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Wrapping up matters of waste and resource

Waste reduction and resource efficiency are a strategic part of our corporate responsibility agenda and signing up to halve waste to landfill by 2012 aligns with our vision to ‘challenge and change’ the image of the construction industry worldwide.

The advantages are clear - Laing O’Rourke has been working with WRAP on a range of waste reduction initiatives and have made substantial progress over the last 12 months. WRAP provided guidance to Laing
We trialling its Net Waste Tool on a number of projects, enabling us to forecast the waste generated and identify opportunities to improve performance. WRAP is also helping to review our ‘Waste Tracker’ system which allows us to set robust waste reduction targets and measure our performance.

Our supply chain has responded positively to the challenges of significantly reducing waste to landfill. With support from WRAP we have implemented supplier waste questionnaires and have introduced contract clauses to engage our supply chain in waste reduction.

Our Meath Gardens project is a good example of the business benefits achieved through collaboration. By manufacturing plasterboard sizes to match building storey heights of 2.7M the project was able to achieve a substantial reduction in plasterboard waste. At Terminal 5, consideration of waste throughout design, construction and operation enabled 97 per cent of waste to be recovered or recycled.

The innovative ‘just in time’ logistics strategy adopted at T5, and on-site housekeeping practices such as designated storage areas and segregated vehicle and pedestrian routes, ensured materials were delivered to the work place as they were needed, and not stored on site. This reduced the amount of material damaged on site, and so reduced waste. This also reduced the over-ordering of materials. Typically on a construction site, this can account for 10 per cent of materials ordered, which then often end up in a skip unused.

Off-site manufacturing is making a significant contribution to waste reduction at Laing O’Rourke. We have invested in a new off-site manufacturing facility at Steetley and our Crown House Technologies business offers off-site solutions including plant room modules, ceiling mounted units and risers for building services, chilled beam units and steelwork fabrication.

With an in-house manufacturing capability the projects delivered by Crown House improve quality, reduce labour, reduce material waste and improve production performance. The modular plant rooms arrive on site ready for installation. Delivery to site can be on a just-in-time basis as the plant room is pre-commissioned and remains sealed until use.

John Green is director of HS&E at at Laing O’Rourke