Demolition and salvage
Demolition worker Mark ''Will'' Williamson is breaking into a house in the residential red zone.
He takes a sledgehammer, smashes a window and clambers in.
He walks through the house and opens the ranch slider for his waiting colleagues.
''Voila,'' he says.
The break-in was required because red-zone demolition crews ''rarely get keys'' to the homes they are bringing down.
The City Salvage team was contracted by construction company Hawkins to demolish the Locksley Ave home.
Hawkins is contracted by insurance company IAG to manage demolition work in Christchurch.
Once the job is signed over to City Salvage, it becomes its property and it can recover as much material as it thinks is worth its time.
Worker Graeme Dalley said recycling was a priority.
''We try to salvage as much as we can and keep as much as we can,'' he said.
''This whole house has recently been renovated. It is all brand new. We will take everything, pretty much.''
Over the next week, the workers salvaged internal doors, light fitings, the power board, the carpet, the fitted kitchen, the laundry tub, the bath, the shower, the cupboard doors, the light fittings, the hot-water cylinder and the ceiling insulation.
Once the inside was stripped, the tiles and timber were removed from the roof before a digger arrived to pull the walls down and clear the site.
Williamson said it was common for former owners to watch the demolition.
''It is quite sad when you go to a house and people are really upset,'' he said.
''You sometimes get previous owners bringing their 4-year-old child round. You are demolishing the house while the kid stands there and starts to cry.
''We have had a few people standing there and blubbing the whole time.''
What went where
The kitchen, windows and doors sold for $8950 on Trade Me to Barry Ward, of Invercargill. He is renovating a house just outside Invercargill for his family, wife Tina Ward and children Jenna, 6, and Kirstie, 10.
Tiles, concrete foundations and bricks went to hardfill in Lyttelton Harbour.
The ceiling insulation and the hot-water cylinder were sold to Christchurch people.
Gib board, timber and flooring went to the Burwood Recycling Centre, where untreated timber will be sorted and reused and some treated timber is shredded and reused. Gib board will be sorted and turned back into wall boards.
Water pipes went to Bristol Metals, where they are squashed and sold to China.
Some of the metal went to Christchurch foundry AW Frasers, which turns the copper into brass and bronze machine components for items like drilling equipment and even large diggers like the ones that demolish buildings.
- © Fairfax NZ News