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Tacoma, Wash., investigating policy to reuse and recycle building materials

Building Materials

Tacoma, Wash., investigating policy to reuse and recycle building materials

The city joins Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and San Antonio in an effort to recover reusable building material items.  


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | April 22, 2024
Image by Wolfgang Borchers from Pixabay

Image by Wolfgang Borchers from Pixabay

Tacoma, Wash., recently initiated a study to find ways to increase building material reuse through deconstruction and salvage.

The city council unanimously voted to direct the city manager to investigate deconstruction options and estimate costs. The study will focus on devising salvage assessments that identify reuse cases for recovered building materials and identify ways to reduce deconstruction costs and shorten timelines.

Tacoma joins several cities including Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and San Antonio that are developing programs to recover, reuse, and recycle building materials from buildings that are slated to be torn down. Portland, Oregon, already has a deconstruction ordinance on the books. That city requires buildings constructed before 1940 to be deconstructed rather than demolished.

Proponents for a similar ordinance in Tacoma cited several benefits: a higher likelihood of finding and safely disposing hazardous materials, limiting air pollution resulting from demolition, and reusing historic building materials to build new structures that reflect existing architectural styles. Opponents cited concerns over longer project timelines that would result from the proposal.

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Codes and Standards

Updated document details methods of testing fenestration for exterior walls

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