California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Local Government Construction and Demolition (C&D) Guide

Definitions

To facilitate compliance with your ordinance and avoid conflicts over issues such as who is an applicant, what projects are covered under the ordinance, and what counts as diversion, you will want to include a list of definitions to ensure that contractors understand what is required to demonstrate compliance with the ordinance. Below is a list of frequently defined terms in construction and demolition (C&D) diversion ordinances:

Below are example definitions that appear in many of the sample ordinances currently on CalRecycle’s Construction and Demolition web page. Some of the definitions are very similar from one to the next, while others are quite varied. When many jurisdictions used the same or a very similar definition, the example provided below is labeled “common definition.” When there was large variation between definitions, multiple example definitions are provided, with the specific jurisdiction noted. CalRecycle’s C&D Waste and Inert Debris Disposal Regulations also contain definitions that may be applicable to a C&D waste diversion ordinance.

Applicant: Any individual, firm, limited liability company, association, partnership, political subdivision, government agency, municipality, industry, public or private corporation, or any other entity whatsoever who applies to the City/County for the applicable permits to undertake construction, remodeling or demolition project within the City/County. (Common definition)

Construction and demolition (C&D) waste, debris, or material: Of all the sample definitions, this one seemed to have the most variety amongst the sample ordinances reviewed, with definitions varying in length and detail. Below are variations of this definition:

  • Discarded materials generally considered to be not water soluble and non-hazardous in nature, including but not limited to steel, glass, brick, concrete, asphalt material, pipe, gypsum, wallboard, and lumber from the construction or destruction of a structure as part of a construction or demolition project or from the renovation of a structure and/or landscaping, and including rocks, soils, tree remains, trees, and other vegetative matter that normally results from land clearing, landscaping and development operations for a construction project. Clean cardboard, paper, plastic, wood, and metal scraps from any construction and/or landscape project. Non-construction and demolition debris wood scraps. De-minimis amounts of other non-hazardous wastes that are generated at construction or demolition projects, provided such amounts are consistent with best management practices of the industry. Mixing of construction and demolition debris with other types of solid waste will cause it to be classified as other than construction and demolition debris. (Atherton)
  • Used or discarded materials resulting from construction, remodeling, repair, or demolition operations on any pavement, house, commercial building, or other structure and such other materials as may be removed during the normal cleanup process of such construction, remodeling, repair, or demolition operations. (Santa Rosa)
  • Waste building materials resulting from construction, addition, remodeling, repair, alteration, or demolition operations. (Oakland)
  • Building materials and solid waste resulting from construction, remodeling, repair, cleanup, or demolition operations that are not hazardous as defined in California Code of Regulations, Title 22 section 66261.3 et seq. This term includes, but is not limited to, asphalt, concrete, Portland cement concrete, brick, lumber, gypsum wallboard, cardboard, and other associated packaging, roofing material, ceramic tile, carpeting, plastic pipe and steel. The material may be commingled with rock, soil, tree stumps, and other vegetative matter resulting from land clearing and landscaping for construction or land development projects. (Santa Monica)
  • Includes discarded materials generally considered to be not water soluble and non-hazardous in nature, including but not limited to steel, copper, aluminum, glass, brick, concrete, asphalt material, pipe, gypsum, wallboard, and lumber from the construction or destruction of a structure as part of a construction or demolition project or from the renovation of a structure and/or landscaping, including rocks, soils, tree remains, trees, and other vegetative matter that normally results from land clearing, landscaping and development operations for a construction project; (2) Remnants of new materials, including but not limited to: cardboard, paper, plastic, wood, and metal scraps from any construction and/or landscape project; (San Mateo County)
  • Definition in Construction, Demolition, and Inerts (CDI) regulations

Conversion factor/conversion rate: The rate set forth in the standardized Conversion Rate Table approved by the City/County/District pursuant to this Article/Chapter/Section for use in estimating the volume or weight of materials identified in the waste management plan. (Common definition)

Covered project: This sample definition varied amongst the sample ordinances reviewed, with definitions varying in length and detail. Below are variations of this definition:

  • Shall have the meaning set forth in [the threshold section] (Santa Monica)
  • A construction, renovation or demolition project for which a building permit or a demolition permit is required, covering 5,000 square feet or more. For the purposes of determining whether a project meets the foregoing threshold, all phases of a project and all related projects taking place on a single or adjoining parcel(s), as determined by the Director, shall be deemed a single project. (Contra Costa)
  • Includes any project which consists of one or more of the following: 1) demolition work only where the cost of the work exceeds $5,000 as determined by the Building Official; 2) The renovation, remodel or addition to an existing structure, or the construction of a new structure where the cost of the work exceeds $250,000, as determined by the Building Official; 3) Commercial, residential or multi-family residential development, and any new structure that is equal to or greater than 2,000 square feet. (San Mateo County)

Deconstruction: The careful and systematic dismantling of buildings and structures in order to salvage materials for diversion. (La Habra)

Demolition: This sample definition varied amongst the sample ordinances reviewed, with definitions varying in length and detail. Below are variations of this definition:

  • The decimating, razing, ruining, tearing down or wrecking of any facility, structure, pavement or building, (wall, fence) whether in whole or in part, whether interior or exterior. (Common definition)
  • The deconstructing, destroying, razing, tearing down, or wrecking of any facility including its foundation, covered by this chapter. As used herein, the word "demolition" shall include any partial demolition and any interior demolition affecting more than ten percent of the replacement value of the structure as determined by the Building Official. Demolition work includes: (1) proper disposal of recyclables, solid waste, and hazardous materials pursuant to applicable regulations and approved plans, if any, (2) termination of utilities serving the premises including permits and final inspections and approvals, (3) removal of driveways and repair of public sidewalks, as required, and (4) site cleanup and restoration including grading, landscaping, and fencing as required. (Oakland)

Divert/diversion: This sample definition varied amongst the sample ordinances reviewed, with definitions varying in length and detail. Below are variations of this definition:

  • To use material for any purpose other than disposal in a landfill or transformation facility. (Common definition)
  • The reuse of construction and demolition debris to avoid disposal in a landfill. (La Habra)
  • To use C&D debris for any purpose other than disposal in a landfill, incineration facility, or alternative daily cover. Methods to divert materials from landfills include reuse, salvage, and recycling. (Oakland)

Diversion requirement: This sample definition varied amongst the sample ordinances reviewed, with definitions varying in length and detail. Below are variations of this definition:

  • The percentage of construction and demolition waste generated from a covered project by reuse or recycling that must be diverted from landfills, unless the Applicant has been granted an exemption pursuant to Part X of this Article/Chapter/Section. If the Applicant has been granted an exemption, the Diversion Requirement shall be the maximum feasible diversion rate established by the Public Works Director for the Project, Compliance Officer, or other designated staff in charge of C&D Ordinance oversight. (Common definition)
  • The diversion of at least fifty (50) percent of the total Construction and Demolition Debris generated by a Project via reuse or recycling, unless the Applicant has been granted an Infeasibility Exemption pursuant to section 5707 of this Chapter, in which case the Diversion Requirement shall be the maximum feasible diversion rate established by the waste management plan compliance official for the Project. (Castro Valley)
  • The diversion of a minimum of 50 percent of the total construction and demolition debris generated by a project, or the lower percentage requirement granted by exception pursuant to section…. (La Habra)
  • At least fifty percent (50 percent) by weight of the total C&D debris is diverted on an affected project. (Oakland)
  • The diversion of at least sixty (60) percent of the total Construction and Demolition Material generated by a Project via reuse or recycling, unless the Applicant has been granted an Exemption pursuant to section 7.60.070, in which case the Diversion Requirement shall be the maximum feasible diversion rate established by the waste management plan compliance official in relation to the project. (Santa Monica)

Existing Construction: The building, addition, alteration, or repair of any structure or any portion thereof including any tenant improvements to an existing structure. (Common definition)

Newly Constructed Buildings: Low-rise residential and non-residential buildings or structures built entirely new and excluding additions, alterations or repairs to previously-existing buildings or structures. (2010 CA Green Building Standards Code, Section 101.3).

Performance security/security deposit: This sample definition varied amongst the sample ordinances reviewed, with definitions varying in length and detail. Below are variations of this definition:

  • Any performance bond, surety bond, money order, letter of credit, or certificate of deposit or similar financial guarantee as approved by the permitting authority submitted to the City/County/District pursuant to Article/Section/Chapter XX of this Article/Section/Chapter. (Common definition)
  • Cash, certified or cashiers’ check, certificate of deposit, a letter of credit or other security in a form approved by the Director of Public Works. (La Habra).

Project: This sample definition varied amongst the sample ordinances reviewed, with definitions varying in length and detail. Below are variations of this definition:

  • Any activity which requires an application for a building (renovation) or demolition permit or any similar permit from the City/County. (Common definition)
  • Any proposal for new or changed use, or for new construction, alteration or enlargement of any structure, that requires a permit form the City of X. (La Habra)

Recycling/recyclables: This sample definition varied amongst the sample ordinances reviewed, with definitions varying in length and detail. Below are variations of this definition:

  • The process of collecting, sorting, cleansing, treating, and reconstituting materials that would otherwise become solid waste, and returning them to the economic mainstream in the form of raw material for new, reused, or reconstituted products which meet the quality standards necessary to be used in the marketplace. (Common definition)
  • The process of collecting, sorting, cleansing, treating, and reconstituting construction and demolition debris that would otherwise be disposed of in a landfill; for use as raw material for new, reused, or reconstituted products which meet industry standards. (La Habra)
  • Residential, commercial, or industrial materials or by-products which are set aside, handled, packaged, or offered for collection in a manner different than solid waste for the purpose of being reused or processed and then returned to the economic mainstream in the form of commodities. (Oakland)
  • The process of collecting, sorting, cleansing, treating, and reconstituting materials for the purpose of using the altered form in the manufacture of a new product. Recycling does not include burning, incinerating, or thermally destroying solid waste. (Santa Monica)
  • The material will be processed and made into new products or materials. (Contra Costa County)

Renovation/remodeling: Any change, addition or modification in an existing structure. (Common definition)

Reuse: This sample definition varied amongst the sample ordinances reviewed, with definitions varying in length and detail. Below are variations of this definition:

  • Further or repeated use of construction and demolition debris/waste. (Common definition).
  • Recovering material for repeated use in the same form. This includes materials that are reused at the same location as they are generated. (Oakland)
  • The use, in the same or similar form as it was produced, of a material that might otherwise be discarded. (Santa Monica)

Salvage: This sample definition varied amongst the sample ordinances reviewed, with definitions varying in length and detail. Below are variations of this definition:

  • The controlled removal of construction or demolition waste/material from a permitted building, construction, or demolition site for the purpose of recycling, reuse, or storage for later recycling or reuse. (Common definition)
  • The controlled removal of materials from a covered project. (San Mateo County)
  • The recovering of C&D debris from a building or demolition site for the purpose of recycling, reuse, or proper storage for future recycling or reuse. (Oakland)

Waste management plan: A completed waste management plan (WMP) form, approved by the City/County for the purpose of compliance with this Article/Section/Chapter, submitted by the Applicant for any Covered or Non-covered project. (Common definition)

Waste management plan compliance official: This sample definition varied amongst the sample ordinances reviewed, with definitions varying in length and detail. Below are variations of this definition:

  • The designated staff person(s) authorized and responsible for implementing this chapter. (Castro Valley/Oakland)
  • The administrator of the Refuse Division of the Dept. of Public Works, or his or her designee. (La Habra/Santa Monica)

C&D Diversion Guide Home | Requirement for Newly Constructed Structures

Last updated: September 2, 2010
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