Oregon’s 2017 Residential Demolition Trends

Oregon's 2017 Demolition Trends

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In the past few years, Oregon has experienced unprecedented development that is expected to continue on an upward curve. As the demand for real estate increases, builders are looking to replace older homes and housing developments with modern buildings that increase residential densities. To make room for the new construction, homeowners and contractors turn to green Oregon demolition contractors to ensure the safety of neighborhoods and minimize their ecological footprint.

Trends in Oregon Demolition Services

Boom in Portland, Oregon, Demolition Projects

In Portland alone, the number of residential permits issued by the Bureau of Development Services jumped from 290 in 2014 to nearly 390 in 2016. At this rate, 1.07 houses were demolished in the city per day in 2016. This increase came as a surprise to some officials who thought new ordinance provisions and code requirements would slow the pace of demolitions, particularly of older homes.

During a January 18, 2017, city council meeting, Commissioner Amanda Fritz predicted that the number of demolitions in Portland will decrease in 2017 because of recent zoning and land-use plans that the council created. The plans offer more incentives for demolition projects in 2018. However, with an estimated 240,000 new residents expected to call Portland home by 2035, it is more likely that the City of Roses will continue to experience a growing number of new demolition projects.

Communities throughout the Willamette Valley—including Corvallis, Eugene, Lake Oswego and Salem—are also experiencing a rise in the number of demolition permit requests.

It is important to note that residential demolition statistics do not include remodel projects, which may require demolition services to alter or improve a home. Many cities do not consider remodels to be demolitions if a home retains its foundation wall.

Deconstruction Rather than Demolition

One of the latest ordinances established by Portland’s city council affects homes with historic designations and those build prior to 1916. Because of concerns about asbestos, lead paint and other toxins that may be present in older homes, the city mandates that they be deconstructed by hand instead of mechanically demolished. While the process may seem more time-consuming, it prevents harmful dust from affecting neighborhoods. It also increases salvage and recycling opportunities, allowing old building materials to have a new life while diverting waste from landfills.

Because of the higher risk of toxins in older and historic homes, project manager will look to demolition contractors with lead certifications from the Environmental Protection Agency. A green Oregon demolition company, like Elder, always takes comprehensive steps to examine a site for toxins. If hazardous materials are present, the demolition firm will collaborate with contractors that specialize in site testing and cleanups, such as environmental engineers. Even when toxins are not present, a reputable demolition contractor takes numerous measures to protect the health and wellbeing of a site’s community.

Before the ordinance, only about 10 percent of Portland homes were deconstructed. The latest change will affect about 33 percent of single-family residential demolition projects. Benefits of requiring deconstruction include:

  • Job creation
  • Training the next generation of demolition and deconstruction specialists
  • Diverting up to 4,000 tons (8 million pounds) of reusable materials from landfills annually
  • Increasing the opportunities to discover, remove and dispose of hazardous materials safely
  • Reduce a project’s carbon footprint
  • Prevent air pollution

Residential Demolition Project Considerations

Benefits of Green Demolition

Every demolition is a carefully orchestrated project, as Oregon demolition contractors must ensure the safety of their workers, public and the environment. A 2,500-square-foot home can contain more than 25 tons of waste and debris. When you work with green Oregon demolition contractors, the specialists can salvage up to 80 percent of the materials for recycle and reuse. In the end, the project turns out mutually beneficial for you and the forward-thinking contractor. For example:

  • Green demolition methods make it simpler for contractors to meet federal and local cleanup regulations
  • Recycling and salvaging materials reduce landfill fees
  • Green demolition techniques can award a project with LEED credits and help meet standards required of other green building certifications
  • When an Oregon demolition company buys a client’s scrap metal and other recyclable materials, the client can use the funds to offset the project’s cost

Salvageable Materials

Green demolition contractors go beyond EPA standards and find clever ways to reuse old building materials. Before tearing down a home, a contractor might go through a home to remove useable fixtures, such as:

  • Electrical components
  • Wiring
  • Pipes
  • Sinks
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Beams
  • Bricks
  • Plumbing fixtures

A client may reuse the items in the new home or sell or donate them to demolition salvage and recycling companies.

Usual items also have the potential for reuse. Using special equipment, a Portland demolition contractor can crush the concrete found in a building. A client can then use the crushed concrete as gravel. Today’s Oregon demolition contractors recognize the value of the various components in a home. After carefully removing the salvageable items, the specialists will place the sorted items into piles.

Oregon is experiencing a residential demolition boom. With demand for real estate at an all-time high, the need for growth is paving the way for new construction and safer dwellings. By approaching demolition from a green stance, stakeholders will support a cradle-to-cradle approach that promotes sustainability and responsible building practices.

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