A construction site can be a rather hectic environment. As such, it’s important that site managers practice extreme organization and efficiency to ensure the continued safety of their construction crew. There are many ways to do that—from thorough training courses to personal protective equipment. However, one safety measure that companies can easily overlook is the creation and institution of a site waste management plan. This plan will ensure the continued safety of construction site employees as well as the safety of the surrounding community and environment during construction. This guide for how to create a construction site waste management plan will help you devise an outline for safe and efficient waste removal in your construction site.
What is a site waste management plan?
Site waste management plans, or SWMP as sometimes abbreviated, were first developed in the United Kingdom. These plans detail the amount of waste that a specific construction project would produce. SWMP also details the special removal procedures in place to properly dispose of said waste. These plans were established to ensure that construction sites reuse or recycle materials as much as possible and do not purchase materials in excess, as that will lead to a higher amount of waste overall. The plans are also in place to ensure companies dispose of any potentially harmful materials or debris properly and that the waste does not place the construction crew or the surrounding environment in harm's way. Though site waste management plans originated in the United Kingdom, they are now commonplace for construction sites in the United States as well. As the concern for environmental consciousness continues to grow, so too does the prevalence of site waste management plans in construction sites.
Site waste management plans will look different for each individual construction project and will often depend on the intended scope of work. They will also depend on the resources available in the area and the materials used in the project. Establishing a concrete site waste management plan that works best for your construction company may take a bit of trial and error and will likely be a bit of a learning process. Allow the following tips for how to create a construction site waste management plan to serve as guidelines as you establish a plan that works best for your company and your individual construction projects.
Delegate a leader
First and foremost, it’s important that you delegate a leader to monitor and enact your site waste management plan. While all members of your construction crew will be involved in the construction site waste management plan and will be responsible for upholding the plan, there should be one person tasked with maintaining all waste removal processes. This individual will be responsible for monitoring waste removal throughout the course of the construction process and should update the waste management plan accordingly throughout the process. This individual will serve as the head of all waste removal procedures and should be someone with enough authority to ensure that all members of the crew comply with the waste removal plans.
Outline the intended scope of work
The construction site manager will then work with the delegated leader to outline the intended scope of work for the entire construction project. This step may seem tedious, but it’s the best way to ascertain the number and type of materials you will use during the project. While it is beneficial to have a little bit of overhead in case mistakes occur or materials become damaged, try to estimate the amount of materials needed as close to the minimum amount as possible. This will reduce the number of excess materials that will go unused at the end of the project and will, therefore, reduce the amount of time spent on waste removal. When outlining the scope of work, you will also need to examine the different types of materials necessary for the construction project.
Itemize materials and waste
Once you establish an estimate for the types of materials you will use and the quantities you will need of each material, you can begin itemizing the materials by the type of waste they will produce. Not all waste is created equally, and some forms of waste require special removal services to ensure they are safely disposed of. Separate materials into three categories of waste: recycling, dumpster disposal, and hazardous waste disposal. You can dispose of most materials found on a construction site in a dumpster. If, however, your crew is using any materials that could put themselves or the environment at risk, such as paint thinner, industrial-grade adhesives, or debris with lead or asbestos detritus, you will need to establish alternate waste removal services. For more information on the different types of waste, click here.
Analyze waste management options
With a clear outline of the different types of waste your project will produce, you can now begin analyzing and instituting the different waste management services needed for your project. Begin by outfitting your construction site with a 30 cubic yard dumpster. This size should be sufficient for most construction projects and will serve as a catch-all for almost all building materials and debris produced at the construction site. Larger construction projects may require multiple dumpsters on site for adequate waste removal. Be sure to also consult a hazardous waste removal service for the safe disposal of any potentially harmful materials. Further, you can recycle or repurpose materials that go unused during construction for a future project.
Execute waste removal procedures
With your construction site waste management plan firmly in place, you can now begin executing your waste removal procedures. Follow the site waste management plan as closely as possible, as this will ensure you maintain the highest standards of safety at all times. However, it’s important to allow a little bit of flexibility. Things will not always go according to plan during your construction project, so it’s okay to adjust your site waste management plan as needed. The delegated leader should adjust the plan as they see fit to ensure the project proceeds safely and efficiently.