Introduction to site waste management plans

What a site waste management plan should contain


Your site waste management plan (SWMP) should list the client, the principal contractor, the writer, the site location and the estimated project cost. It should be kept on the construction site.

It must include a statement on any decisions taken before the SWMP was written about how to minimise waste produced on site. This should contain information such as design specifications, material choice or construction methods, such as pre-fabrication.

The SWMP should estimate what types of waste are likely to be produced and in what quantities. It should also describe what waste management actions are proposed, including reuse, recycling, other types of recovery - eg composting or energy recovery - and disposal.

Finally, the SWMP should declare that all waste produced on the site is dealt with according to the waste duty of care - see how to store and handle construction waste materials effectively.

Basic site waste management plans

A basic SWMP may be suitable for all projects between £300,000 and £500,000. This includes the value of materials, plant, labour, overheads and profit, but excludes the value of land and VAT.

A basic SWMP should:

  • identify the licensed operators who remove the waste
  • record the types of waste removed
  • use the List of Wastes code
  • record all waste transfer notes and hazardous waste consignment notes
  • note where the waste is being taken
  • be monitored and updated as works progress

Within three months of the project being completed, the SWMP should be updated to include confirmation that it was regularly monitored and updated, and an explanation of any deviations from the plan.

Advanced site waste management plans

An advanced SWMP may be suitable for all projects above £500,000 in value. The advanced SWMP is more comprehensive than the basic SWMP, and the principal contractor should make sure that they also:

  • know the identity and waste carrier registration number of the person moving the waste
  • keep a written description of the waste
  • check details of the permits or exemptions held by the sites that the waste is taken to
  • update the plan as often as necessary to ensure it reflects the progress of the project - this must be at least every six months
  • keep a record of the types and quantities of wastes that are reused, recycled, recovered or disposed both on and off the site

Within three months of the project being completed, the SWMP should be updated to include:

  • a comparison between the forecast and actual waste
  • an explanation of any differences between the forecasted and actual levels of waste produced
  • an estimate of the cost savings that were achieved through implementing the SWMP

All SWMPs should include a declaration signed by the client and the principal contractor. The principal contractor should keep the SWMP for two years after completion of the project.