Samuel Okoronkwo

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How To Minimise Wastage On Construction Projects

According to the government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the UK construction industry produces roughly 100 million tonnes of waste every year. Why does this matter to you? Aside from the environmental benefits, if you minimise the amount of waste that is occurring on your construction site, you can actually minimise your losses too. 


When I talk about wastage, I am referring to materials and equipment. However, there are also other forms of wastage happening on your site that you may not be aware of…


So, throughout this article, I will be listing ways you can reduce wastage on your construction site and ultimately, minimise your losses. 


Ordering Materials

When it comes to ordering the materials for your project, it is vital that you strike the balance between ordering what you need and preparing for potential mistakes. Whilst it is smart to slightly order over, you need to be careful that you refrain from going overboard. The fewer leftover materials you have, the less wastage there is and the more money you will save. So, how can you ensure that you are ordering a sensible amount, whilst accounting for potential errors? A quantity surveyor can help you to work out the most accurate estimate of  materials that you will need.



We all know how important it is to recycle, especially when it comes to construction materials. If you want to reduce your project’s wastage, you need to ensure that everyone on your site is recycling (or reusing) everything that they possibly can. I know that this process can be a little more time-consuming than just chucking your waste into a skip, but, it is worth it. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but if current and potential customers recognise your efforts to recycle, this will be great for your reputation (and hopefully, be a factor that helps to fill your pipeline). If you would like to encourage recycling on your site, why not educate yourself and the people around you on what materials can and cannot be recycled? 


Material Choices 

Ask yourself this…are you choosing materials with a long life expectancy? It can be tempting to choose materials that are “cheaper”, however, these choices could cost you in the long run. If you are more considerate about the materials you choose to use on your construction site, you can reduce the amount that goes to waste now and in the future. Opt for materials that can stand the test of time and can be easily recycled if/when they need replacing. If you are using materials that quickly deteriorate, you will have an expensive (and dangerous) situation on your hands. 


Non-productive Overtime

Now, this type of wastage is a little different to the ones listed above. However, non-productive overtime (NPO) is just as costly and detrimental as material waste. NPO is time that employees or workers spend in the workplace over their contracted hours, however, these hours are not spent doing productive activities. If you fail to monitor and manage this, it can have costly implications. So, what can you do? Whilst there are some circumstances where NPO cannot be avoided, for example, if overtime is imperative to meet a deadline but an uncontrollable factor such as adverse weather conditions prevent them from using this time productively. So, it is important that you can identify the situations where work cannot be carried out productively and when it can. From the outset of the project, you should set clear expectations for your employees and monitor these accordingly. 


There are a number of ways that you can minimise the waste on your construction site, all of which ultimately impact your bottom line. So, if you are committed to minimising waste and you would like your employees to implement these practices on your site too, it is crucial that you educate them. Why not show them this article? 


Remember, if you are faced with a construction dispute, Mercantile Barristers will be happy to assist. Do use the enquiry form below to contact us to discuss your matter further.

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