Managing construction waste in 2019

The current climate in construction is shifting, to change.  A guest blog by Regan Burke

New Zealand’s infrastructure is experiencing a predicted long and busy boom. Auckland has more cranes up on the skyline than any other city in the south east Asia area. 

But at what cost? Perception of convenience and disregard for long term cumulative effects of the biproducts of our industry is finally changing.  

Following Christchurch’s gallant decision, Auckland has declared a state of emergency for climate change, councils are funding large scale waste reduction tools, and accountability for dumping is being brought into overhaul. 

When we look back 100 years at the changes to the construction market, there has been resistance to new processes but once a new culture is embedded in our practise we look with 20/20 hindsight to what good those changes did. Men unrestrained on top of skyscrapers, with no head protection, and quite often no shirts, and we now shake our heads not believing it was ever allowed but when the rules rolled out at the time it all just seemed to be a bit of a fuss, “But this the way we’ve always done it?!”. 

The same is happening with the uptake to sustainability, companies feel the intense strain of meeting project deadlines, it’s cheaper to pay waste levies than it is to outsource excess, because the consequences aren’t in our face yet. There are so many and standards to be met that focus is drawn to the immediate issues rather than the ones that seem to sit in the periphery. 

But the issues are pushing to the forefront, the detrimental effects are coming, and the mentality is moving to understand that the industry is responsible for building our future but also preserving it.  

The sustainability sector in recruitment is becoming more and more saturated, degrees offered are being tailored to include active waste re-diversion and sustainability practises, and our consumer markets are being groomed to opt for more conscious products. 

And now, as we enter the technology revolution, more and more aids are coming to the rescue of resources. To eliminate the time restraints, to get buy in for the good we can do for the environment and satisfaction in achieving these.  

So, be a little ahead of the curve, look at the waste reduction processes you can implement, hire staff to support the roll out of these, look to how these efforts can save you time & money rather than absorbing it. Our own app CivilShare was tailor made for this purpose – by someone in the industry, suffering at the hands of the challenges it faces but with a focus on how a circular economy in construction, will actually be a synergy of shared wants between construction and sustainability. 

The wheel of change is in motion, jump on the wagon before it speeds up too much. 

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