Climate change is set to impact every aspect of our lives, and that extends to the world of industrial demolition.
From an increase in building at higher elevations, to a growing need to assist in disaster recovery, demolition and construction companies across Oregon need to adapt to shifts in the industry.
Climate Change Affects C&D Best Practices
Climate change has lead to the increase in natural disasters, such as storms, hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding. Properties that were once desirable, such as beachfront homes, are now selling for substantially less than their list price.
More than 60 percent of homeowners want their homes fortified against “severe weather,” and many consider fleeing from hazard-prone areas. In fact, “an estimated 13 million people are expected to migrate to safer locals over the next 100 years.”
Property values are already reflecting this shift, as homes with “low flood or wildfire risk have appreciated at higher-than-average rates, while prices in high-risk areas have fallen—in some cases by as much as 5 percent’.”
These trends in movement to lower-risk areas will affect the locations and best practices of both demolition and construction.
The Washington Post reports, “Although much attention has focused on green building practices, resilient-design strategies take the concept of building efficiently a step further with strategies for creating durable homes that can withstand almost anything Mother Nature throws at them. Concept homes showcasing the inherent advantages of resilience and sustainability offer a preview of the possibilities for building a home that can absorb and rapidly recover from a disruptive event.”
In a changing climate, the top priority of many home buyers is a safe, newly-constructed home, as older homes are vulnerable to extreme weather. As natural disasters become more frequent and severe, the impacts on the C&D industry demolition will continue.
The Impacts of Climate Change on Demolition Contractors
An increase in natural disasters, from storms to fires, will increase demands for expert demolition contractors. The requirements of the changing industry will necessitate contractors be at the cutting edge of demolition safety best practices and hazardous material identification, as well as adhere strictly to state and local guidelines.
How can Portland’s Demolition Contractors Prepare?
Asset recovery and demolition after natural disasters will require a special set of skills from Oregon’s demo companies.
In most natural disasters, demolition contractors are called in to help first responders make rescue sites safe enough to enter, clear hazardous materials, and help investigators recover victims.
Then, demolition contractors provide asset recovery as well as ensure the safe demo and clean up of the site.
99 percent of Oregon demolition work is done using manual techniques and specialized equipment. The specialized knowledge required by demolition contractors includes:
- Knowledge of the physical and mechanical aspects of buildings
- The ability to help navigate regulations
- Helping with decisions regarding engineering and structural stability
- Identifying, removing and disposing of toxic, hazardous, and regulated materials with the appropriate agencies
- Identifying unknown hazards
- Knowledge of the best personal protective equipment to use in different environments and situations
- Familiarity with decontamination, remediation, and waste handling procedures
- Having access to specialized demolition equipment
- The ability to move large amounts of debris to allow for faster and safer site cleanups
It is important to consult with local, state, and federal institutions regarding disaster recovery in order to ensure your company complies with legal requirements as well as utilizes best practices.
Some of the qualifications needed include proof of insurance, response time, a guaranteed rate for rentals, that the crew has knowledge of what to do to control procedures for hazardous materials, and more. You will also be called upon to provide information regarding your company’s experience and what equipment you have on hand.
Preparing for our changing climate can be a complicated effort. This article is just a beginning, and it is best to do your own research, or speak to an expert who can help you assess your options.