Building refurbishment site managers' waste management practices
Paper in proceedings, 2015
Waste management in refurbishment projects can be costly and harmful to the environment. Legislation on waste management sets limits, but the construction industry remains among the top contributors to waste generation. Well planned waste management can drive improvements in productivity and environmental sustainability. Site managers’ waste management strategies might include reducing waste generation, reuse, recycling and disposal. The aim is to analyse the administrative and physical factors influencing refurbishment site managers’ attitudes and behaviours towards waste management. Eight semi-structured interviews were held with site managers, two with project managers and two with environmental staff belonging to large contractors involved in housing and office refurbishment projects in Sweden. Waste management practices on refurbishment sites were found to differ. Influences on site managers arise at three organisational levels: top management (sustainability policies), local level (project budgets), and site level (physical factors including limited space). Disposal of waste is the last choice of most site managers given cost and company policies. Site managers devise waste management strategies based on environmental inventories and project size. In smaller projects, waste contractors are employed only for physical support and site managers have less flexibility due to limited physical space. Design-build procurement is viewed by site managers as more efficient for waste management; partnering is promoted for greener refurbishment projects. Client demand and company policy heavily influence practices. Unlike new construction, refurbishment clients seldom require green waste management to a higher standard than is typical of large contractors.