Adam Corneil sparked the attention of all six Dragons’ Den judges after pitching his deconstruction business. (Screenshot from Dragon’s Den Oct. 29, 2020 episode)

Adam Corneil sparked the attention of all six Dragons’ Den judges after pitching his deconstruction business. (Screenshot from Dragon’s Den Oct. 29, 2020 episode)

B.C. deconstruction company ignites Dragons’ Den interest

Unbuilders deconstructs and salvages old buildings instead of sending them to landfill

A B.C. entrepreneur had all six Dragons’ Den judges opening their wallets after pitching them a business that makes money from salvaged supplies.

Unbuilders is a deconstruction company that is working to save thousands of homes – including one in Vic West – from going to landfill each year by “unbuilding” them instead.

READ ALSO: New Vancouver Island ‘deconstruction’ company breaks down heritage houses by hand

Founder Adam Corneil explained to the dragons that they donate the homes’ fixtures and finishes to Habitat for Humanity and salvage the building materials for resale and remanufacturing.

In Canada, the construction and demolition industry sends the equivalent of 80,000 homes every year to landfills, Corneil told the dragons. Most of those are old homes and are built from old-growth lumber, which is far denser and stronger than modern lumber and holds 12 times less embodied carbon.

READ ALSO: Victoria entrepreneur slays Dragons’ Den pitch

It’s also far more valuable. According to Corneil, $2 billion worth of this lumber is left to rot in landfills across Canada every year. Unbuilders is currently working to salvage it and turn it into flooring, stair treads, countertops and furniture.

“Adam is really impressive — he is the real deal. Entrepreneurs think outside the box; they’re innovators and problem-solvers, and that’s where they win long term,” dragon, Arlene Dickinson, said in the Oct. 29 episode. “Adam is all of that. His company, Unbuilders, is a game-changer within the construction and demolition industry.”

By the end of Corneil’s pitch, he had all six dragons offering him a deal and walked away with the potential for $600,000 ($100,000 from each dragon) at 18 per cent.

READ ALSO: New Vancouver Island ‘deconstruction’ company breaks down heritage houses by hand

In January, Unbuilders expanded to Vancouver Island and set up its office in Nanaimo. Corneil has met with representatives from municipalities in the Lower Mainland, the City of Victoria, and the Capital Regional District, in hopes of having them implement stronger deconstruction policies.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

ConstructionDragon's DenentrepreneurGreater VictoriaHeritageRecycling

Just Posted

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read