Recent decisions made in Portland City Hall will foster greener demolition approaches, by incentivizing deconstruction over traditional mechanical demolition. These decisions will definitely affect Oregon demolition contractors, so we’re exploring the City’s process around this decision, as well as how Elder Demolition is well positioned to deliver client advantages stemming from Portland deconstruction grants.
First let’s explore some city history, taken from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s (BPS) webpage. In April of 2015, BPS facilitated a Deconstruction Advisory group (DAG) to advise the bureau on methods of support deconstruction. Deconstruction is a form of demolition in which workers take down structures mainly by hand, rather than via mechanical approaches.
Later this year, on June 3rd, BPS recommended the establishment of a deconstruction grant program as a first step. This recommendation was unanimously supported by the City Council, who asked BPS to return in January 2016 with a status report, and a recommendation for what to do next for the grant program.
According to the BPS site, the purpose of the new deconstruction grant program is to:
1) Promote deconstruction over mechanical demolition.
2) Gather data for future deconstruction policies.
3) Encourage participation, innovation, and capacity within the demolition industry, and to
4) Promote and increase the salvage of reusable building materials.
At Elder, we have specialized in deconstruction and asset recovery for many years, and we hail this unique municipal program as a sign of Portland’s progress in green demolition.
What does deconstruction offer over demolition? Deconstruction is an environmentally friendly option to demolition. Almost anything can be deconstructed by hand, and crews can dismantle and salvage many valuable items from a defunct building. This includes everything that can be reused or recycled, from electrical appliances to flooring and paneling. Because so much is salvaged, deconstruction is not only a more sustainable, but also a more affordable option than conventional demolition. We help clients achieve significant savings through demolition asset management. Indeed, our clients are often able to completely offset various demolition costs through our salvaging efforts.
What do recent developments in Portland mean for Oregon demolition companies? BPS offer grants in the maximum amount of $2500 for full deconstruction projects, and $500 for partial deconstruction projects. City staff will be also be available to discuss potential deconstruction solutions, to answer questions, and to make recommendations.
Expectations. Grant-funded projects do come with expectations. These are explained in greater detail on the BPS webpage. The City of Portland’s deconstruction expectations range from attending meetings to accommodating visits by City deconstruction grant staff. Grantees must also provide signage and allow project information, such as photographs and other documentation, to be used by BPS. Other stipulations include submitting a final report, and reporting any hazardous materials.
Who can apply? Any homeowner, contractor, or project manager can apply for the grant, but a licensed, bonded, and insured contractor must do the work. Additionally, the project must be part of the complete removal of a house or duplex. Alterations will not count as eligible for the deconstruction grant program. Finally, demolition permits must be completed before deconstruction begins.