Reducing Construction Waste Through Salvage and Reuse
Material from the construction sector represents more than one-third of Victoria’s landfilled waste.
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 roughly 15% of Zero Waste Victoria’s 2040 target.
Deconstructing buildings to salvage reusable resources presents Victoria with an opportunity for economic recovery through the creation of new jobs and is a prime example of the circular economy in action in our community.
Timeline on Building Material Salvage Regulation:
On May 13, 2021, Council provided direction to staff to develop a bylaw to motivate the salvage of reusable and recyclable materials from building demolitions. To read the report with recommendations considered by Council, click here. [PDF - 131 KB]
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.
How old are buildings that are demolished?
About 80% of demolished houses were constructed before 1960. Older homes contain high amounts of salvageable materials including old-growth lumber.
How could improving material salvage through deconstruction help the City reach its long-term zero waste goals?
Are you consulting with industry?
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.
How might this affect the job market?
Research done for Metro Vancouver indicates that deconstruction creates 6 to 8 jobs for every 1 job in conventional deconstruction.
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.
Will the added costs for deconstruction make housing less affordable?
No. The new regulation will not apply if a property is being redeveloped to increase housing supply. This new regulation initially only affects properties where an older home is being replaced with another new single-family home. The regulation is being carefully planned to be phased in over time to ensure it aligns with Victoria’s Housing Strategy.
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