Consideration of Waste During Project Implementation

Heathrow is the world’s busiest international airport. The growth in air travel means that -Heathrow is currently pushed to capacity and needs to expand. Terminal 5 has been one of Europe’s largest construction projects, with 16 major projects and 147 sub projects, and caters for 30 million passengers annually.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport

A key achievement of the project was that while working in consensus with contractors and suppliers, the project sponsor British Airports Authority (BAA)was able to recycle or recover over 97% of waste material during the implementation phase of the project. This was enabled by taking into consideration the use of waste material during design, construction and into operation of Terminal 5.

Design teams adopted, the principles of standardisation in design, pre fabrication and modularization, dramatically reducing waste generated during construction and maximising efficiencies in material use and delivery.

The innovative “just time” logistics strategy adopted – at T5 and on-site housekeeping practices such as designated storage areas and segmented vehicle and pedestrian routes ensured that material were delivered to the work place as they, were needed, and not stored on site, so reduced waste. The proactive logistics strategy also reduced the over-ordering of materials.

BAA worked’ with suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging delivered to the T5 site. To ensure buy in, sustainability workshops were run for suppliers focusing particularly on reducing waste. Other Steps were taken to reduce waste from the outset:

  • All suppliers were encouraged to reduce packaging as far as possible and choose reusable materials to package their products.
  • Where packaging is unavoidable suppliers were encouraged to take back the packaging they supplied for reuse.
  • Agreements with the cable suppliers enabled cable drums to be returned to the supplier for reuse.
  • Standard specifications for products such as paint enabled them to be ordered in large quantities, thus reducing waste and enabling packaging to be returned e.g. ICI Dulux paint cans were returned to the supplier.

On-site consolidation of waste using compactors and roll packers, whilst not reducing the weight of waste, significantly reduced the volume of waste sent off site, reducing the number of vehicle movements. Consolidation of hazardous materials during construction significantly reduced the transport of these materials.

Designated skips were provided for general, wood, metal and cardboard waste to encourage segregation for recycling. Waste cable and plasterboard were also segregated for recycling and in the offices, paper was collected through a desktop recycling box scheme.

General waste was further processed and sorted by the waste contractor, who typically recycled 87% of the waste they processed waste they processed. Segregation of’ hazardous waste stream was undertaken at the workplace by the project teams who separated out aerosols, paints, solvents and other hazard waste into designated hazardous waste drums.

These were collected by the “hazardous waste contractor” and sorted and consolidated on site prior to collection.

Lessons Learned

Working in consensus with contractors and suppliers enables the project sponsor to achieve effective waste minimisation as the promotion of recycling requires the commitment of everyone on site. Numerous initiatives across T5 from the (bottom up) local initiatives suggested and implemented by the workforce, to the (top down) strategic approach to logistics have all contributed to the achievements in waste management at T5. Having a designated team to coordinate waste management, working closely with the waste contractor, promoted team work and a solution-led approach to waste management, generating improvements in performance.

Source: Case Study, Constructing Excellence, www.constructing excellence.org.uk

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