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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Kitimat RCMP are requesting assistance locating 24-year-old Teah Wilken, who was last seen getting on a bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23). Kitimat RCMP Facebook photo.
Kitimat RCMP requesting assistance locating missing woman

Wilken last seen getting on bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23)

The Nisga’a Nation activated its pandemic safety protocols Nov. 20 after a positive COVID-19 case in the Terrace area was identified. (Nisga’a Lisims Government photo)
Nisga’a Nation reverts to phase one pandemic restrictions

Tightening of precautions follows discovery of positive case in Terrace

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

New COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the in-person portion of the second annual Festival of Trees event scheduled for Nov. 20 -21 in Terrace. (Pexels)
In-person event cancelled, online auction still a go for Terrace’s Festival of Trees

Dr. R.E.M. Lee Hospital Foundation was planning to host the event at Heritage Park

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Most Read