Salvage and Reuse - Reducing Construction Waste
Material from the construction sector represents more than one-third of Victoria’s landfilled waste.
Victoria has introduced the Demolition Waste and Deconstruction Bylaw to salvage valuable wood and other construction materials from homes being demolished in Victoria.
The bylaw will be implemented in two phases to grow industry capacity and to align with the City Housing Strategy.
Salvaging reusable and recyclable materials from building demolitions in Victoria has the potential to divert 3,000 tonnes of waste from the landfill every year. This represents roughly15% of Zero Waste Victoria’s 2040 target.
Timeline for Demolition Waste and Deconstruction Bylaw:
|Sep 12, 2022||Bylaw phase 1 in effect||Refundable fee not charged|
|Sep 12, 2023||Grace period ends||Refundable fee charged|
|May 12, 2025||Bylaw phase 2 in effect|
How does the bylaw work?
Under the bylaw, demolition permit applicants pay a refundable fee of $19,500. This fee is refunded after the permit holder salvages the target amount of wood for reuse during their demolition. The target is scaled to the size of the house: 40 kilograms per square metre of above-ground floor area. Permit holders must report the amount of wood salvaged and how it will be reused, and submit corresponding scale weights and receipts. Reuse might include donation to a charitable organization that sells building materials for reuse, direct reuse in a new build, or remanufacture for applications such as architectural finishings or furniture.
How will the bylaw be phased in?
The new rules are being phased in to give industry time to prepare for the new requirements. The first phase applies to permit applications submitted on or after September 12, 2022. This phase includes demolition of single-family dwellings and duplexes built before 1960 that are being demolished to build another single-family dwelling or duplex.
The bylaw’s refundable fee does not have to be paid with permit applications submitted before September 12, 2023.
The second phase of the bylaw, beginning May 12, 2025, applies to demolition of all single-family dwellings and duplexes built before 1960, including those being demolished to build multi-family housing.
Will deconstruction affect housing affordability?
No. The bylaw is being phased in to avoid impacts to new housing supply. The regulation initially only affects properties where an older house is being replaced with a new single-family home or duplex. This first phase involves homes with an assessed value in the top 3% of residential properties in Victoria, representing an estimated current market home value above $2 million. The regulation aligns with Victoria’s Housing Strategy.
Staff expect contractors and builders to adapt to deconstruction and material salvage as common practice during the first phase of regulation. This will enable all pre-1960 single-family home and duplex demolitions to be brought under the bylaw in the second phase without impacting housing affordability.
How many buildings are demolished in the City of Victoria each year?
There are between 40 and 60 buildings demolished every year in Victoria. Approximately three quarters of these are houses and duplexes.
How old are buildings that are demolished?
Almost all demolished houses were constructed before 1960. Older homes contain valuable salvageable materials including old-growth lumber.
How could improving material salvage through deconstruction help the City reach its long-term zero waste goals?
Was industry consulted?
Staff have worked closely with developers, builders, deconstruction services provides, used material resellers and housing charities to come up with the planned approach to regulate the salvage of building materials across Victoria. Staff will continue to work with these stakeholders.
Are you working with the Capital Regional District on addressing construction and demolition waste?
Addressing construction waste is identified as a priority in the CRD’s Solid Waste Management Plan. The City of Victoria is working closely with the CRD on an approach that supports the region.
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