Local Government Construction and Demolition (C&D) Guide
Frequently Asked Questions
This section contains construction and demolition (C&D) waste diversion related questions frequently asked by stake holders involved in the C&D diversion process (e.g. cities, counties, contractors, recyclers, etc). This section will be updated regularly, so if you have any C&D diversion-related questions that you would like addressed, please send them to LAMD.ConDemo@calrecycle.ca.gov.
California Green Building Standards Code
Effective Jan. 1, 2011, California’s Green Building Standards Code(CALGreen) requires the diversion of at least 50 percent of the construction waste generated during most “new construction” projects (CALGreen Sections 4.408 and 5.408). On July 1, 2012, that requirement will be expanded to include some additions and alterations to existing nonresidential building projects (CALGreen Section 5.713). For more information on CALGreen, including the 2012 updates, see the following questions.
- Where can I find a copy of the code?
- What are the effective dates of CALGreen’s waste diversion requirements?
- What are the code’s waste diversion requirements?
- Which types of construction occupancies are covered under CALGreen?
- What changes does the 2012 Supplement make to CALGreen?
- Who is responsible for enforcing CALGreen?
- If building departments of cities and counties are responsible for implementing the updated California Green Building Standards Code, please explain the level of involvement required by recycling coordinators?
- What flexibility does a jurisdiction have when applying CALGreen?
- Does CALGreen apply to both demolition permits and construction permits?
- What if our local ordinance has a higher diversion requirement than 50 percent?
- Is there is a minimum size project to which the code applies?
- Our C&D diversion ordinance requires recycling on all new construction with a specific cost and/or square footage threshold. Does our jurisdiction still need to implement CALGreen?
- If my jurisdiction does not have an ordinance or policy, then must we still implement CALGreen?
- If the jurisdiction is required to use the 50 percent number, can we implement some sort of review of projects that don’t report 50 percent and grant “good faith effort” compliance for builders who implement a recycling program but just didn’t generate enough recyclable materials to hit the 50 percent?
- Does our jurisdiction have the flexibility to exempt projects such as pool construction or installation of small, prefabricated buildings?
C&D Waste Diversion Ordinance
The following are questions most frequently posed to CalRecycle by local government solid waste officials during the development of their own C&D waste diversion ordinance.
- Will the Q&As brought forth at the C&D waste diversion ordinance workshop be available online?
- Are cities mandated by SB 1374 to adopt CalRecycle’s model C&D diversion ordinance?
- How can a city determine a threshold for its C&D ordinance?
- Could a city that is looking to adopt a C&D ordinance save time by just finding another city of similar size and conditions that has already adopted an ordinance, and adopt it?
- How is a diversion rate set in an ordinance?
California Green Building Code
Where can I find a copy of the code?
The most recent version of CALGreen is the July 1, 2012, Supplement to the 2010 California Green Building Standards Code. The 2010 CALGreen code is published by the International Code Council (ICC) and is available on its website in loose-leaf hardcopy and e-file versions, along with other parts of the California Building Standards Code. The applicable sections for residential construction can be found in Section 4.408 and in Section 5.408 for most non-residential new construction. Requirements for some non-residential additions and alterations are located in section 5.713.8 (effective July 1, 2012). CALGreen is part 11 of Title 24, California Code of Regulations.
What are the effective dates of CalGreen's waste diversion requirements?
CALGreen, became mandatory on Jan. 1, 2011. This was concurrent with other parts of the 2010 Building Standards Code (Title 24). The 2012 Supplement is effective July 1,2012.
What are the code’s waste diversion requirements?
Effective Jan. 1, 2011, in all jurisdictions including those without a C&D ordinance requiring the diversion of 50 percent of construction waste, the owners/builder of construction projects within the covered occupancies will be required to divert 50 percent of the construction waste materials generated during the project.
Which types of construction occupancies are covered under CALGreen?
The code applies to newly constructed buildings, including low-rise residential and most non-residential occupancies. "Low-rise residential" is defined as three stories or less. The 2010 CALGreen code does not currently apply to high-rise residential structures. Effective, July 1, 2012 the waste diversion planning requirements will apply to some non-residential, additions and alterations. For specifics on the code's scope, see Section 101.3. Also see Section 101.11 for a list of steps that can be used to determine which sections apply to each type of occupancy.
What changes does the 2012 Supplement make to Calgreen?
The 2012 Supplement makes several changes including:
- Adds mandatory waste diversion requirements for non-residential additions at least 2000 square feet and alteration with an estimated cost of at least $500,000;
- Adds two alternative residential compliance options which include 1) utilizing a waste management company, approved by the enforcing agency, which can provide verifiable documentation that the percentage of material diverted complies with the 50 percent requirement, or 2) that the overall disposal rate for the project not exceed 4 pounds per square foot of the buildings area;
- Adds two alternative non-residential compliance options which include 1) utilizing a waste management company, approved by the enforcing agency, which can provide verifiable documentation that the percentage of material diverted complies with the 50 percent requirement, or 2) that the overall disposal rate for the project not exceed 2 pounds per square foot of the buildings area; and
- Makes the previously required waste management plan one of the options for compliance.
Who is responsible for enforcing CALGreen?
Agencies currently enforcing building codes for the covered occupancies will be responsible for applicable enforcement of CALGreen.
CALGreen does not address the level of involvement required by recycling coordinators. It is up to each jurisdiction to determine what programs are available to divert at least 50 percent of waste from covered construction projects. Building departments, building owners, and builders are strongly encouraged to work with their jurisdiction's recycling coordinator or solid waste staff because they are the local recycling market and infrastructure experts. Recycling coordinators are encouraged to report how their city/county is implementing the code for inclusion in the AB 939 Annual Report.
What flexibility does a jurisdiction have when applying CALGreen?
The code includes two exceptions to the requirements of Sections 4.408, 5.408, and 5.713.8. The exceptions generally apply when 1) jobsites (non-residential) are isolated and require too great a distance to haul construction waste to a diversion facility (§ 5.408.2 and 5.713.8.2) and/or 2) if adequate diversion facilities do not exist (exemption 2 to sections §4.408.1 and 5.408.1.1, 5.408.1.2, 5.7220.127.116.11, and 5.718.104.22.168). Each of these exceptions allows a reduced or alternate compliance requirement. CalRecycle recommends that the recycling coordinator collaborate with their building departments/ inspectors to develop any appropriate exemptions. This will also provide the recycling coordinator information they can include in the AB 939 Annual Report to CalRecycle.
Does CALGreen apply to both demolition permits and construction permits?
CALGreen applies to new construction and to some non-residential additions and alterations, please see question above regarding the 2012 Supplement to determine which additions or alterations are covered. It does not specifically apply to demolition projects. There is an exception for demolition waste diverted as a result of the construction or to satisfy a local requirement; this material does not count to meeting the 50 percent construction diversion requirement.
What if our local ordinance has a higher diversion requirement than 50 percent?
CALGreen allows for either a 50 percent diversion requirement or the local requirements, whichever are more stringent; if the local ordinance has a C&D diversion requirement of 50 percent or greater, the builder may not be required to develop a project-specific Construction Waste Management Plan (CWMP) and present documentation of implementation, CALGreen does not require jurisdictions to adopt a local C&D ordinance.
Is there is a minimum size project to which the code applies?
Yes and No.
- There is no minimum size for new construction projects to which CALGreen applies.
- Effective July 1, 2012, the waste diversion and planning requirements will apply to non-residential additions of 2000 square feet or more and to non-residential alteration with a permit valuation or estimated construction cost of $500,000 or more
Our C&D diversion ordinance requires recycling on all new construction with a specific cost and/or square footage threshold. Does our jurisdiction still need to implement CALGreen?
Yes, the requirements of CALGreen may be more (or less) restrictive than a current local C&D ordinance, which uses cost or size thresholds as triggers, for newly constructed projects. Jurisdictions shall enforce their own more restrictive requirements (local ordinance) or the CALGreen Code, regardless of cost or size triggers. A jurisdictions can choose to amend its ordinance or inform stakeholders in some manner, e.g., when they apply for their building permit. A jurisdiction might also include information on its website. It could also include a note on its existing ordinance about CALGreen and how it affects new construction.
If my jurisdiction does not have an ordinance or policy, then must we still implement CALGreen?
Yes, CALGreen applies on a statewide basis, and the waste diversion and planning are required unless the exemptions (see response to question RE: jurisdiction flexibility) from those requirements apply.
If the jurisdiction is required to use the 50 percent number, can we implement some sort of review of projects that don’t report 50 percent and grant “good faith effort” compliance for builders who implement a recycling program but just didn’t generate enough recyclable materials to hit the 50 percent?
CALGreen requires builders/owners to divert 50 percent of the waste from covered projects. This can be met through three methods: 1) develop and submit a waste management plan to the jurisdiction’s enforcement agency which identifies materials and facilities to be used, 2) use a waste management company, approved by the enforcing agency, that can document 50 percent diversion, or 3) use the waste stream reduction alternative. If the waste management plan option is used, the plan should be developed before construction begins, and project managers should use the project’s planning phase to estimate materials that will be generated and identify diversion strategies for those materials. The code provides for exceptions (see response to question above) and the project’s planning phase would be an appropriate time to work with the jurisdiction’s enforcement agency and recycling coordinator to establish the best route to compliance or to determine if an exception is warranted. All covered projects should be able to divert 50 percent non-hazardous waste. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has developed suggested methods and compliance forms as options for residential builders and owners to demonstrate compliance with the 50 percent or greater construction waste reduction requirement. These methods are currently available in HCD’s “A Guide to the California Green Building Standards Code.” Additional methods will be added as they are developed. Some projects may not generate significant amounts of waste materials. To address these situations, HCD developed a method to demonstrate compliance which limits the net waste generated on a project to 4 pounds per square foot or less.
Does our jurisdiction have the flexibility to exempt projects such as pool construction or installation of small, prefabricated buildings?
The 2010 California Building Code provides permit exemptions in Chapter 1, Administration, Section 105.2 Work Exempt from Permit, which may be further modified by your city or county. (Similar exemptions are in Section R105.2 of the California Residential Code.) One example from this list includes, "one-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet (11 m2)." Pool construction, if constructed as part of a new building, may be covered by this code. An existing building with a new pool would not be regulated. HCD’s CALGreen provisions for “low-rise residential" apply to buildings and do not apply to swimming pools or detached accessory structures. Always check with your local code enforcement office to determine specific requirements.
C&D Waste Diversion Ordinance
Will the Q&As brought forth at the C&D waste diversion ordinance workshop be available online?
The transcript (Adobe PDF, 1.3 MB) of the July 8, 2004, California Integrated Waste Management Board (now CalRecycle) workshop on construction and demolition waste diversion ordinances is available online. It provides information on local governments' experience with adopting and implementing C&D diversion ordinances. Pages 98-140 of the transcript contain questions and answers that came up at the workshop.
Are cities mandated by SB 1374 to adopt CalRecycle’s Model C&D Waste Diversion Ordinance?
No, CalRecycle’s C&D model ordinance was developed as a tool for jurisdictional use. In earlier versions of SB 1374, jurisdictions were mandated to adopt the model C&D diversion ordinance. However, in the final chaptered bill, this requirement was taken out.
How can a city determine a threshold for its C&D Ordinance?
A threshold is a set ‘target’ for a city. The threshold will list projects that must comply with the C&D diversion ordinance. A city can choose which project to target. Projects can be targeted by project cost or type. To get the largest amount of C&D debris out of the waste stream, jurisdictions could look at building permits and determine what types of projects, or what project cost amounts generate the most waste. Once the highest and/or most frequently occurring projects generating C&D waste have been identified, a city then could set its threshold in a way that captures the most C&D waste and target these projects for diversion.
Could a city that is looking to adopt a C&D ordinance save time by just finding another city of similar size and conditions that has already adopted an ordinance, and adopt it?
Every city is different, and each waste stream is different. If a city is considering adoption of a C&D ordinance, while it may benefit by knowing about how C&D ordinances are working in neighboring or similar jurisdictions, it should base their ordinance on conditions specific to the city. The city should identify its infrastructure and know its own waste stream and then tailor the ordinance to its diversion needs.
How is a diversion rate set in an ordinance?
A diversion rate can be set for C&D materials overall, or by material type. CalRecycle’s model ordinance recommends 50 percent and above for overall C&D diversion, but a city has the option to set the rate.
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