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BTEC Nationals in Construction and Civil Engineering

Unit 7 Project Management in Construction and the Built Environment

PM25-1

Construction Waste
Introduction
In the UK, the three common ways of disposing of solid waste are in open dumps,
incineration and land fill. Municipal waste makes up about 50% of the total produced.
Approximately 35 to 45% of the cost of construction work is spent on materials. It is,
therefore, important that they are used efficiently. Two common causes of waste
include excess materials being left unused and damaged materials being unusable.
In order to control waste on site it is important that supervisors are suitably trained
and are vigilant at all times. In addition, the site operatives should be trained in the
correct handling, storage and use of materials. It is important that trades operatives
not only understand these requirements in relation to their own work but also of all
the other trades who work alongside them.
Construction companies who are able to reduce site wastage by being well
organised and providing adequate and appropriate training and supervision can
produce more competitive tenders and thus win more contracts.
In recent years there has been growing public and institutional concerns over the
impact of industrialisation and urbanisation on the environment. Consequently, the
disposal of waste has moved rapidly up government agendas in many industrialised
countries.
Waste minimisation strategies must slow down the current rapid depletion of non
renewable resources for construction while achieving cleaner production and
improved efficiency. This will inevitably require an increase in recycling and reuse of
building materials and components.
www.rics.org/Builtenvironment/sustainableconstruction has sections on commercial
and domestic construction waste and demolition waste.
Waste on construction sites
Wastage of materials will always occur on building sites. It is important that this
waste is kept to a minimum.
Wastage can arise from a variety of sources, including:

see

Poor dimensional coordination


Poor design coordination
Inaccurate taking off from drawings
Inadequate quality control
Improper handling and storage of materials
Incorrect use of materials
Inadequate loss prevention
www.wrapp.nsw.gov.au/construct/interactivc.shtml
www.resource.nsw.gov.au/data/wasteplanningguidebook.pdf

Copyright (c) 2010 Meadowbank Educational Services

BTEC Nationals in Construction and Civil Engineering


Unit 7 Project Management in Construction and the Built Environment

PM25-2

Poor dimensional coordination


Dimensional co-ordination was introduced through British Standard BS 4011 (1966).
If spaces and components are coordinated it should allow the designer to position
walls, floors etc. so that the components from which they are made will fit together
without the need for :

time consuming cutting or packing out of components to achieve a fit

costly production of non - standard special components

Thus, by designing in a dimensionally coordinated way, the need for cutting of


materials can be minimised to reduce waste.
A simple example of this could involve the use of sheet materials such as
plasterboard for walls or chipboard for floors. As these components are supplied in
standard sizes based on multiples of 600 mm this will determine:

the spacing of supporting members - wall studs, floor joists

the plan dimensions of rooms - length and width

the vertical dimension of rooms - floor to ceiling height

Thus, the designer should take account of the standard sizes in which these
materials are manufactured when designing the overall dimensions of rooms, lengths
/ heights of walls, positions of door and window openings.
Poor design coordination
It is normal practice, in the manufacturing industry, for the design and production
engineers and craftsmen to develop a product in close co-operation. In the
construction industry, however, the design of a building has traditionally been
separated from construction.
This has resulted in designers having a lack of understanding of construction
processes and, similarly, the site personnel having a lack of appreciation of the
design process.
Buildability is concerned with the ability to produce a design which allows a building
to be constructed to specified standards without wasting resources or requiring
unnecessarily difficult methods of construction.
In the building industry, it is the Architect's responsibility to ensure that the design
takes account of the materials and components being used.
The Architect must co-ordinate the design process and ensure that all the interested
parties receive the relevant information as and when required.
For example, the services requirements of a building must be determined at an early
stage in the design process. Their design must be closely coordinated with the
architectural and structural design so as to prevent wastage of both time and
materials on site during construction.

Copyright (c) 2010 Meadowbank Educational Services

BTEC Nationals in Construction and Civil Engineering


Unit 7 Project Management in Construction and the Built Environment

PM25-3

Inaccurate taking off from drawings


The process of measurement of material quantities begins with the production of
detailed construction drawings. The dimensions are then read off, or calculated from
other given dimensions on the construction drawings. This is called taking off .
When taking off the material quantities from the drawings it is important that it is
done accurately without excessive allowance being made for extra length, area,
volume etc.
Example:
If the lengths of floor joists are over estimated then there will be a large
amount of offcuts of timber on site. This is wasteful of both materials and the
labour required on site to cut the joists to the correct length.

Inadequate quality control


When materials are delivered to site it is important that they should comply with the
required quality as detailed in the project specification.
Sub-standard materials can be rejected by the client or his representative, even after
they have been built into the works. This would obviously lead to a waste of
materials and time if the works have to be removed and rebuilt.

Improper handling and storage of materials


Careless off-loading of materials when they arrive on site can cause waste. Equally
important is having the correct plant available for handling materials if damage and
wastage of time is to be avoided.
Ideally, when a component or material is delivered to site it should be off-loaded
directly to its point of use in order to minimise handling. This is often not possible and
the materials are off-loaded to a suitable storage area until they are required.
The storage of materials and components is as important as their handling.
Problems include:

Incorrectly stacked materials and components may become damaged. For


example, if materials are stacked too high the lowest layer gets crushed.

Materials and components stored in an unsuitable environment may


deteriorate or become contaminated. For example, damp surroundings
can cause cement to harden and become unusable

As can be seen from the above, the correct storage and handling of materials is
important to minimise waste.

Copyright (c) 2010 Meadowbank Educational Services

BTEC Nationals in Construction and Civil Engineering


Unit 7 Project Management in Construction and the Built Environment

PM25-4

Incorrect use of materials on site


Some operative have little regard for the value of the materials which they use. It is
important that the builder provides adequate supervision and training to maximise
the correct usage of materials. Common problems include:

Incorrect reading of construction drawings :


E.g. length of roof joists read incorrectly by joiner leading to
timber being cut too short and therefore wasted.

Incorrect selection of materials :


E.g. facing bricks being used where cheaper commons would have
been adequate.

Incorrect mixing of materials :


E.g. more concrete being mixed than required leading to
wastage of sand, cement and gravel.

Improper application of materials :


E.g. trowel trades allowing excessive material to fall onto
the floor when applying plaster to a wall.

Lack of care for unused materials :


E.g. electricians leaving fittings that are not needed

Inadequate loss prevention


It is important that systems of materials control are set up on sites to keep track of
wastage rates as the job proceeds. Loss prevention takes a variety of forms
including:
Checking deliveries
Materials should be checked thoroughly when they arrive on site.

Prevention of pilfering
Companies must have a loss prevention programme which makes it
clear to all employees / subcontractors that such behaviour will be
treated as theft.

Control of vandalism
Measures must be taken to control vandalism of plant and materials.

Vigilance against theft


Site operatives and staff must always be vigilant in relation to this.

Crime prevention
This is more difficult to prevent as determined criminals will go to great
lengths to steal materials and plant.

Copyright (c) 2010 Meadowbank Educational Services

BTEC Nationals in Construction and Civil Engineering


Unit 7 Project Management in Construction and the Built Environment

PM25-5

Methods of waste disposal


The management of waste in the UK is controlled through a legislative framework
which has developed over many decades. This framework is made up of Acts of
Parliament and Statutory Instruments. The system is also subject to legislation, in
the form of regulations and directives, from the European Union (EU).
The European waste management strategy is based on:

the polluter pays principle - those who produce the waste and / or
contaminate the environment should pay the full costs

the prevention principle - waste production must be avoided or minimised


wherever possible

the proximity principle - waste should be disposed of as near as possible


to where it is produced

The European Framework Directive on Waste required that Member States produce
a National Waste Strategy describing their policies on the disposal and recovery of
waste. In the UK, the requirements of the directive were introduced by the
Environment Act 1995, which set out the objectives of the UK's National Waste
Strategy.
The three key objectives of the UK's proposed strategy were:

to reduce the quantity of waste produced

to make the best use of what waste is produced

to minimise the risk of harm to human health and environmental pollution

In 1998, a consultation document was issued called Less Waste: More Value.The
aim was to establish public opinion on the management of waste. Responses were
used to inform the development of a draft Waste Strategy for England and Wales.
The draft strategy, called A Way with Waste, was published in 1999.
During 2000 and 2001, a waste strategy was published for England and Wales. In
addition, separate strategies were published for Scotland and Northern Ireland .
The last few years have seen more changes in waste management legislation and
policy. In order to comply with the demands of EU legislation, the Government must
oversee a major shift away from landfill to reuse, recovery and recycling.
All parties involved have their part to play:

local authorities have challenging recycling targets to meet,

industry is faced with an increasing burden of 'producer responsibility'


legislation, and

the waste management industry must adapt to more stringent technical


standard
Copyright (c) 2010 Meadowbank Educational Services

BTEC Nationals in Construction and Civil Engineering


Unit 7 Project Management in Construction and the Built Environment

PM25-6

Assessment
Construction Waste
Questions 1 to 5 - Select the correct response for the following questions :
1.

What % of the cost of construction work is spent on materials?


A
B
C
D

2.

Which of the following is not one of the 3 common ways of dealing


with solid waste?
A
B
C
D

3.

Inadequate quality control


Improper handling and storage of materials
Incorrect use of materials
Poor design coordination

Which of the following is not a common problem involved with the


incorrect use of materials?
A
B
C
D

5.

Open dumps
Dumping at sea
Incineration
Landfill

Which of the following is not a cause of waste on construction sites


resulting from poor site supervision?
A
B
C
D

4.

5% to 15%
15% to 25%
25% to 35%
35% to 45%

Incorrect selection of materials


Incorrect mixing of materials
Incorrect application of materials
Inadequate site security

Which of the following is not one of the main principles of EU waste


management strategy?
A
B
C
D

the polluter pays principle


the prevention principle
the proper handling principle
the proximity principle

Copyright (c) 2010 Meadowbank Educational Services

BTEC Nationals in Construction and Civil Engineering


Unit 7 Project Management in Construction and the Built Environment

PM25-7

Questions 6 to 10 - Decide whether each statement is True (T) or False (F).


6.

i)
ii)

Municipal waste contributes about 50% of the total waste produced.


Waste disposal issues have become less important in recent years.

Which option best describes the two statements?


A
i)
T
ii)
T
B
i)
T
ii)
F
C
ii)
F
ii)
T
D
ii)
F
ii)
F
7.

i)
ii)

In the construction industry, the design of a building has traditionally


been separated from the construction.
Dimensional coordination should help designers reduce wastage of
materials.

Which option best describes the two statements?


A
i)
T
ii)
T
B
i)
T
ii)
F
C
i)
F
ii)
T
D
i)
F
ii)
F
8.

i)
ii)

When taking off material quantities from drawings, it is important that it


is done accurately.
When offloading materials delivered to site, they should be checked
thoroughly.

Which option best describes the two statements?


A
i)
T
ii)
T
B
i)
T
ii)
F
C
i)
F
ii)
T
D
i)
F
ii)
F
9.

i)
ii)

It is important that the builder provides adequate training of site staff to


ensure the correct use of materials.
When materials are delivered to site it can be assumed that they will
comply with the quality standards specified in the contract.

Which option best describes the two statements?


A
i)
T
ii)
T
B
i)
T
ii)
F
C
i)
F
ii)
T
D
i)
F
ii)
F
10.

i)
ii)

Local Authorities are not involved in waste management.


Industry is faced with an ever increasing burden of 'producer
responsibility' in relation to waste.

Which option best describes the two statements?


A
i)
T
ii)
T
B
i)
T
ii)
F
C
i)
F
ii)
T
D
i)
F
ii)
F

Copyright (c) 2010 Meadowbank Educational Services