Minimize losses in construction

Origin and benefits

Careful planning during the acquisition of materials is important to minimize the losses caused by construction projects, while unavoidable waste disposal charge will benefit both the environment and resources.

Construction is rarely an exact science. Assemble the correct and accurate amounts for each material is needed and often can be ordered too much to cover any accidental damage or mishaps losses.

It is known that such a surplus available may also lead to the situation that those working on a project will not have as much care to minimize losses.

Various estimates have placed the proportion of materials used in construction that end up as waste between 2.5 and 15 percent, although it is difficult to establish a figure with such dramatic variation between sites.

What is certain, is that it can do more to reduce.


Origins of waste

WRAP Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), made in collaboration with the Environment Agency aims to identify sources of waste and encourage efficiency on construction sites to reduce it.

Wrap describes two categories of construction waste, namely those generated by the design specifications and those generated by the building itself.

The program requires that decisions made inaccurate and wasteful design can contribute significantly to the amount of waste generated during construction of a project. Choosing the wrong cause waste materials, like getting more material than the one expected.

Sheets of plasterboard drylining used for tiles, paving slabs, bricks and blocks are all identified as potential areas such waste.

Waste generated during construction there may be "accidental" inevitable. Incidental waste are created by the damage caused by error handling, improper storage, while unavoidable waste coming from used materials necessary temporary works such as formwork for concrete and accumulation used to seal the site.

Unused material directly related to the construction, includes materials including brick, concrete and wood damaged or unused during the construction process, while waste can come from other sources such as insulation materials, electrical cables and waste created during site preparation, including dredging materials, tree stumps and debris.

Other waste can be potentially dangerous, containing toxic substances such as lead or asbestos removed from older buildings, or may become dangerous due to storage. For example, the decomposition of hydrogen sulfide as drywall releases toxic gas.


Reducing wastage

Contractors can influence most losses from the purchase of materials for a project. Often, since the materials are considered cheap compared to labor, arbitrary allocations of waste materials are contracted to cover the loss. These benefits are often non-specific and not adjusted in accordance with the requirements of a particular project.

WRAP suggests that this problem could be improved by a more accurate system that estimates material requirements and links to real wastage figures to completion, and for a better understanding of the sub-timbers on their specific needs, and thus minimize losses in future constructions.

The project team should be encouraged by the client to think about waste reduction as an important issue. Customers need to prepare the Site Waste Management required by law and set waste targets, while subcontractors must do everything possible to accurately estimate materials and the potential for losses.

Using CAD drawings and digital estimation software can greatly improve the accuracy, and can make the information it generates to the contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to minimize error. At the other end of the scale technical performance measurements Hand website will increase accuracy and help to identify the correct amount of material to cover the area.

Using the correct mechanical systems and materials moving equipment will void the risk of loss or damage during transport around the site, while off-site manufacture of items will become a method increasingly popular to improve the efficiency and quality.

For example, off-site manufacture flexible tube housing permits electrical cables expensive to be used with minimal losses. Such off-site manufacturing is reducing the amount of work required on site and especially off-cuts.

Another crucial element in reducing waste is to effectively educate the workforce, how to do this and why it is so important.

Raising awareness of the relationship between design, waste and environmental impact, is a starting point before specific strategies such as the allocation of personal responsibility for reducing waste on site and implement incentives for people. To reduce waste, will focus on those who perform the work to meet the objectives, as well as the exchange of information on best practices.

Finally, recycling is an important element in the quality of construction waste, with more potential to be used again in future projects. For example, the rubble can be crushed and reused and waste wood can also be recovered from similar uses.


Benefits of reducing waste

Taking such measures to reduce losses will have a very positive effect on the finances and the environment. 

Subcontractors will benefit from a reduction of waste by improving their image through pro-active appearances in such measures and maintaining auction prices, reduced material costs.

Customers and contractors will reap the rewards twin reduced project costs and would not have to pay for excess material wasted.

Landfill tax for waste disposal continues to rise, making them more important than ever to minimize losses.