The UK Contractors Group, in conjunction with the Green Construction Board’s Greening the Industry Group, have been setting targets to reduce construction waste sent to landfill and the amount generated since 2009. With the formation of BuildUK in September 2015, it could be argued that the environmental agenda hasn’t been a key immediate priority when compared to fair payment, health and safety, training and skills. Despite this an Environmental Leadership Group exists and has been working through the previous commitments made by the UKCG to assess their relevance to BuildUK.
One of the first commitments tackled has been the reporting of sustainability metrics, with waste still a key focus. Despite a pause in data collection, as a result of the WRAP MeasuRE tool no longer being supported, this portal may well be resurrected by an alternative body, or a simple reporting mechanism will be provided by BuildUK. This will not only continue performance measurement, but also look to capture the data from the last 12-18 months.
The targets under the UKCG were:
- to divert at least 90 percent of construction and demolition (C&D) waste away from landfill, with the aspiration of achieving zero non-hazardous C&D waste to landfill by 2020
- to halve construction waste production by 2020 (based on a 2010 baseline).
Once an agreed format of reporting is established, these targets will be reviewed and either adopted under BuildUK or adapted to suit.
What is clear is that 2020 is not that far away. The future will revolve around ensuring the following focus areas are embraced by the industry:
- adoption of PAS 402 Waste Resource Management – Specification for Performance Reporting by the waste management industry
- working with the Building Research Establishment to finally publish guidance on implementing pre-redevelopment materials audits
- potentially working with CIRIA to look to reinvigorate Resource Management Planning, particularly with clients and design teams
- ensuring that as a result of Brexit, we do not lose the vast opportunities surrounding the circular economy
- embracing new technology and systems, such as Deconstruction and Recovery Information Modelling, which aims to enable the identification of reusable and recoverable materials at a building’s end-of-life.
There is still a lot of work to do before the industry significantly reduces the amount of waste produced. However, with BuildUK providing a vehicle for the supply chain and main contractors to work together, I am confident that not just waste, but the wider remit of sustainability, will come to the fore for the construction industry as 2020 looms.
Peter Kelly is sustainability manager at ISG and represents the Construction and Demolition Waste Forum.
This article first appeared in CIWM Journal, Aug 2016