The Effectiveness And Sustainability Of Waste Construction Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Waste minimisation and management is important as it can provide a range of benefits in addition to improvements in materials resource efficiency. Key benefits include the reduced material and disposal cost. If less waste is generated, then the amount of materials produced shall be less which leads to less waste taken to landfill. This process will save money from gate fees for disposal as the amount of disposal shall be much less. Another key benefit is the reduction in C02 emissions as implementing good practice plasterboard recovery compared with standard practice can save 4.2 tonnes of C02 for each tonne of additionally recovered plasterboard. The true cost of waste disposal is not just the cost of a waste contractor coming to remove a skip from the site. There are additional costs such as the purchase cost of the delivered materials that were wasted, the cost of waste storage, transport, treatment and disposal and the loss of not selling waste for salvage or not recycling. There are also other costs that may be included such as the time taken by on-site handling, sorting and managing waste, poor packing or overfilling of skips which may lead to double handling and the cost of the materials that have been wasted. As an example, the true cost of filling and disposing of one skip with mixed construction waste in one study was found to be £1,343. Although the skip hire was only £85, the labour cost to fill it was £163 whilst the cost of unused material in the skip was the most significant at £1,095.

The principal objective of good practice WMM is to use materials more efficiently and to reduce the amount of waste requiring final disposal. The diagram to the right is a good way to understand how to reduce, reuse, recycle, recover and dispose, makes good business sense both for clients and the construction sector. Good practice WMM should follow the waste hierarchy diagram. The primary aim should therefore be to minimise the total quantity of waste produced through a project. After this, the waste that is produced should be managed effectively to limit the amount sent to landfill. This will involve recovering the material in a number of waste streams for either re-use or recycling.

In a company it is wise to create waste management teams, consisting of a production manager and waste contractor or partner. A permanent trainer may be used to take courses in waste segregation at regular intervals.

Nowadays any construction site in England that has an estimated project value for labour, materials and margin greater than £300,000 it is essential for them to produce a site waste management plan. In Scotland it is just considered good practice to fill out the site waste management plan (SWMP). In England the client should deliver the legal rights so that the site waste management plan can be prepared and completed. There is also a guide that has been produced so that the client, through to the contractors are clear about their responsibilities and roles. The person that is in charge of completing the SWMP must have the knowledge of waste and resources management issues and the detail of the construction programme. There should also be training provided on how to fill in the SWMP. This should also be filled in by people associated with the site, such as the client, design team, environmental team, trade contractors and demolition contractors. The principal contractor shall have to organise the construction phase along with safety issues, along with making sure waste is re-used (In England), recycled recovered on site or off site. Before work can start on site a description of works proposed has to be clarified. This includes the location of the site and the estimated cost of the project. Information of the waste types throughout the course of construction must be noted. The quantity of waste produced must also be estimated along with the waste management plan proposed for each type of waste such as re-used, recycled, recovered or disposed of.

It is very important to start the SWMP during the design phase of the project. A note of all measures taken to reduce waste must be recorded. This includes waste that has been eliminated as this will allow you to quantify tonnages of reduced waste and the cost savings. There must be someone in charge of the SWMP (generally the client) during the pre construction stage, but when the construction starts it may be left for the principal contractor to handle.

Scotland has a national waste strategy 1999 that targets European directives. This strategy is cited in the building regulations but is a no longer current strategy. The strategy deals with waste management for local authorities, waste companies, SEPA and other specialists. The Scottish government has a consultation document to examine the main issues around waste management which aims to move towards zero tolerance of waste. The construction industry causes a third of waste in the UK and this has an environmental and financial impact such as the site waste rising cost of landfill. The planning for waste management stage is important because individuals would need to know if it is necessary to get any specialised equipment such as mobile crushers, which is used for recycling aggregates.

I have researched how Off-site manufacturing can reduce waste in the construction process by up to around 90 per cent. Good design and engineering waste-generating operations out of the manufacturing process from the outset is crucial. This process includes clever and effective modular design, which can maximises the use of standard width materials and reduce the amount of cutting on site. Another procedure that may minimise waste on-site is that any door and window cut outs from insulated wall panels can be re-used for floor insulation and any steel beams to be sent to the factory are an accurate length required for a specific module size, which reduces the need for getting rid of off-cuts. Particle board used for floors is pre-sized so that there is no trimming to size or any waste, and the working environment in the factory is greatly improved as there are no wood particles or dust generated. Other steps that can be taken include delivering low value and high volume materials, such as adhesives and fastenings, direct to the production line. This gets rid of any packaging that would otherwise need to be disposed of. If these small steps are taken into consideration and used properly, the amount of waste produced is considerably minimised.

Work is much more efficient and effective if done in a factory rather than on site due to a factory having a much better infrastructure than a construction site. Most factories are now equipped with high quality lifting facilities, which means that materials can be handled in larger volumes, in more appropriate sizes and safer than would be done on a building site. The conditions in a well designed manufacturing factory are significantly improved compared to a building site that is exposed to the elements. One of the main advantages of carrying out work in a factory is that skilled staff work can be kept constant as the temperature of the factory may be kept to around 16 degrees, without being hindered by heavy clothing. This helps to ensure consistently high build quality. When working on a building site, workers can get wet and cold depending on the weather which may decreases their mood to work efficiently. This can have a negative impact on material wastage, product damage and other factors such as segregation of recycling. When steel and timber module components are getting produced and cut to size an advanced cutting machine should be used which can improve the accuracy of cutting and reduce a lot of waste. With off-site construction being used the volume of material wasted through damage and deterioration is significantly reduced. This is due to all storage being under cover and in controlled factory conditions, and operatives are not subcontracted labour but are permanently employed and highly skilled and trained. To increase the amount of waste being recycled, staff must be provide sufficient training and discipline so that they know that recycling is a key factor of their work. In a controlled factory environment, segregation for recycling at source, using colour-coded skips, is much simpler than on a building site. This makes it a lot easier for staff to recycle waste and shall encourage them to do it.