Development of an Audit Methodology to Generate Construction Waste Production Indicators for the Irish Construction Industry

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Resource or Project Abstract

Reliable waste production estimates are essential to benchmark industry?s performance against the target set out in the Waste Management: Changing Our Ways policy document3 of recycling 85% of construction and demolition waste by 2013. In order to establish reliable benchmarks for industry, this Synthesis Report examines the generation of waste production indicators by directly auditing new construction projects. An audit tool was developed and tested on 57 new construction projects over a 2-year period (2004-2005) with the aim of providing individual waste production indicators for each audited site. These data were collated into three categories generating the following waste production indicators 1. 70 kg/m2 for new residential construction 2. 87 kg/m2 for new private non-residential construction 3. 139 kg/m2 for new social infrastructure construction. A compositional analysis of the audited sites identified wood/timber, paper, plastics and packaging, and mixed construction waste as the major contributors to the construction waste stream. The report concludes that there are some limitations in the audit methodology used, especially the snapshot nature of each audited site. Despite this, the audit format proved to be a practical tool for use on Irish construction sites and the units of analysis used (m3/m2 or kg/m2) provided a useful benchmark against which site management could measure waste performance based on the composition and quantity of waste fractions disposed of in skips on-site. It is recommended that the audit tool should be integrated into construction and demolition waste management plans, providing a basic methodology to measure waste performance on-site for projects exceeding the thresholds outlined in the Best Practice Guidelines on the Preparation of Waste Management Plans for Construction and Demolition Projects4. These data sets should then be submitted to the local authorities in the form of audit reports during the construction phase in fulfilment of the planning requirement. Concurrent with this is the need for the EPA to enforce a standard reporting format for construction and demolition waste data submitted in the annual environmental reports by licensed facilities. This would maximise the benefit of benchmarking construction and demolition waste indicators at the point of generation by enabling comparisons with data obtained from regulated waste management facilities. This study has designed and tested an original audit tool on 53 snapshot construction projects and four case studies over a 2-year period. Waste production indicators (kg/m2) have been generated for different categories of new construction. These indicators can be used to facilitate the benchmarking of waste production at different construction sites across Ireland. It is recommended that the development of this audit tool, incorporated into waste management plans, will be used to assist in producing key waste performance indicators on-site. It was decided that the primary resource of the study would be the students of the Department of Building and Civil Engineering at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). The B.Sc. (Honours) Degree in Construction Management consists of a mandatory module of work placement during the third year. The placement runs from February to August each year and formed the basis of the data collection, providing snapshots of a wide range of project types which displayed a variety of waste management practices. Four case studies were also examined, where a more in-depth analysis was produced over a longer time The audit format developed for use on-site had to provide basic criteria for interpreting the data collected and had to be user friendly. A paper-based audit sheet (see attachments) was developed

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Mark Kelly
Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

Dr. John Hanahoe
Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

Dr. David Grimes
Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

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Attachment Name and Download Link
End of Project Report    STRIVE_26_Kelly_ConstructionWaste_epr.pdf.pdf  (10.96 Mb)
Offline Print Quality Version    STRIVE_26_Kelly_ConstructionWaste_syn_prn.pdf  (1.98 Mb)
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    STRIVE_26_Kelly_ConstructionWaste_syn_web.pdf  (1.23 Mb)
Att 4    2001-WMWS-MS-1-Audit-Sheet.pdf   (8.39 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)Kelly, M. Hanahoe, J. Grimes, D.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationDevelopment of an Audit Methodology to Generate Construction Waste Production Indicators for the Irish Construction Industry
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifierfc00b8ea-d230-102c-9c91-0a68ec663af0
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-05-23

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Kelly, M. Hanahoe, J. Grimes, D.   "Development of an Audit Methodology to Generate Construction Waste Production Indicators for the Irish Construction Industry". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-05-23)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource Keywordswaste management indicators construction
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeWaste and Resource Management
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceAttachments (if any) connected to this resource can be used in journal article or other means of publication provided the original authors are informed of this usage and an appropriate acknowledgement or citation is included within the published article. The EPA advise that this acknowledgement should take one of the following forms dependent upon how heavily the published work relates to the downloaded report: * Co-Authorship(s) for the original author(s)* Written acknowledgement within the body of the article* Written acknowledgement by means of the inclusion of a bibliography entry which clearly cites the original authors. The EPA as a/the primary funder of the research should be acknowledged.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 4
Project Start Date Wednesday 3rd January 2001 (03-01-2001)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Saturday 3rd January 2004 (03-01-2004)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Saturday 31st December 2005 (31-12-2005)
Published on SAFERTuesday 4th August 2009 (04-08-2009)
Date of Last EditTuesday 4th August 2009 at 16:39:22 (04-08-2009)
Datasets or Files Updated On Tuesday 4th August 2009 at 16:39:22 (04-08-2009)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
The project undertook four case studies in the Galway region focusing on the management of waste on-site. Case Study 1 was a residential development consisting of 225 units. The project duration was 30 months. The audit duration was 19 months Case Study 2 was a residential development consisting of 148 units. The project duration was 24 months. The audit duration was 15 months. Case Study 3 was a private non-residential development consisting of a petrol filling station, retail units, offices and a hotel. The project duration was 21 months. The audit duration was 15 months Case Study 4 was a social infrastructure development consisting of an educational building. The project duration was 22 months. The audit duration was 19 months.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
Construction and demolition waste production has seen a phenomenal increase from 1.52 million tonnes in 1995 to 16.82 million tonnes in 2006. The latter estimate establishes construction and demolition waste as the second-highest waste-producing sector behind agriculture, accounting for 55% of all nonagricultural waste produced in Ireland. The improvement in regulatory control with the implementation of the Waste Management Act, 1996 demanding improved reporting procedures, coupled with the exceptional economic activity in the country during this time, can go some way to accounting for this massive increase in waste production. The methodologies employed to generate these estimates were primarily based on data submitted by licensed and permitted facilities throughout the country. The EPA has identified serious deficiencies in the data submitted that undermine its confidence in the estimates produced.
Supplementary Information
Fifty-seven construction sites were audited over a 2- year period (2004-2005). The Point Source Assessments (PSA) provide a snapshot analysis of a 6-month period, whereas the case studies were conducted over a period of 15-22 months. The quantitative and compositional results are outlined separately as different methodologies were used. The case studies compared the use of the Skoyles waste accounting system, the BRE SMARTWaste tool and the CIRIA skip volume analysis form with the audit tool developed by this study. The PSAs exclusively used the audit tool developed by this study.
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