Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Conservationist thinking . . .

CHARLES Mynors: "There are now around 500,000 listed buildings in England, which is enough at the present rate of demolition to last 5,000 years."
Conservationist lawyer. (There are also 9,000 conservation areas which contain a million buildings.)

MICHAEL Heseltine: "I would like another chance to put right things I got wrong."
Former UK Government minister in charge of listed buildings.

FIONA Reynolds: "It's not all doom and gloom."
Director General of the National Trust.

GRIFF Rhys-Jones: "I long for some sort of institution to actively promote new thinking about reuse."
Comic presenter of TV's Restoration series.

JOHN Yates: "What scares me? Building owners consigning their history to the skip."
Chairman of Institute of Historic Building Conservation.

MALCOLM Airs: "In ten years, the Heritage Lottery Fund has spent £3 billion on 15,000 projects."
Professor of Conservation, Oxford University.

JOHN Preston: "Five million of the 25 million buildings in England pre-date 1919. Twenty-five per cent of 645,000 planning applications had conservation implications."
Trustee COTAC, chairman IHBC education.

DONOVAN Rypkema: "The US National Register of Historic Places covers 1.2 million buildings . . . with each building having almost no protection. In 30 years of historic tax credits nearly $37 billion has been invested in 34,000 historic US buildings."
Principal of PlaceEconomics USA

DAVID Lambert: "Historic parks and gardens are latecomers to the feast of heritage legislation and protection. It was the storms of 1987 that really increased the levels of funding."
Parks Agency and Garden History Society.

ADAM Wilkinson: "SAVE's own view on some of the buildings it originally campaigned against, such as the Gateshead car park, have been reversed. The greatest threat to our heritage is Ruth Kelly's Housing Market Renewal Initiative . . . destruction of 57,000 homes, the majority pre-1919."
Secretary SAVE Britain's Heritage

Quotes taken from The Journal of Architectural Conservation published by Donhead 2006.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Frits Philips sale in Eindhoven

Lot 617: Gilt iron armillary, 1786, with auxiliary sphere - what is that about? - and painted hour ring, 131cm high. Sold €19,200 (est €4k)
Lot 883: Relief moulded terracotta brick, 12cm by 14cm by 5cm, depicting a rampant boar, probably German 16thC. Sold €480 (est €300)
Lot 33: Top tile lot: Nine Dutch polychrome tulip tiles, c1620-1650. Sold €11,400 (est €1k).
Lot 470: A 16th century Flemish tondo of yellow and grisaille stained glass, now a hanger, picturing Christ on the path to Calvary, 22cm dia, which sold for €16,800 (est €3k).
Lot 597: Jan Pieter van Bauerscheit the elder (1668-1728), Dutch carved gritstone putto holding a seal with a dog, 90cm high, the plinth carved with the letters PVB J F. Sold €20,400 (est €8k)
Lot 601: Carved stone group of Pan and Syrinx, 19thC, on gritstone pedestal, 2.6m high overall. Sold €30k (est €40k). Mythology: In Arcadia, Pan chased Syrinx who to evade cpature was transformed into reeds from which Pan made his pan pipes
Lot 589: Two French steel wine bottle racks, 164cm high 100cm wide 56cm deep. Sold €2,400 (est €2k)
Photos: Sotheby's

Eindhoven, North Brabant, Holland - THE death aged 101 of Frits Philips, one time head of electrical giant Philips NV, resulted in a sale by Sotheby's held on 4 December 2006. Anton and Gerald Philips started making light bulbs in Eindhoven in 1895. PSV Eindhoven, the works sports union, Philips Sports Vereniging, was founded in 1913 to celebrate the centenary of the defeat of the French in the Napoleonic wars, and is now known for its professional football club, of which Frits was a keen fan. The club is keeping his stadium seat empty as a memorial. In 1966 Frits built the Evoluon, where this auction sale was held, as a flying saucer shaped science museum gifted to the people of Eindhoven. During the war he helped Jews evade the Nazis and was put in a concentration camp for four months because of a strike at the Philips factory. The Sotheby's sale, which totaled €5.7m (£3.8m $7.3m) was of items collected by Frits and his father Anton Philips.

Sotheby's Frits sale results

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Reclamation Protocol Part 2

London UK - Part Two follows Part 1 (below) and was a summary of a fuller version printed in the journal Salvo Monthly, April & May 1995

A RECLAMATION PROTOCOL by Thornton Kay of SALVO in 1995

Many building materials are being reclaimed throughout the world, but in Europe and North America, much more could be done. In these environment-conscious times we believe that more is being trashed in richer countries than ever before. This would seem to suggest that reclamation is not as successful as it should be due to the consumer ethic that "new is best". The main reason for this is not lack of interest from consumers, who are showing an increasing willingness to buy reclaimed material, but ignorance of the market and an unhelpful attitude on the part of producers of new materials who are understandably reluctant to relinquish market share.

There are limits to the total amount of material available to be reclaimed and these limits are determined by many factors, the most important of which is the primary supply from the demolition industry of components from whole buildings and the abundant amounts placed in skips from smaller demolitions during the course of alteration and repair works. If every scrap of material available were to be reclaimed, about 30,000 tons a day in Britain, we reckon that this would still only provide reclaimed alternatives to fulfil around 5% to 10% of the total building materials market. At present we reckon that less than 1% is currently sourced from reclaimed material, and it is this small, but significant, loss of material taken to landfill sites for which we are trying to encourage a market. The majority of this material is in the form of bulk items such as timber, bricks and masonry. However, much is still lost in the form of Victorian fixtures and fittings, early 20th century features, and incredibly we still hear all too often of very valuable features, such as, in February 1995, a carved marble Georgian fire surround from Edinburgh's New Town district in a skip going to landfill.

The recycling protocol that was embodied in the sustainability clause - known as Agenda 21 - at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit gives priority to the preservation of energy content when reusing resources. Broadly speaking it states that if it takes more energy to reuse an item than it does to make a new one, then in energy terms it is better to make a new one and throw the old one away. This relates directly to the voluntary efforts being made to reduce the amount of fossil fuel expended on producing new materials, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions and so reducing global warming. The reasons for wanting to reduce global warming are primarily that future generations will have to cope with the considerable extra financial burden of minimising the effects of climate change, not least of which will be rising sea and river levels, which will require reduction in land mass or the expense of increased flood protection schemes. However, this is only part of the equation.

Agenda 21 also gives priority to preserving resources and respecting cultural identity. This does not have a simple formula, like the energy example above. How do you value resources such as old mahogany against new Iroko, or 300 year old Sitka spruce against 30 year old plantation Sitka? Many of the old indigenous timber species are known to be more durable, but there is no formula for making a comparison with plantation species. The environmental damage caused by forestry methods is now becoming known as a contributor to soil erosion and acid lakes and rivers. There is no formula to make comparisons between old and new timber but logic would say that it is sensible to reclaim timber rather than destroy it. It is also true that timber disposed of in unmanaged landfill will generate methane which is a greenhouse gas. As mentioned above, reclaimed timber will never replace the demand for new timber but it could reduce it by 5% to 10%, and so help preserve forests, which in turn will allow the greater use of these forests as habitat for wildlife and people. If timber is not demolished in large enough sections to be reusable, then it is possible to recycle smaller pieces. An Austrian firm is attempting to manufacture blockboard using recycled timber. If after attempts to reclaim or recycle prove impossible, then the timber should be used to provide fuel. All demolished construction materials have similar patterns of reuse opportunities, but the simple energy-based criteria is not the only one. Even energy formulae are difficult to produce. For instance, do you take the energy costs of felling wood, transporting it and converting it, do you add the energy involved to make the logging machinery, and house and transport logging workers?

The traditional manufacture of construction materials often overlap with, or even rely on, reclamation and recycling. For example, in Britain the Campaign for Real Iron is attempting to prevent the early 19th century charcoal-made wrought iron panels of early iron structures from being scrapped alongside modern mild steel, and melted down to make into new steel products. Charcoal-made wrought iron is impossible to manufacture in Britain, so as a resource it is invaluable if, like Yorkshire blacksmith Chris Topp, you make wrought iron railings with blown leaf scrolls and appreciate the difference. Outside Agenda 21, although remaining inside the Rio cultural protocol, a case can be made that old buildings and architectural items form part of the history of a culture, and so should be preserved for re-use. Even though something of the original integrity of an architectural item may be lost if that item is reused out of context, we believe that it is better used out of context than placed in landfill. Many examples exist where items rescued in the past and reused out of context, have been subsequently repatriated in their historically or architecturally correct setting at a later date. Ordinary people tend to appreciate the efforts made, although the current fashion in Britain is dictated by a small minority of historical architecture fundamentalists (which include the leading lights of Britains' conservation organisations) who would rather see both demolished buildings, and all the materials they contain, continue to be landfilled. Salvo has devised a recycling protocol with respect to the built environment that gives the following priority list for what to do with old architectural items:

1. Re-use a building without demolition or alteration. If this is not possible then:-
2. Reclaim components in as intact a way as possible. Relocate entire buildings, Reuse facades and structural elements, Reclaim whole features such as windows with their surrounds, shutters, and window furniture. Finally dismantle and Reclaim the individual items that were used to assemble a building. We define Architectural Antiques as manufactured items usually with a degree of skilled labour involved, such as carved items, doors and fireplaces, and Reclaimed Building Materials as the basic building components such as bricks and timber beams. If reclamation is not possible then:-
3. Recycle and remanufacture a new product. Reclaimed wood can be recycled to make furniture, floorboards or even blockboard. Concrete can be crushed to make recycled aggregate. Plastics can be remanufactured into new plastics products like polythene bags. If recycling is not an option then:-
4. Beneficially Destroy with energy recovery. Scrap wood and other carbon-based products can be used to fuel power plants, or for local heating or cooking. Methane can be recovered from landfill sites where carbon-based demolition waste has been tipped.

All political parties should adopt this sensible protocol in environmental policy documents on demolition waste - Reuse, Reclaim, Recycle, Destroy. This would at least create the correct theoretical background against which targeted effort and practical measures can be applied.

The UK Planning Acts have produced a planning process that creates an emotive link between local public opinion and old buildings. The concept of reusing buildings or their components again, or relocating whole buildings, does not enter into that process. Thus the local community is encouraged to believe it faces a stark choice - save intact or destroy completely. A sensible approach would be to offer a compromise - save some intact, relocate the historically important, reclaim the rest for local reuse, don't destroy anything. The old PPG15 (Planning Policy Guidance note - used by Local Authorities to interpret the Planning Acts) encouraged planners to make rarely-used conditions on demolition requiring that demolished material be reused. The latest PPG dropped these suggestions, for which the DoE said there was no room in the White Paper - which was not true, and merely pandered to the SPAB element of English Heritage. Conservationists prefer the stark choice believing that this concentrates peoples' minds and saves more buildings. This is not borne out by the facts. Even listed buildings are demolished in whole or part, and hundreds of thousands of historic unlisted buildings are demolished every year. The planning process itself also encourage eventual rapid demolition. Vandalism and theft occur as a result of buildings being left empty for years while planning disputes are resolved. During this period millions of tonnes of reclaimable materials are lost to fire and water-damage. Old buildings should never be allowed to remain unoccupied, it should be illegal. Instead, more buildings are now left unoccupied and boarded up pending their future than ever before.

Some local authorities' building control departments refuse to allow the reuse of reclaimed material. The most common reasons are that reclaimed materials contain dry rot, even if they are sound, or that reclaimed materials do not comply with modern standards. The dry rot brigade are wilfully ignorant since the spores exist in the air permanently so even brand new materials contain dry rot spores. Dry rot is created by environmental conditions that are independent of materials. Equally, planning and conservation departments have been known to refuse to allow the reuse of reclaimed materials in works requiring planning permission or listed building consents because they say that it encourages theft and demolition, and confuses the history of a building. Although theft is a problem, particularly of garden ornaments, the volume of materials stolen is small, and invariably results from the deliberate policies that allow buildings to remain empty for long periods of time. Those who believe that reclamation encourages demolition are even further down the track of complete insanity. With respect to confusing history, most buildings have changed and adapted over the years, many using old materials, or materials reused from one part of the building in another. If such policies require that materials, like a Louis XVI marble fireplace, can only be installed in an unlisted 1930s' semi, it makes a mockery of freedom of choice and good architectural sense.

The establishment of reclamation businesses is discouraged in the UK by planners, who see them as non-conforming undesirable businesses. In some areas they have ceased trading after planners have picked on them. This is despite the recycling commitment given by John Major in signing the Rio Accord. There is a glimmer of hope since the DoE planning inspectors who are called in at appeals seem to have a more sympathetic approach. We suspect that Conservation Officers have a hand in influencing decisions on local reclamation yards' planning problems. A well respected conservation-aware Midlands reclamation dealer was refused entry to an ACO sponsored conference (Association of Conservation Officers) solely on the grounds that he was a reclaimed building materials dealer. More or less every reclamation dealer has had problems with planners. What should happen is that planners should encourage reclamation, councils should earmark land and premises, conservation officers should require demolished materials to be sold to reclamation rather than landfilled, and local municipal, education, and health authorities should develop reclamation-only policies for all their demolished buildings and for a percentage (say 5%) of the procurement of construction materials. Partnership arrangements should be made between reclamation dealers and local authorities to save materials for local reuse. This could all be achieved voluntarily.

The new EC Construction Products Directive sets out to ban the sale of reclaimed materials if they are not manufactured to current euro-standards. Which, of course, they are not. Even if they were, it is no longer possible to prove since most materials are older than 75 years and detailed records of the manufacturing processes are not available. Even if they were, the quality control procedures would not have been recorded in the correct way to comply with modern standards. The Directive says that if you can't prove reclaimed materials (and they mean every single brick) comply with the standards then they must be substandard and therefore illegal. Our visit to Brussels, and meeting with Carl Heinz Zachmann, the Head of the Construction Directorate (DG12), made it absolutely clear that reclaimed materials were considered substandard, and would be banned. Even if the bureaucrats were sympathetic, legislation in Europe is dominated by small lobbies of powerful vested interests, who dictate the commercial agenda. I was told that environmental logic is of no importance in Brussels. Power talks.

A committee has been meeting to discuss an EU Demolition Waste Strategy which will inevitably lead to a Directive requiring national targets to be set for the recycling of demolition waste. From what we can glean, plans are at an advanced stage for this Directive. It will not follow the EC's own Recycling Protocol but will give any of the four recycling methods (Reuse, Reclamation, Recycling, Beneficial Destruction) equal merit. The drafting committee is being led by Germany and Denmark whose expertise in the field of reclamation is very weak and who appear to have a pathological dread of using old materials unless they have been remanufactured into something new. German federal recycling laws require that all demolition waste is separated and recycled. Specially licensed demolition contractors are paid additional money for recycling costs. But bricks are crushed and no reclamation takes place. Fly-tipping, illegal burning and the illegal export of demolition waste to neighbouring countries is common. We suspect that commercial and political pressures will result in the UK acquiescing to a proposed Demolition Waste Directive and that this will damage the UK, French, Belgian and southern European reclamation industries by encouraging recycling over reclamation. A target-driven directive will result in more capital intensive recycling, and less employment extensive reclamation. After the Directive is passed, the only recourse for the Reclamation Industry and its customers will be to break the law.

Visit the Salvo website at www.salvo.co.uk.

T Kay 1995

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Salvo Reclamation Protocol 1995

London UK - This was written by me and put on SalvoWEB in 1995 but was deleted a few years ago, so I am putting it on my blog in its original form. First called the 'Salvo Recycling Protocol' it was quickly renamed the 'Salvo Reclamation Protocol' when the term 'recycling' started to be used for destruction rather than reuse.
©SALVO 1995. REFERENCE & INFORMATION. Students & Journalists are free to use the contents PROVIDED we are sent a copy and Salvo is credited in the publication.

The Salvo Recycling Protocol
We are often asked some pretty basic questions about reclamation and recycling by people in all walks of life. Students, Researchers, Television and Press Journalists, Home Interest Magazines, Conservationists, Environmentalists, Local Government Officers, MPs, and even the DoE and European Commission. So it seemed like a good idea to have a look at the theory, and how it is practised.

The answer to the simple question, "Why should we reclaim old building materials?" is not so simple. It pre-supposes that we don't, or that we aren't as much as we should. Third world countries are still efficient recyclers, as Britain was up to 1950. Since then the UK has trashed ever-increasing amounts of reusable construction materials. The building boom of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s came after a Government White Paper - the 1948 Parker Morris report - recommended minimum standards to which every human in post-war Britain was entitled. These referred to daylight and ventilation, an indoor toilet, a kitchen with a ventilated pantry, and freedom from damp buildings. Buildings which failed to provide these standards were declared slums. The report stated that, although one solution would be wholesale slum clearance, this would be socially destructive. The Macmillan government simply ignored the social destruction and proceeded to 'clear slums' at a cost to the social fabric of Britain which is still reverberating through the poor areas of towns and inner cities, and the high-rise housing estates that were constructed to replace 'slums' many of which are now being demolished.

Why reclaim demolished building materials? Answer:
1. It can save energy
2. It can save mineral resources
3. It can save forests
4. It can save architectural history
5. It can provide employment
6. It can reduce construction costs

What is the Salvo Recycling Protocol?
We have adapted the sensible provisos of the Rio Accord under Agenda 21 as follows, in order of merit:

1. Reuse without demolition.
The greenest and most energy efficient solution is to reuse a whole building with the minimum of alteration. It may be justifiable to uprate the insulation standard, but only if the energy saved during the remainder of the building's life is greater than the energy cost of the insulation uprating.

2. Reclamation of components.
The term 'Reclamation' was first used in this context by T Kay of Salvo in 1977. The term 'Architectural Reclamation' was first used by T Kay in 1991.
Reclamation should save as large a set of chunks as possible. The best method is to relocate an entire building, locally or further afield if necessary. If the building has a historical value, it would be better to relocate it abroad, intact, than to dismantle it and sell off bits to many buyers locally. If relocation is not an option then whole components should, firstly, be reused in the new building to be erected on the site, or secondly, sold to buyers in the local area, and thirdly, sold elsewhere. Where possible large items like windows should be kept in sets with their masonry surrounds. If a market does not exist for such large items then they should be broken down further and materials sold off individually. Architectural reclamation dealers exist who sell everything from entire dismantled buildings to individual bricks and floorboards.

3. Recycle and re-manufacture.
Components made from metal and plastic can be recycled by returning them to their constituent parts and reusing the resource to manufacture a new product. This has traditionally been done with scrap metals and, more recently, items like plastic motorway markers are being made from scrap plastic from buildings. The crushing of concrete for reuse as aggregate is acceptable but the crushing of old worked stone, or reclaimable bricks, to make recycled hardcore is not since the energy and resource losses are unacceptably high. It is easier to recycle components using highly capital intensive methods than to reuse and reclaim which involves human labour. The easiest route is usually the least environmentally-friendly.

4. Beneficially destruction with energy recovery.
The term 'Beneficial Destruction' was invented by T Kay of Salvo in 1992, although it has not been universally adopted.
If none of the above options are possible then carbon-based products can be burned in waste-to-energy plants creating useful heat for district heating or electricity generation. Wood can be put into engineered sealed landfill sites where methane is tapped for reuse, but not into open landfill since the methane generated during its decomposition is a greenhouse gas. A problem with 'beneficial destruction' is that once the capital is employed in building an expensive plant, the fuel must be found, and experience is now showing that such plants are seeking materials, that could be better reclaimed, for destruction in order to keep the plants operating. This does not bode well. Denmark is currently seeking reclaimable timber from Germany because it has run out of domestically available demolished material.

The recycling protocol above was effectively agreed to by the UK government, the EC, and in Agenda 21 - the 'Sustainability' clause - at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. It has been signed to by 170 countries around the world.

Salvo recommend that all building or landscaping projects should include a minimum of 5 per cent to 10 per cent reclaimed materials. Currently the amount is less than 1 per cent. If you buy a new BMW 70 pert cent is recycled. If you buy a new building less than 1 per cent is reclaimed.

How much is tipped in the UK?

1994 DoE Guesstimate
'Managing Demolition and Construction Wastes' HMSO 1994. Consultant: Howard Humphries based on Ove Arup 1991.
TOTAL : 42m tonnes (in licensed landfill)

1991 DoE Guesstimate
'Occurence and Utilisation of Mineral and Construction Wastes' HMSO 1991. Consultant: Ove Arup. Based on 28 hrs research.
TOTAL : 70m tonnes (including fly-tipping)

1993 Salvo Guesstimate
Based on 20 years experience of the trade, hundreds of hours research in 1993, and verbally agreed to by a past president of the European Demolition Association & the UK National Federation of Demolition Contractors.
TOTAL : 100m tonnes (including all minor demolition, stripping out etc.) The comparable figure for Germany was 140m tonnes in 1993.

Table 1 - Breakdown of demolition and construction wastes in the UK based on ANNUAL DEMOLITION ARISINGS of 100 million tonnes = DAILY DEMOLITION ARISINGS of 418,000 tonnes.
Apologies if the old-style html table code does not render very prettily in modern blog css, but it was how the original looked in 1995

MaterialsPercentage of TotalTonnes Daily
Bricks8%33,500 tonnes a day = 10 million bricks per day
Concrete10%42,000 tonnes a day
Bituminous - mainly Road Planings5%21,000 tonnes a day
Soil, Stone & Clay44%183,500 tonnes a day
Sand & Gravel18%75,000 tonnes a day
Wood5%21,000 tonnes a day
Other10%42,000 tonnes a day
DAILY TOTAL100%418,000 tonnes a day
+++ Of the above DAILY TOTAL, 46% or 192,280 tonnes is claimed to be 'RECYCLED' by the UK DoE, mostly as Hardcore +++
+++ Daily RECLAIMABLE total & the amount RECLAIMED +++
Bricks5 million a day170,000 a day
Stone15,000 tonnes a day1,000 tonnes a day
Softwood5,000 tonnes a day200 tonnes a day
Tropical Hardwood500 tonnes a day20 tonnes a day
Pre 1910 Architectural Features5,000 tonnes a day 200 tonnes a day
Post 1910 Architectural Features15,000 tonnes a day 100 tonnes a day
TOTAL58,000 tonnes a day 2000 tonnes a day
Employment in the Architectural Salvage industry is around 20,000 people. If materials reused were to increase from less than 1% of all construction materials to 10% then an extra 180,000 jobs would be created.
The total volume of Reclaimable Materials of 58,000 tonnes = 1,500 lorryloads + 3,000 skipfuls.
The total amount RECLAIMED is less than 5% of the total amount RECLAIMABLE, and most of this comes from buildings which pre-date 1920.
+++ Daily RECYCLABLE total & the amount RECYCLED (DoE 1993) +++
Masonry & Concrete200,000 tonnes a day100,000 tonnes a day as low-grade fill, 10,000 tonnes as recycled aggregate
Other17,000 tonnes a day10,000 tonnes a day
MaterialsAmount AvailableAmount Used
Wood, Bituminous & Plastics31,000 tonnes a day1,500 tonnes (in cement kilns?)
+++ This leaves 14,000 tonnes a day Unavoidable Tipped +++

What this means is a massive loss of resources, energy and employment. UK Government policy is woefully adrift of anything meaningful in this area, possibly through ignorance of and bad advice from so-called professionals of the real issues.

BRICKS - Energy Values

It takes 4kwH of energy to make a Handmade or Wirecut Brick and 1.6kwH to make a machine-made Fletton (ignoring embodied energy within the clay).

Each year 3.5 billion new bricks are manufactured in Britain É. and 2.5 billion reclaimable bricks are landfilled.

Around 40m bricks are reclaimed for reuse as bricks. The energy cost of reclaiming them is about 9 wH of human work per reclaimed brick (= 0.009 kwH which represents a total of 135 full-time jobs cleaning bricks each year, and potentially 6,750 if all landfilled bricks were reclaimed.)

Around 100m bricks are crushed each year. The energy cost of crushing is 2 wH of fuel per crushed brick plus the loss of the embodied energy of up to 4 kwH per brick = 4.002 kwH. (This represents about 12 full time jobs, assuming 1 person attending the crusher, and 625 jobs if all landfilled bricks were recycled.)

Reclaiming old bricks is 400 times more energy efficient, and creates 11 times the employment, than Recycling them.

It takes about 1.5 kwH per mile per tonne to move goods by road. A reclaimed Fletton can be moved 320 mls and a Wirecut 800 mls before the energy cost of a new brick or a recycled brick is reached. But new bricks are always moved around 50 - 100 mls, so 400mls and 900 mls may be more realistic figures. The best reclaimed brick is one reclaimed and then reused on the site from which it was demolished.


A landfilled brick costs between 1 - 2 pounds per tonne to dispose of, or about 0.3p - 0.6p per brick. A few sites allow free tipping of unmixed 'clean' hardcore. Around London some sites will even pay for hardcore in winter.

A crushed brick will sell as secondary aggregate for around 3.50 - 6.50 pounds per tonne or roughly 1p - 2p per brick.
Reclaimed Machine Made Flettons sell for 15p - 20p. Very few are sold, probably less than a million.
Reclaimed Wirecut Bricks sell for between 20p - 35p. Thinner bricks are more expensive.
Reclaimed Handmade Bricks sell for between 30p - 50p.Thinner bricks are in short supply.

On one site alone in Bristol in 1994 about 7 million 1906 Cattybrook Three Inch Wirecut Bricks were disposed of as landfill for lack of a buying market. Multiply this by 350 and you get 2.5 billion trashed bricks in the UK.

The cost of reclaiming a brick on site is between 15p - 18p but if it is moved off site haulage, storage and marketing costs must be met. Demolition contractors are offered small sums for many old bricks by reclamation dealers which encourages trashing.


There is no such thing as a 'free' market in reclaimed materials. It is affected by a raft of regulations among which are:

1. Pressure from 'engineered' landfill site operators for clean fill.
2. Greater H&SE regulation requiring stricter controls over hand labour on demolition sites, which encourages bigger machinery.
3. Planning procedures and public opinion encourage rapid demolition. Vandalism and theft occur as a result of buildings being left empty for years.
4. Some authorities refuse to allow the use of reclaimed material.
5. Professional indemnity insurers exclude non British Standard materials from indemnity cover.
6. The establishment of reclamation businesses is discouraged in the UK by conservation minded planners.
7. The new controlled waste regulations encourage fly-tipping.
8. The EC Construction Products Directive bans the sale of reclaimed materials.
9. The new UK landfill tax are encouraging more fly-tipping but are not encouraging reclamation. One 1995 report from the construction industry said that fly-tipping around London had reached epidemic proportions since the introduction of Landfill Taxes.


Plans are at an advanced stage for a new target driven EC directive for recycling demolition waste that will not follow the EC Recycling Protocol but will give any of the four recycling methods equal merit. The drafting committee is being led by Germany and Denmark. German federal recycling laws require that all demolition waste is separated and recycled. Specially licensed demolition contractors are paid additional money for recycling costs. But bricks are crushed and no reclamation takes place. Fly-tipping, illegal burning and the illegal export of demolition waste to neighbouring countries is common.

We suspect that commercial and political pressures will mean that the UK will acquiesce to a Directive that will damage UK reclamation and encourage recycling. A target-driven directive will result in more capital intensive recycling, and less employment extensive reclamation.

This was torpedoed by Salvo, who threatened to take the EU to the European Court if a Directive was recommended because the ad-hoc committee did not contain, nor consult, any European reclamation business. Carl Heinz Zachmann, then head of DG12 anbd chair of the 200 strong committee was not impressed and contacted me by phone in Ireland, to no avail. That directive, the proposed EU Demolition Waste Streams Directive was quietly shelved.


Two types of toxicity can be found in reclaimed materials: EMBODIED and ACQUIRED toxicity.

EMBODIED toxicity : the material itself is toxic eg asbestos, some hardwoods, metals, and stone. Asphalt is considered toxic in Holland and PVC is considered toxic in Germany but neither are yet considered toxic in the UK.

ACQUIRED toxicity : contaminated material
1. By Treatment - such as old treated timber
2. By Association - such as woodblock set in asphalt
3. By Use - such as masonry from chemical works. (There are already stringent regulations governing demolition of materials from contaminated sites)

ISCOWA (Utrecht, Holland 1994) : reclaimed materials with hidden toxicity, either a currently known toxic risk or a possible future one, are better reused than buried in a landfill site or dispersed into the atmosphere via incineration.

Instrumentation will be developed, but criteria will constantly shift as safe materials are declared toxic.

Future Codes of Practice :
Salvo is trying to establish one for the Reclamation Industry. The DoE has recommended one for Recycled Aggregates.
The Salvo Code was formed later in 1995, after three year's of meetings and consultation with the UK trade


1. Assess value of reclaimable materials.

2. Check to see if reclaimed materials can be reused in the new project.

3. Ask for 2 prices -
a. Dismantling & Reclamation
b. Conventional Demolition to Landfill.
(and 2 Method Statements)

4. Get a Reclamation Contractor to tender alongside conventional demolition contractors.

5. Allow sufficient time in the contract for reclamation to take place.

6. For maximum benefit allow time for marketing whole components, even whole buildings.

7. Ensure that the building is secure, preferably occupied, and photograph all old items. Paint the underside of roof slates with scaffolding paint etc.


1. Reuse all items removed from building jobs within the job in question using Reclamation before Recycling protocol.

2. Allow space to separate waste. Keep it secure. If space is not available on site then consider renting land/covered space to store reusable materials.

3. Always source reclaimed materials before specifying them.

4. Always use reversible fixings like lime mortar, screws not glues, so that future reclamation is possible.

5. Don't contaminate new or reclaimed materials with toxic chemicals.

6. A high proportion of construction waste is caused by loss of new materials through carelessness, over-ordering, bad storage, inadequate supervision, non-returnable packaging. Write principles for good site practice into prelims etc.

©Thornton Kay Salvo March 1995, February 1996.
Created 8 April 1995, amended 18 February 1996.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Edinburgh should reclaim and reuse materials from the 1,700 unfit homes it plans to demolish

Edinburgh Scotland - EDINBURGH Council plans to spend £21m demolishing 1,700 of its total 23,000 council-owned homes including seven tower blocks over the next eight years because it's cheaper than doing them up. The energy cost of demolishing a load of houses and replacing them with new ones is very high, and much of the energy content of the new materials will be off-shored to China and India. Edinburgh want a reluctant Scottish Executive to bail them out with part of their £100m Edinburgh slush fund. If it was me I would agree to that but but the proviso that all the materials from the demolished homes should be reclaimed and reused in the new ones, NOT recycled, mulched, chipped and crushed into oblivion. Perhaps this would slow down their enthusiasm for demolition as a quick but wholly unsustainable fix past housing mismanagement.

In 1993 I co-wrote a report for the Scottish Executive with Howard Liddell and Fionn Stevenson, which seems to have gathered dust on some backroom shelf ever since, entitled 'The reuse of reclaimed materials in construction in Scotland'.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Freecycle moderator problems

UK and USA - There are 300,000 UK members of Freecycle groups, including me and many people I know, but I have just been alerted to moderator problems of which I was hitherto unaware. SalvoWEB also has moderators, mainly me and Ruby, and we have problems from time to time, as one imagines would any moderator who is trying to keep sites free from troublesome posters, spammers, fraudsters, chancers and the like.

The main rule on Freecycle is that items must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages. Wanted items must be reasonable. UK moderators will ban anyone asking for expensive items like a Ferrari or plasma TV, but not for asking for a working washing machine which may be languishing in a garage. Some things are not suitable for charity shops such as building materials and some electrical items for health and safety reasons. Freecycle is not meant to be a replacement for charity shops.

Freecycle started in Tucson, Arizona, three years ago, to save the desert landscape from turning into a landfill. Perfectly good items were offered to charities rather than being thrown away, and fairly soon an e-mail group became a global network, now based at Yahoo. The founders now estimate it keeps 50 tonnes of rubbish a day out of landfills.

SalvoWEB also runs two free systems for low value goods: the construction trade's Salvo MIE Materials Information Exchange or DIYer's Wants & Offers.com or our more specialist brick site Reclaimed Bricks.net.

All is not well in the land of Freecycle. There is a major set of postings on the US Business Week web site here
and more here

The nub if the complaints is that the founder of freecycle is a despot who has upset a lot of volunteers who helped create the network many of whom have now left and set up alternative free web sites, some of which I am listing below:


and here are tips on how to set up a non-profit free recycling group


and set up your own waste exchange at
http://www.recyclopedia.com (in development)
http://www.freecyclopedia.com (in development)

or try asking Salvo as we could let anyone set up a waste exchange using our software and data engines.

Update 26 July 2009:

It seems as if this story is still running. Some UK Freecycle moderators are invoking EU Human Rights legislation to set up a new moderators groups.

Following the poll on the Freecycle UK Modsquad, a mandate was given for the formation of the Independent Association of Freecycle (R) Moderators - UK (IAFCMods) under the rights contained within Article 11 of the EU Convention of Human Rights which protects the right to freedom of assembly and association. IAFC has been established as an independent association of volunteers who moderate Freecyle(R) Groups in the UK and the Committee will represent the views of the IAFCMods members, offer support and solidarity to Freecycle moderators within the UK whilst hoping to negotiate working two way relationships between UK Freecycle moderators and The Freecycle Network leadership teams. This election is being conducted to fill the seven places on the Interim Committee of this Association. There are 23 nominees and the brief notes they submitted are recorded on the next page.

Before you can vote in this election, you will be asked for the email address you use to moderate your UK based Freecycle group and the name of your group. This is to enable the Returning Officer to verify your eligibility to vote in this election. This email address will be verified against the Freecycle UK Modsquad database or by contacting your group owner email address.

This information will be confidential and will be seen by no-one apart from the Returning Officer. Your votes will also only be seen by the Returning Officer.

By taking part in the election, you are giving permission to the Returning Officer to verify your eligibility to vote in this election either by cross checking with the UK MS membership list or by contacting the group owner address of your home group.

All sounds very proper . . .

Friday, November 17, 2006

Royal Box from Ascot Racecourse seeks temporary home

Pictures of the Royal Box in-situ prior to its demolition in 2004, and an artists impression of how the steps could be incorporated into a contemporary landscape.

Kent UK - DENNIS Buggins of Extreme Architecture, Kent, is seeking a temporary home for elements of the c1935 Royal Box removed from Ascot Racecourse when the old grandstand was demolished in 2004, prior to their sale next year (watch this space or SalvoWEB). He would like to erect it on a temporary site, probably in a dealers yard, and reckons it would occupy approximately 70ft by 20ft. The photos show what it looked like prior to demolition, before the windows and roof were destroyed. The whole now comprises of the curved walls and steps below window cill level. Incidentally, the big central steel and glass bay window to the box was a novelty structure which could be lowered to create an open balcony at the press of a button.

The Royal Box was designed by Sir Albert Richardson K.C.V.O., P.P.R.A., F.R.I.B.A, F.S.A., Hon M.A. (Cantab), Hon Litt.D. (Dublin), Hon R.W.S. (1880-1964) in 1935. His obituary in The Times stated that 'it is probable that Richardson will still be most generally remembered for his personality as the complete Georgian. He had an enthusiasm for all that belonged to that period that brought him into the company of the English - or Irish - eccentrics. One of the most congenial of his many activities must have been his deputy chairmanship of the Georgian Group and he was said to be so completely wedded to the eighteenth century, that at his house at Ampthill Bedfordshire, designed by Henry Holland, he wore eighteenth century dress and read eighteenth century newspapers.' Naturally he also refused to contemplate electric lighting and modern heating, using candles and open fires instead. His architectural work included a local house for James White owner of the Pyghtle Works in 1956, restoration of London's Wren churches, and the Financial Times building which became the first post-war building to be listed.

Contact Dennis Buggins on (UK) 01227 738084.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Orange Wanadoo email problems solution

France - Checking the first square bracket IP address shows your own IP address, and this can then be checked to see if it has been spamblocked.

The IP addresses of your computer are and and these are supplied to you on the fly each time you connect to the internet via your ISP Orange Wanadoo from a range owned by them. Some of these IP addresses have been spamblocked by some servers around the world. If you go to DNS Stuff or Open RBL (Open Realtime Black List) you will find a slot to put in your IP address to find out if it might be blocked.

Neither of the addresses above have been blocked by Spamcop, but http://dnsbl.net.au/lookup/ says:
'Please standby. Looking up many dnsbl services now ... YES LISTED BY sorbs.dnsbl.net.au --> see http://dnsbl.sorbs.net/ YES LISTED BY t1.dnsbl.net.au --> see http://dnsbl.net.au/t1/
BAD .... Listed on : 2 dnsbl services'

So both those addresses are listed by some spamblockers. My own IP address says:
'Please standby. Looking up many dnsbl services now ...
Great!!! .. Not Listed on any dnsbl services that we monitor or use.'

So this is the problem that you are having with emails you send via your Wanadoo IP addresses. It is also possible that Wanadoo's own techies use spamblockers on their own mailservers which are blocking their own customers from sending out emails.

This problem has been going on for at least two years at Wanadoo. Considering you have until recently been sending spam, if you multiply this by tens of thousands, and then add in tens of thousands more infected and hijacked computers, it is not surprising that Wanadoo's addresses have been blocked.

The reason the problem is intermittent is twofold. Firstly the blockers will unblock after a few days and then reblock because the spam keeps coming. Secondly your computers will sometimes hook up on a blocked IP address and sometimes hook up on a clear IP address.

The reason it is blocking emails relayed to you via your web site from being resent as far as I can see must be because Wanadoo's own techies have used standard spamblocking software that has blocked your own IP addresses because they have been sending spam.

There are two solutions: change your ISP. Or ask Orange Wanadoo for fixed IP addresses for both you and BCA. Then clean those IP addresses and never use them to send spam. Also make sure that your Microsoft PC's do not get hijacked by spammers by keeping them locked down. The simplest solution would be to change them all to Macs.

Hope this is useful.

To find your IP address send yourself an email, then view the long headers, then go to the lowermost IP address in square brackets which is [] in the header files below.

'Received: (qmail 9340 invoked from network); 8 Nov 2006 10:11:24 +0000
Received: from smtp19.orange.fr (HELO smtp-msa-out19.orange.fr) ( by salvoweb.com with SMTP; 8 Nov 2006 10:11:24 +0000
Received: from [] (ACaen-152-1-43-228.w83-202.abo.wanadoo.fr []) by mwinf1917.orange.fr (SMTP Server) with ESMTP id 107D21C00096 for ; Wed, 8 Nov 2006 11:11:23 +0100 (CET)'

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wanadoo Orange Fasthosts email problem

France - Customers of Salvo in France using Wanadoo and Orange seem to have encountered a weird email problem. Writing and sending an email from their normal business email address 'frenchman@frenchbiz.com' (not the real domain) works okay, but any emails forwarded by the mailserver from info@frenchbiz.com to the account frenchman@frenchbiz.com cannot be replied to using the reply button. The smtp server at Wanadoo or Orange rejects them. Instead the contents have to be pasted into the body of a new email, and replied to that way. Any suggestions or solutions gratefully received. When we resolve this I will post a follow-up here.

The customer's domain frenchbiz.com is hosted by Salvo in England, using Rackspace to host the web site and Fasthosts to host the mailserver. We are pretty sure the problem resides with Wanadoo/Orange but cannot be 100 per cent sure.

Anyone else have a similar problem?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Two thefts on same night in Kent

Dancing Girl by William Theed stolen from Tunbridge Wells, Kent UK.

Kent UK - Stolen from a museum and a park 50 miles from each other on 22 October 2006.

ITEM ONE: Stolen from Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells. 'Dancing Girl', a Victorian marble statue of a scantily clad woman holding a tambourine by William Theed (see photo above).

ITEM TWO: Stolen from Powell-Cotton Museum, Birchington. Five 18th century cannon barrels, but not their carriages. Three were bronze, 5ft long, with markings and dolphin-shaped handles, French India Company 1732 from the battle of Quebec. Two smaller civilian ones were also stolen.

Any info to Kent Police on 01732 379217 or Crimestoppers 0800 555111. A £1,500 reward is being offered for the recovery of the statue and a conviction, and £10,000 for the cannon.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Unusual ridge sought

Single roman ridge with a coxcomb. [Photo Bakers

Danbury, Essex UK - BAKERS of Danbury, a building company founded by William Baker in 1878, is looking for some very unusual hog's back red clay ridge. We would describe it as a single roman with a coxcomb. Bakers ad says it is 'possibly French, hog back type with with zigzag detail on top with a roman roll at the end which laps over the next tile'. We have never seen a ridge like it. Bakers' photo shows the ridge sitting on what look like 10 by 6 plain tiles, which would make each piece of ridge roughly 12 or 13 inches long. If you can help, please phone Bakers on 01245 225876 or contact Salvo on 020 8400 6222. Bakers want ad on SalvoWEB

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Salander in New York

Coade stone royal armorial lion impressed COADE, LONDON, 1820. [Photo Salander Decorative Arts

New York USA - Christie's auction of the stock of Mike Roberts' Architectural Emporium in Kent, England, in September 2004 raised an unexpectedly large total, buoyed up by enthusiastic bidding from abroad. It now seems that much of it has ended up at the world's newest plush salvage and antique architectural and garden ornament showroom, the newly created Salander Decorative Arts in New York. Lawrence Salander, fourth generation dealer, is a significant figure in the top end of the trade. Salander O'Reilly sells antique and modern flat art and sculpture, representing living artists, estates, and sponsoring museum-quality exhibitions and books.

Artnet quotes the New York Times, 26 October 2006, commenting on plans restore an old gallery and to build a new glass tower block alongside, the gives an idea of Salander's connections:
'As art collector and superdeveloper Aby Rosen brings his plans for a new luxury residential tower at 980 Madison Avenue, designed by star architect Norman Foster and located across the street from the Carlyle Hotel and a few blocks up from the Whitney, before the local community and landmarks panels, the New York Times notes that the art-world A list has stepped up to testify on his behalf. Among them are artists Jeff Koons and dealers Larry Gagosian and Lawrence Salander, according to the paper. Whether that will get the project approved for the notoriously anti-development Upper East Side remains to be seen. In any case, the Times also noted that it was Rosen who paid $2.7 million for Koons’ Buster Keaton sculpture at auction last spring.'

And the New York Times goes further:
'“I believe the project will be a godsend to the neighborhood,” Mr. Salander said. “I would trust your motives and artistic sensibility to do the right thing and without reservation.” But Ward Blum, an East 77th Street resident, said that adding the glass tower to Madison Avenue would be “like the Philharmonic inviting a heavy-metal punk rocker to join the orchestra.” Mr. Rosen said his enthusiasm for architecture dated from his childhood in Frankfurt. “I always loved the prewar,” he said. “I always loved the high ceilings, I always loved the stucco and the moldings.” It isn’t easy to hear people attack him, Mr. Rosen says. But the anti-Semitism he experienced as a Jewish child in Germany helps give him perspective. “I grew up with kids telling me, ‘They forgot to gas your father,’ ” he said. “So I have zero fear. Fear is not something I have.”'

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dalston Theatre demo plea

Dalston Theatre [Photo Derelict London

Dalston, London UK - Campaigners fighting to save Dalston Theatre have asked Ruth Kelly minister for communities to stop the London Development Agency from demolishing and replacing it by high-rise housing. A previous injunction has lapsed and another is being sought. Dalston Theatre has been squatted since February. Formerly the North London Coliseum and Amphitheatre, the venue was built in 1886 as an open air circus. The Theatres Trust say that the entranceway used by performers and elephants is the oldest of its kind left and was used by Robert Fossett’s Circus. In 1898, the building was converted into a variety theatre and in the 1920's it became a cinema. In the 1960's it became a music venue at which Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley and Billy Ocean all played. It was boarded up by Hackney Council in 1999.

Russia's Rosokhrankultura gets new powers

Stock photo of Yusupov Palace built at the end of 18th century. [Photo Mikhail Razuvaev

RUSSIA - Owners could have listed properties confiscated by the state if the Federal Service for Protection of Cultural Heritage finds violations in their usage under Ruling 627 signed today by premier Fradkov. The Rosokhrankultura can not only seize the building but also the land it was on if the building has been demolished, as happened to a historic 18thC smithy demolished in Moscow last week. Before the ruling the Rosokhrankultura could impose a fine or up to five years in prison. “Bringing an individual to account was not easy,” said Alexander Rabotkevich, chief of the Department for State Protection of Cultural Heritage. “Now, if violations are committed, especially demolition, we can simply seize the monument or land instead.”


And, in Russian:
Сносу им не будет
Председатель правительства РФ Михаил Фрадков подписал постановление, ужесточающее охрану культурных объектов федерального значения. Теперь у собственника могут в судебном порядке изъять памятник архитектуры. Если Росохранкультура выявит нарушения в его использовании, она имеет право подать в суд на владельца и потребовать прекращения права собственности на памятник.
С постановлением #627 у Росохранкультуры (Федеральной службы по надзору за соблюдением законодательства в сфере массовых коммуникаций и охране культурного наследия) появились новые полномочия. Самое важное из них – возможность в судебном порядке изымать у собственника объект культурного наследия федерального значения, если владелец не выполняет требования по сохранению памятника. Более того, Росохранкультура сможет забирать не только памятники, но и земельные участки, если в результате "заботы" владельца на этом участке самого памятника уже не осталось. Таких случаев тоже немало – на прошлой неделе в Москве снесли дом-кузницу XVIII века в Оружейном переулке.
До выхода постановления Росохранкультура могла действовать только двумя способами – либо взыскать административный штраф, либо инициировать уголовное дело по статье 243 УК, которая предусматривает за подобные нарушения наказание лишением свободы сроком до пяти лет. "Статья есть, но в реальности привлечь кого-то к ответственности очень непросто,– рассказал Ъ начальник управления государственной охраны объектов культурного наследия Александр Работкевич.– Многие этим пользовались. Посокрушаются, пообещают построить заново, но это в любом случае выходит дешевле, чем реконструкция. Теперь, если пользователь или собственник допускает серьезное нарушение, тем более снос, мы можем объект забрать". Суд по иску Росохранкультуры может принять решение о прекращении права собственности, а это значит, что земельный участок даже без памятника все равно будет отобран. Господин Работкевич признает, что принятие решения ускорила проблема с палатами бояр Волковых (дворец Юсупова) в Большом Харитоньевском переулке, которые, поменяв нескольких владельцев, едва не были перестроены.
Возможность требовать прекращения права собственности действительно важный пункт в положении о Росохранкультуре, и включить его, вероятно, следовало бы и раньше. Теперь же Росохранкультура отвечает им на возражения, которые выдвигали противники приватизации памятников. Подобные законы существуют во многих странах.
"Если ты разрушаешь памятник, то в цивилизованном обществе суд – и только суд – имеет право его у тебя изъять,– рассказал директор Музея архитектуры Давид Саркисян.– Даже в тех случаях, когда памятник – жилой дом и он перешел к тебе по наследству. Семейство Фоскари в Италии живет в одной из классических вилл Андреа Палладио и до сих пор не имеет права провести туда водопровод – у них все удобства во дворе в деревянной будке. Если они начнут вносить какие-то изменения, виллу у них отберут по суду".
Право подавать в суд и изымать у собственника объекты культурного наследия федерального значения было закреплено за Министерством культуры. Но когда в результате административной реформы появилось несколько федеральных агентств, это право не отошло ни к одному из них. Теперь ведомство Бориса Боярскова получило важный рычаг воздействия на собственников и арендаторов памятников.
Росохранкультура обещает не злоупотреблять этим правом. "Надо понимать, что если объект культурного наследия находится в государственной собственности – например, там располагается музей, то бесполезно предъявлять претензии музею, который финансируется по остаточному принципу: тут пришлось бы предъявлять претензии государству по линии бюджетного финансирования. То же касается частных владельцев. К примеру, вологодский деревянный дом с наличниками, в котором живет семья, у которой нет денег, чтобы починить, скажем, крыльцо. Здесь речь о другом. Это право мы будем применять только в тех случаях, если налицо намеренное нарушение законодательства",– сказал Александр Работкевич. "Закон в принципе правильный, однако в России не всегда можно доверять обещаниям чиновников,– скептически заметил Ъ один из арендаторов памятников архитектуры, попросивший не называть его имени.– Собственность на памятники архитектуры надо ограничивать. Вот только как в нашей варварской стране будут применять это право? В конечном итоге это обернется лишним давлением на собственников".
Росохранкультура меж тем считает, что теперь необходимо разработать ряд подзаконных актов, которые бы определяли, что можно считать "плохим содержанием" и что собственник имеет право делать, а что – нет. Иначе люди, которые отважились приобрести в собственность или в долгосрочную аренду памятник архитектуры, горько об этом пожалеют. Поскольку любой бытовой ремонт (скажем, замена протекающей крыши) может при желании трактоваться как варварское отношение к историческому наследию.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Street hawker themed restaurants

A SG$16,000 (£5,350) Qing dynasty 100 year old horse-drawn rickshaw in the half-acre Food Republic's latest cafe a VivoCity in Singapore [Photo Mohd Ishak

Singapore - IT could be that the ethnic eatery is about to take over from the Irish theme pub in Asia. And if so, you can bet it will be heading to America and Europe soon. Singapore's most expensive cafe, the 27,000 sq ft 900 seat Food Republic at VivoCity cost $6m (£2m) to fit out, and comes complete with 24 hawker stalls, five mini restaurants and a shop. It aims to recreate the street hawker scene in Asia from the 1900s to 1940s with bygones imported from China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Reclaimed materials like floor tiles came from houses in China due to be demolished, as well as old wooden chairs and tables. The ersatz hawkers wear traditional Mandarin collar shirts, three-quarter pants and walk round in old-fashioned clogs.

Food Republic's Patsy Loo said that it took two years to plan and find materials. They found inspiration in Signapore's National Museum and Heritage Board. Next they went to Malaysia and China, and shipped back two containers of furniture and materials. Said Ms Loo, "We want to help locals and tourists understand what Asia was like in the pre-war period, when there were a lot of street hawkers. People were poor, but they had simple and good food. We want to recreate that flavour."

Though the food court in VivoCity was expensive to create, the food there is not. A plate of tahu goreng costs $3.80 (£1.20), while a bowl of bak chor mee from the famous Tai Hwa Pork Noodle stall is about $5 (£1.75)

Food Republic is a subsidiary of the Breadtalk Group, a bakery whose hallmark shops have see-thru plate glass kitchens (see photo below). Breadtalk Group

One of Breadtalk Group's hallmark 'see thru' plate glass high street bakeries.

I was a 50 year old woman - he was a 25 year old man

New York USA - This snippet of architectural salvage seen in a New York Times pot-boiling love story between a 50 year old woman and her 25 year old lover, hits the nail on the head: the strongest market for salvage is rich middle-aged women. No complaints. It should be compulsory reading for Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace who for the past few years have been extolling the virtues of FSC and eco-friendly new wood, but seem to have completely forgotten that the greenest wood is reclaimed. FoE and Greenpeace are pushing for ever-higher exo-taxes that will be used to allow more reusable wood to be diverted away from salvage yards to be mulched chipped and burned by wood recyclers.

We sat outside at Brasserie Perrier — a fancy place I had never been but where he seemed quite comfortable. It was a warm night. A pack of women in their 20s twittered by, and I watched him watch them as they passed. I waited. He swiveled his head back toward me and said, “Don’t pocketless jeans just get on your nerves?”

He took me to a junkyard of architectural salvage, where we peered though the chain-link fence and talked about what we would buy if we could only get in. Because he had left his parents’ home at 15 to attend a high school for upcoming pro snowboarders, he was domestic enough to keep a cute house dotted with weird things he collected, like old wooden rulers.

We shared many of the same interests — fashion, photography, design. Once, after a long discussion about his burning need for a green leather duffel, I found the perfect one in Details magazine and held up the page to him. “Hey,” he asked, squinting. “is that Balenciaga?”

From Modern Love "We Lived in the Present, Then the Future Arrived" by By FRANCINE MAROUKIAN Published: October 29, 2006. New York Times

Lion top lot at steady Gaze sale

19thC gilt mirror with spiral column, sold £231 (est £100)

Pair of panelled pine doors from Redgrave Hall orangery c1760 by Henry Holland under Capability Brown for Rowland Holt, each 1.08m wide by 3.78m high, sold £220 (est £250)

14ins roll ridge stone coping, sold £300 (est £300)

Old brick shapes from Brome Hall, Suffolk, sold £670 (est £200)

Arched top pine sash window with four blue glass panes
, sold £253 (est £150)

A Portland stone sundial base tapered panels on square base, the top 13ins square, sold £620 (est £300)

TOP LOT: a pair of compo lions couchant on plinths, sold £1,320 (est £1,200)

A cast iron boot scraper with decorative support set on a stone slab, sold £264 (est £150)

Six-sided steel tree seat, sold £440 (est £300)

Late 19thC slate clock face 3ft dia 2ins thick, Roman numerals incised, minutes marked, sold £464 (est £400)

Diss, Norfolk UK - Site

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Twelve inch pamments £10 at Gaze

At Gaze's October sale five pallets (lot 5820) of two-block blue stable pavers totalling 1340 sold for a mid-estimate £550, or 41p each. [Photo Gaze

Four York stone flagstones sold for £154, estimate £50, roughly £77 square yard.

Diss, Norfolk UK - The sale of architectural salvage and statuary at Gaze's 21 October 2006 included several lots of reclaimed floor tiles and pavers. Five pallets (lot 5820) of two-block blue stable pavers totalling 1340 sold for a mid-estimate £550, or 41p each. A lot (5854) of 65 12ins square pamments sold for £638, or £9.82 each, while 9ins square red pamments sold for £1.39 each, and 9ins square buff pamments sold for £2.01 each. T W Gaze

Friday, October 20, 2006

Mammoth tusks - ethics, fakes and myths

Blue-hued mammoth tusk from the Tamyr peninsular, Siberia, which sold at Sotheby's Billingshurst sale (below) on 26 Sep 06 for GBP£6,000 (est£2.5k), 102cm.; 40ins on outside curve.

WOOLLY mammoth tusks are often the top lot of the fossil section of Sotheby's sales of 'Garden, Architectural and Fossil Decoration'. Fossils have always had a following from collectors, but their increase in popularity may be a result of the art world's move into the natural, deathly, sensational and anatomical, by people like Damien Hirst. Movements in art influence exterior and interior design, and fossils are one of the nearest things you can get to tasteful and naturally decorative sculpture made into durable materials from the death of animals and plants. Death and anatomy are recurring themes of Britpop. Fossils are perhaps a more acceptable way to represent them. Fossils are attractive because they will fit with stark minimalist interiors as well as junk-filled maximalist ones, although I have never seen a millionaire's retreat with interiors tastefully decked out in ammonites, trilobites, knightia fish and the odd mammoth tusk (publishable photo's gratefully received).

Fossils are strictly-speaking mineralised organic matter, which means living things turned to rock. Although you can find fossilised mammoth tusks up to 1.6m years old, those sold at auction tend to be real 20,000 years old ivory that has been preserved by being buried, often in bogs or alluvium, where the lack of oxygen has prevented their natural decay. Mammoths became extinct 3,500 years ago due to global warming and hunting by paleolithic man.

The recent global warming in places like Siberia results in melting ice and tundra, and soil erosion which exposes buried mammoth skeletons. Greater mineral exploitation, small aircraft, quads and four by fours, general mobility and local awareness of value, means more and more fossils will find their way to the relatively rich western markets.

Practically anything removed and sold results in accusations of desicration and profiteering. The world of architectural and garden antiques is familiar with that sentiment by conservationists. Now archaeologists are at loggerheads with fossil-hunters. A long ethical argument is described in the story of Confuciusornis sanctus in China, where fossil hunting is banned. In most parts of the world, collecting fossils from private land with the owner's permission is perfectly legal.

Butterfields in San Francisco is an auction house well known for its regular architectural and decorative antiques sales, where fossil selling has generated more of a public debate between academics and fossil-hunters. In 2001 a Siberian woolly mammoth tusk sold for $32,000 at Butterfields.

US Geologists on a field trip to Wrangel Island in north-east Siberia came across quite a few mammoth tusks, and took this photo of a local who had picked this one up - no doubt to pass it into the global dealer network. [Photo: Lyn Gualtier

"Things are being lost to science because we don't have enough people out there looking. There are not enough degreed paleontologists or tax dollars . . . to look at nearly a half-billion acres of public lands, let alone private lands," said Marion Zenker, marketing coordinator for the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota, a leading commercial fossil excavator. Zenker, a plain-spoken former tractor-trailer driver and mother of eight, said academic hunters "act like the high priests of paleontology." Robert Bakker, the Harvard and Yale trained paleontologist who helped advance the idea that dinosaurs were warmblooded, has said many of his colleagues promote a class system. "We guys with PhDs think we have a God-given right to dictate where and how specimens are collected," something Bakker said is not in the public interest. Zenker adds that scientific credentials should not be the only entry into a fossil dig: "The people who are in this field are here because they love fossils." Zenker's Black Hills Institute found Sue, the world's most famous Tyrannosaurus rex. And the world's most costly. Sue sold at a Sotheby's auction in 1997 for $8.4 million - leading to fear that important dinosaur fossils would be priced out of the reach of museums. Sue's story ended happily; corporate benefactors sponsored her donation to Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. There is a comprehensive set of Fossil Protection Links on a site compiled by W Douglas Boyce, a Canadian paeleontologist.

Ivory Jack's website describes how mammoth tusks are found. It also describes their colour. 'The beautiful hues of tan, brown and blue are a result of thousands of years of mineralization. Exact hues depend upon the mineral deposits in the immediate soil surrounding the fallen mammoth.' There are more hued tusks, and also a complete skeleton, for sale at Arizona Skies.

Woolly mammoth tusks have another ethical dimension: they are real ivory, and new ivory trading is protected under CITES regulation. However the sale of antique and prehistoric ivory is unregulated. How do you tell elephant from mammoth ivory? A section through both elephant ivory and mammoth ivory show natural cross-hatching. The angle between the cross-hatches can be an absolute test, outside the range 90 degrees - 115 degrees. Between these two figures a precise indentification is impossible. Clearly with single tusks this test will not work, unless a section has been cut and polished.

Whole mammoth tusks tend have flattened ends, roughly the last third towards the points, and have are often marked and worn on the undersides where it is believed they were used for foraging. They frequently wrapped inwards towards each other. Male tusks are thicker, more three-dimensionally curved and longer than female tusks. The longest mammoth tusks discovered are 16ft long.

A matched pair of mammoth tusks, with inward interlinked curvature described above. They are not always curved like this. [Photos: Canada Fossils

Ho do you tell real ivory from bone or resin replica? Much of the real ivory antique netsuke replica is carved in workshops in Hong Kong. The Asian Arts website describes, not only the hot pin test to tell the difference between ivoyr and resin, but also whether it is real ivory (hardenend dentine) or plain bone. It also gives pointers as to which animal the ivory may come from. The test is to take a pin or large needle, or large straightened out safety pin, and heat the tip red hot, then stick it into the item. If ivory, the pin will not penetrate but will only leave a tiny mark. If resin, it will go straight into the item and leave a raised area around the hole. If ivory, the smoke will smell of drilled tooth that you get at the dentist's. If it smells like burning plastic, it is resin. Bone is resistant to heat, but not as much as ivory. The smell is less (or hardly at all) and is different than that of burning tooth. Bone is free of grain and will always have little "pock marks" (sometimes brown) where the marrow was, visible with a magnifying glass. If it has any grain, especially crosshatching, you have the real ivory. Planet Ark the eco-website says, 'Mammoth ivory, now starting to come onto the market in large quantities as global warming thaws the permafrost in Canada and Russia and exposes the corpses of the long-dead woolly giants, is virtually indistinguishable from elephant ivory. However, unlike elephant ivory, mammoth tusks smell, and are harder to work.'

Another way to make check that the blue stained on mammoth tusk is real and not fake is to check for blue 'vivianite' using ultra-violet light. The photo shows vivianite on a mammoth tusk found at the Pamir Peninsula, Siberia. The tusks of mammoths are made of enamel externally and dentin internally. The dentin is calcareous and similar to bone but softer and chemically more active. Vivianite, a hydrated ferrous phosphate Fe3(PO4)2·8(H2O), and dentin, can form thin coatings on the damaged surfaces of fossilizing tusks. Vivianite goes darker on exposure to light. [Photo: Copyright © 2003 Giraud Foster & Norman Barker

If you have a polished section through the tusk it is possible to tell elephant from mammoth using the Schreger lines, or cross-hatching. If the angle between them is greater than 115 degrees it is elephant. If the angle is less than 90 degrees it is mammoth. [Photos: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services forensics laboratory

Another website with close-ups of Mammoth Tusks explains the difference between Siberian, American (bigger) and European mammoths (smaller with curvier tusks, many of which are still being trawled up in the north sea by Dutch fishermen. 'This fossil specimen is not subject to any bans. It can be legally owned and shipped to anyone anywhere. They are one of the most popular large display fossils of any collection. The woolly mammoth is the mascot animal of the Earth's final Ice Age.'

Enchantment with fossils and buried tusks goes back to Roman times. It is fair to say that the Romans were obsessed with fossils. Much of the mythology, especially legends of giants, has been attributed to the discovery of large buried fossils. The legend of the Caledonian Boar is believed to have come from fossil remains, possibly even woolly mammoth tusks. The web page Accounts of Greek and Roman Paleontology says, 'In 31 BC, the future emperor Augustus plundered the great tusks of the mythical Calydonian Boar from a temple in Tegea, Greece, and installed them in Rome. These were most likely prehistoric elephant tusks dug up in Pleistocene fossil beds near Tegea. Some 400 years later the historian Procopius saw a great pair of tusks labeled "from the Calydonian Boar" at Beneventum, Italy. He described them as "well worth seeing, measuring three hand-spans around and curved in a crescent shape," which suggests that the "Calydonian tusks" at Beneventum were a pair of woolly mammoth tusks, common fossil remains in Italy.'


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Quiet Billingshurst. Time for a reserve shake-up?

Billingshurst, Sussex UK - SOTHEBY'S September 26th garden and architectural sale could arguably be said to have bombed, with a cursory look at the results apparently showing roughly 50 per cent unsold by lot. Sotheby's no longer send SalvoNEWS a top ten lots and overall sales summary which makes it harder to get a picture of what happened. Rupert van der Werff, Sotheby's expert in charge, said they do still produce them, but Salvo is no longer sent them. Although the full individual sales results are posted on the sothebys.com web site, the top ten and summary are not.

"Given how quiet the trade is in general, and that this was not our most brilliant sale, with no six-figure show-stoppers, and a lower than normal turn out for the sale preview, the low sold figure is not surprising," Rupert said.

"But there is an extremely good market for good objects. The feeling we have is that the world of antique garden and architectural has caught up with the rest of the antiques sector. Meaning, there is the best, and then there is the rest. If you just take the lots estimated at over £5,000, we sold 90 per cent. But the lower value struggled to sell. We have not had a lot under £1,000 for years. When I started, £1,000 was a nice lot but now consignors expect tired old urns to sell for that price, but these no longer appeal to the market.

"The market is for very good, very clean examples. The very best is what we are good at. These days we turn down loads of fern and blackberry seats that would have sold quite well at modest prices a few years ago. But there is a very very strong market at £5,000 and above. Having said that, the market has also always been volatile which makes it hard to predict. At this sale sundials were very buoyant, but fountains were not. At other sales the opposite happens."

The average sold lot at the twice yearly Billingshurst sales has trebled in value in the past fifteen years, and the last sale was possibly one of the highest (we cannot be definite without stats from Sotheby's). If this is correct, the sale has polarised both lots and buyers. The low value lots which years ago would have been mopped up by the trade for stock are now consigned at too high a reserve for the trade to be interested. While the market in the high value lots is volatile and high reserves are pegged back due to uncertainty of finding a pair of bidders on the day. When the high value lots are wanted there seem to be privates willing to go a long way. These days the trade use Sotheby's for selling rather than buying - 90 per cent of the lots are sold privately with only a handful of lots going to dealers mostly bidding on behalf of a client rather than for stock.

The level of the open market in garden and architectural items is masked by Sotheby's reserve policy. Some items always fly away, bucking the market, But generally the market finds a level, and that level is constantly changing. High reserves deny the trade a valuable opportunity to assess shifts in the market. The trade find it pleasantly acceptable for prices to go up, but difficult when prices drop. This is what happened with brown furniture a few years ago. The auctioneers job is to inject some realism and buoyancy back into the market by pushing the reserves back down, perhaps even no reserve for the lower value lots. There is nothing like a load of no-reserve lots to generate a frisson of interest and excitement. That way the trade will turn out to buy, and the higher value lots could still find a high-value retail market.

Rupert Werff said that Sotheby's Billingshurst is currently reconsidering its reserves policy. "One problem is that fewer reasonable garden lots are appearing at regional sale rooms, so when they do they are being chased up above what we would consider to be a true market value. The trade might be forced up to buy at these auctions, and they then want to consign the over-priced stuff here, so we get pressured to take higher reserves. Whatever we do, we have to take a lot of stick from the trade. It is hard work doing these sales. If they were as easy to organise as I am constantly told they are, then everyone would be doing them."

He is correct, getting the balance right is not easy. The place is littered with failure. Christie's pulled out of the regular Wrotham Park architectural and garden sales in 1995, and Bonhams stopped doing theirs in 1999 when Sotheby's New York also stopped. Gaze, Sotheby's Amsterdam, and a few North American and European auctioneers are tinkering with garden sales, and there is always a smattering of specialist one-off style architectural salvage trade sales organised by the likes of Wellers. Results are hard to come buy. Only Sotheby's seem to be willing to divulge all, which does mean that trends are very hard to spot. And even on a good day Billingshurst squirms under the sword of Damocles.

"It is time for a sort-out on prices," said Mr Werff. "There has been a move by the general antiques trade to move into garden antiques which has chased up prices, many of which, in my opnion, are now too high. There have been blips and bubbles, like cast iron seats a few years ago, but we are careful to try to maintain core reserves when such blips occur. I think a rationalisation has to happen."

Yes, we know about the repro. Yes, we know about things that get broken. Yes, we know about funny goings-on. But a salvage world without Billingshurst would be poorer in market knowledge and benchmark prices, and would never allow the long hoped-for reappearance of a horde of jovial bantering dealers in the tent mopping up cheaper lots against a backdrop of monied privates doing their bidding. Over the years James Rylands has at times used the heady days of Pretty Polly as a benchmark, while perhaps we need the solid days that preceded them, and the measured reassessment that followed. Oh yes, and while I am at it, more big architectural stuff.

Top lot at this sale was a modern aluminium replica of the figure of Eros in Piccadilly Circus which sold for a bottom estimate £54,000. There is an illustrated write up in SalvoNEWS 261, due out next week. Next sale in May or June 2007.