Contractor's guide to cutting waste from construction projects

Reducing construction waste by being involved in the design process


One of the best ways to ensure your business minimises the waste on its construction projects is to get actively involved at the design stage. Designing out waste can be a highly effective way of cutting costs. Getting the design right for a new project may be the focus of the design team, but waste can be further reduced with input and insight from the principal contractor.

The hands-on, day-to-day experience of subcontractors can also be a valuable resource to the design team. Material specifications will be influenced by decisions made at this early stage.

Often small changes to a design can bring large waste reductions and, therefore, cost savings. These 'quick wins' can be achieved via a waste minimisation workshop where all interested parties can put their point of views forward and offer potential practical solutions.

Other, more radical alterations may be possible with negotiation with the client and design team.

One very important consideration, which is often overlooked, is to check that design solutions chosen by the architect or engineer are actually built as specified once the project is underway. You can achieve this through regular site checks.

Off-site construction

Many construction businesses now use off-site manufacture on their projects. It has a range of benefits compared to traditional build, including the potential to greatly minimise on-site waste. Through the substitution of a range of off-site construction methods, you could reduce on-site wastage by up to 90 per cent.

Although some waste will be transferred to the factory environment, the amount will be significantly reduced. In this environment there can also be greater opportunities for reuse or recycling.