UBC Undergraduate Research

Deconstruction of city-owned properties : North American policy for construction and demolition waste Good, Elizabeth


Deconstructing infrastructure is recognized as an environmentally sustainable method to take down buildings, mitigate waste, and reduce overall environmental impact. However, the economic benefits of deconstruction continue to be contested, resulting in few municipalities formally implementing deconstruction policy. While this report recognizes that numerous factors influence policy, this report seeks to establish the variance in deconstruction practices across North America. This report has a particular focus on British Columbia in an attempt to determine how Vancouver’s proposed deconstruction policy relates to other municipal policy and how the City of Vancouver’s policy could be improved. This report argues that although Vancouver’s deconstruction policy for city-owned infrastructure has yet to be formally executed, Vancouver does have a standard practice for the deconstruction of City-owned facilities and is one of the few leaders of the burgeoning field of deconstruction. Although few cities have developed and implemented binding deconstruction policy, Vancouver has the potential to benefit and learn from Los Angeles’, CA deconstruction policy, which has various targets for different materials. Additional recommendations for the City of Vancouver include: - As a building-owner, the City of Vancouver should implement a minimum target that necessitates recycling and reuse of a certain percentage of material. However, this target should not replace existing audits, which hold buildings to the highest possible standard of deconstruction. - As a building-owner, the City of Vancouver should Implement separate targets for inert and “other” waste to avoid loopholes in deconstruction requirements. - As a regulator, the City of Vancouver should continue to ban particular materials from landfills while simultaneously developing infrastructure that recycles prohibited goods appropriately. - As a regulator, the City of Vancouver should consider placing governmental incentives on non-profitable demolition and construction materials.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada