Skip to main content

Victoria passes demolition waste and deconstruction bylaw


Board by board, nail by nail, oak floors are being removed from a 1940s home in Victoria. Soon, those boards will be packaged up for resale.

“It will get used by another third-party person, whoever is looking for – in this case – 2.5-inch oak flooring,” said Peter Worden, who works for Unbuilders Deconstruction.

Unbuilders Deconstruction was hired by the contractor renovating the home.

“We come into a building and look at what’s of value and those items we salvage,” said Adam Corneil, the company's founder and CEO.

Corneil says 90 per cent of the materials salvaged from a construction site are either resold, donated or recycled, keeping them out of the landfill.

The business is set to grow as the City of Victoria has just passed its demolition waste and deconstruction bylaw.

“Really, what this bylaw is aiming to do is address a major source of waste that goes to our landfill every given year,” said Rory Tooke, manager of sustainability for the City of Victoria.

It’s estimated that one-third of the material ending up in the Hartland Landfill is construction junk.

The new bylaw means that, in Victoria, contractors must now unbuild buildings and salvage what they can, rather than demolishing the structure and sending the waste to the landfill.

“We know there’s lots of demand in this market already for this type of salvaged wood,” sad Tooke.

Doors, bricks and wood, will all be reused by someone.

Development permit holders will now have to put down a refundable deposit of $19,500.

“If the material is salvaged to meet the targets that are in the bylaw, then that full fee goes back to the permit holder,” said Tooke.

But not everyone thinks the new bylaw is a good idea.

“The outcome of this is going to be higher prices that are unnecessary,” said Casey Edge, executive director of the Victoria Residential Builders Association.

The association says the bylaw will slow projects down and could add up to $20,000 to the cost of a home in a region where real estate prices area already sky-high.

“Every time you add a regulation – which the City of Victoria is prone to do, they’ve never met a regulation they didn’t like – they add costs to housing,” said Edge. “This in a market that is already one of the highest in Canada.” Top Stories

Stay Connected