STUDY: Construction Waste
Minimisation in Housing
case study is also available in pdf format.
SECTOR - Waste COUNTRY
- Wales, UK
The construction industry has a major impact on the environment, both
in terms of the resources it consumes and the waste it produces. The construction
industry is responsible for producing a whole variety of different wastes, the
amount and type of which depends on factors such as the stage of construction,
type of construction work and practices on site. Over 90% of non -energy minerals
extracted in Great Britain are used to supply the construction industry with
materials. Yet every year more than 70 million tones of construction and demolition
waste has been produced in England and Wales
Figure 1. Crushing
rubble for re-use
Figure 2. Segregation of waste on site after introducing
waste minimisations techniques
Figure 3. Reclaimed paving bricks for re-use
The aim of this study is to promote
awareness in the small and medium house construction companies regarding environmental
issues, best practice and use of recycled and reclaimed materials. A key concern
was to promote on-site awareness and initiatives to minimise waste, and to this
end various training tools and checklists of actions were developed.
The project particular emphasised the following factors of building project:
- Site management
between building project teams
Waste minimisation means reducing
the amount and environmental impact of waste generated, which can be achieved
by reducing the quantity of materials used (and therefore potential for wastage)
or by reusing existing materials. In addition energy and water use reduction
was included in our targets. Ideally, prevention of waste is the target, but
once it has been created recycling is the method of managing the waste. Prevention
of the waste means the effective use of natural resources; energy needed to
manufacture new mater ials as well as reducing pollution.
This study concentrated on how construction and demolition waste can
be minimized on site. It also identifies the behavior of waste production on
various stages of the construction of housing. This investigation is conducted
by studying more than 10 house construction sites involving timber and traditional
building construction. Study also investigates the waste streams during the
various stages of construction. However, there are three aim of this study:
- Developing waste minimization
initiatives: Site practices could minimize waste and improve the use of waste
best practice: a structured approach could be developed through minimize waste
and improving short and long terms environmental impact.
arising data collection: It was also assumed that identification of waste streams
and volume of waste on different stages would determine the factors, which influence
the waste production.
WASTE MINIMISATION AND BEST PRACTICE
- 8 out of 10 construction
companies implemented or incorporated many of proposed activities to minimise
waste. However segregation of waste, material handling and improved storage
methods was the most common initiatives were adopted by companies.
was observed there was quite a prominent reluctance towards sending materials
for recycling and reclaiming as because there is lack of market flow for recycled
- Study shows
that there is no prominent relationship between company policies or certification
to waste minimisation on site. This is because many SMEs feel where as waste
minimisation on site can provide immediate financial savings that having overall
company policies gives them no real visible benefits.
Figure 4 Waste minimisation
initiatives adopted by various house builders
- Waste streams vary greatly
between different construction phases. However, in many cases overlapping of
the construction phases was observed which effect the type of the waste arise
on the specific stage of the project.
was observed that at roofing stage waste stream is being produced is packaging
and card board waste- it should be noted that it is norm to working on fittings
while work on going on the roofing to speed up the construction. However most
packaging waste been produced by packaging of the roofing tiles etc. Second
highest waste stream at roofing stage was insulation material. Rubble was most
prominent waste stream at plastering, painting stages and finishing stages.
- During waste arising
data collection survey it was observed the during the most of waste arises on
the structure and fitting stages of construction.
Figure 5 Waste streams
at various stages of house construction
Figure 6 Number of skips
used per month throughout the construction
There are no agreed bench mark data available. However on going study at
Centre for Research in the Built Envrionment is looking at the bench marking
for waste minimisation.
Waste strategy 2000 aims to encourage greater efficiency in resources used
based on the principles of the waste hierarchy, which promotes sustainable waste
management and the market for secondary materials. The landfill tax, introduced
in 1996, is influencing waste management practices by encouraging greater diversion
of waste from landfill. Increases in the rate of tax were announced in 1999.
There are environmental impacts associated with aggregate extraction. The Government
has introduced Aggregates Levy to reflect environmental costs of aggregates
quarrying and encourage demand for a supply of alternative materials. Climate
changes responses a major global environmental challenge. A climate Change levy
on business use of energy is also been introduced in 2001. This would particular
influence on manufactures of materials for use in construction.
The results of the study show that waste can be minimising comparatively
easily if waste minimisation is considered as part of the contract. On-site
segregation of waste and reusing of material were the most commonly adopted
methods to minimise waste. Results also show that there is a poor relationship
between environmental certification and actual waste minimisation activities
in SMEs companies. Furthermore, minimising waste is considered as an ad hoc
activity not part of the core activity of the construction. During implementation
of the project it was found that personnel are not utilised efficiently with
regard to minimise waste on site.
Two main stages of building project
were identified as needing review to encourage waste minimisation:
- Contract and contractual
agreement stages: Client, contractor and architect play important roles in reducing
waste through incorporating waste minimisation activities by means of briefing
and use of specifically-oriented contract tender clauses.
stage: a structured methodology has been produced which can be incorporated
at the construction stages to minimise waste.
Results show that particular waste
streams vary greatly between different construction phases and according to
construction method used. However, the main causes of waste were identified
- Damage by mishandling, weather
and inadequate storage
- Lack of
recycling facilities within the studied region.
The following factors were identified
as influencing waste minimisation activities:
- Role of the site manager/contractor
- Lack of partnership
along the supply chain
attitude to jobs undertaken by some sub-contractor.
information flows between all parties to the contact
of Market for recycling and reused materials
of interest of recycling by skip hire companies due to various reasons.
and form of the building
The applications of developed approach of waste minimisation strategies
and techniques for housing are being incorporated and tested for other types
of Government building projects.
The international environmental standards e.g. ISO 14001 or EMAS requires
companies to investigate and effectively manage their waste to minimise its
impact on the environment. This project demonstrates a transferable method,
which can be, incorporated as an integral part of ISO 14001 or other international
standards. However, the local conditions of business /sector also be considered
during adopting the best practice methods.
IMPACT ON SUSTAINABILITY AREAS
Economics: The potential large
savings can be made by incorporating best practice in waste management. Project
provided B2B links and support to regional business in terms of supplier and
Social: Potential to create skilled employment, Improved knowledge-based
business providing job safeguarding through cost savings and staff training
related to waste management.
Environmental: Effective use of natural resources and reduce waste
to landfill. Institutional: This project provides the groundwork for
development a broad based cross-disciplinary researches projects.
Prof. Phil Jones and Dr Rubina Greenwood, Centre for Research in the Built
Environment, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Bute Building,
King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3NB, Wales, UK. Tel: ++44 2920876397, Fax:
++44 292874623, Email:Greenwoodr1@cf.ac.uk
European Regional Development Fund, UK
National Assembly of Wales, UK
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