On March 3rd Resource Efficient Scotland launched their new Designing Out Construction Waste Guide at an event at the Technology Innovation Centre at Strathclyde University. Over 4.4 million tonnes of construction waste was produced in Scotland in 2014, making the sector the country’s single largest waste producer and a priority sector for the Scottish Government’s circular economy strategy Making Things Last.
Reflecting the fact that responsibility for construction waste requires collaboration across the board, the presentations highlighting practical problems on site and practical solutions came from Bruce Holmes and Scott Bryson of Contractor McLaughlin and Harvey and Chris Morgan of John Gilbert Architects.
In an engaging presentation Bruce and Scott highlighted a number of triumphs in reducing waste on site: identifying suppliers willing to take back packaging; collaborating effectively with subcontractors and enabling them to access support; and making waste a resource by identifying community organisations in need of the materials. Bruce noted that for a company that can spend one million pounds on skips in a year, reducing construction waste provides a more competitive and sustainable approach.
Building on this Chris asked attendees to imagine a future without waste highlighting the need for the client to lead requirements for waste reduction in the project with supporting rigour in contracts and specifications he went on to introduce easily implementable waste reducing initiatives including: routing services behind easy to remove skirting boards to avoid the need for repair work following maintenance; avoid specifying composites as these cannot be separated or recycled and end up in landfill; and detailing windows to allow for future replacement without breaking the surrounding components.
The guide which can be downloaded here highlights the opportunities to adopt more circular approaches by designing out waste across the entire construction process.
Image: Model D House by Gokay Deveci which features as a case study project in the Designing Out Waste Guide.