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Planning to reduce construction waste

Waste in construction is a serious problem. Around 100 million tonnes of waste in the UK each year comes from construction and demolition. This typically includes timber, concrete, plastics, wood, metals, cardboard, asphalt and mixed site debris such as soil and rocks.

Good planning and waste management practices can reduce the amount of waste produced in construction. We have outlined below some simple steps below to help with planning your next project to reduce waste. It’s all in the planning.

1. Education

The first step to reducing waste in construction is education. When people understand why you are trying to reduce waste and what they can do to help, success greatly increases. Communication is key. Sharing your goals and targets with employees, clients, architects and builders and getting them involved in identifying waste reduction opportunities will create constructive conversations around reducing waste.

2. Designing out excess

In the design stage, promoting efficiencies through standardisation of components, designing out excess and considering the materials specified can substantially reduce the level of waste generated through the construction phase. Designing for materials optimisation, for example designing projects to a standard building structure and standard materials dimensions where possible, eliminates the need for material waste due to unusable offcuts.

3. Better estimates

Involving good quantity surveyors at the design stage of construction projects can improve materials estimates, saving money and reducing unnecessary waste.

4. Offsite Manufacturing

Offsite manufacturing or prefabrication in preparation for onsite installation can considerably reduce waste compared to traditional construction techniques. Not only does offsite manufacturing reduce waste, it also reduces time spent on site and can provide a cost saving.

5. Support local

Supporting local manufacturers reduces transport costs and waste from shipping and packaging. Manufacturers can also support local businesses, schools and charities which may be able to use material offcuts instead of them going to waste.

6. Sustainability Initiatives

Take your waste reduction one step further by offsetting your unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions to reduce your impact on our planet. Companies such as Carbon Footprint help you to compensate for your emissions by funding an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere in the world.

Implementing the steps above into your next project is a step in the right direction to changing the way the construction industry deals with waste.