stones.

“We ended up tipping the landfill scales at under $2,000 for all five homes!”

By choosing to ethically dismantle a home and diverting over 98 per cent of the materials, it will significantly extend the life of the landfill making the municipality and local ratepayers the big winners.

DHD has a history of environmental commitment including building new, energy sustainable homes like SkyFall, a passion project Woods conceived and oversaw in Skyridge.

SkyFall is a Net Zero, Step Code 5, zero emissions home and the first environmental build of its kind in Squamish. It features all the important components to what many call a “green” home including solar power and zero emissions – and the capacity to return energy to the grid.

“No other company has built Net Zero multi-family homes using both solar and geothermal, in Squamish,” Wood said. “SkyFall was built to serve as a blueprint for the homes at Finch Drive. This is the way of the future, our children’s future. There is no other way.”

“Climate change is a global crisis, and we happen to be in the business of building homes. So we’re taking it upon ourselves to do everything we can to become a leader in our community and show people that you can make a difference. We are building communities and homes to the best of our abilities; showing what can be done. It’s challenging but it’s possible and they can still be beautiful homes that people want to live in.

“We want to give homebuyers a chance to make a difference themselves by making this choice.”

Diamond Head Development (DHD) is a full-service construction and development company specializing in creating residential real estate communities in Squamish, Whistler, and Greater Vancouver for decades.

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