Resource – this year at Ecobuild

A further growing testament to the construction industry’s growing awareness of the importance of resource security has been marked by the announcement of this years Resource event co-located at Ecobuild this year. Resource will be the first major conference focussing exclusively on circular economy principles and will run from March 4th to March 6th.

The theme of the event will be how resource scarcity is changing the way we do business, highlighting the opportunities that exist behind these changes.

The event will include over 100 speakers from major organisations such as M+S and Bam as well as government departments DEFRA and WRAP. Representatives from all aspects of the design, manufacturing, construction and resource recovery sectors will come together to learn about the commercial opportunities which exist.

The construction industry is not only a massive consumer of products but also the largest producer of waste; some evidence estimates anything as high as between 90 and 120 millions tonnes of waste is created from the sector each year. So for the construction industry it is crucial that the industry embraces non linear waste models and realises the potential value of waste. This includes maximising recovery of surplus assets, designing for deconstruction and recovering more from demolition.

Recipro welcomes the growing spotlight on resource security and with it the emergence of new innovation and thinking on the subject.

If you would like more information about the event then please visit – http://www.resource-event.com.

Remember if you are at Resource or Ecobuild this year then be sure to visit Recipro on stand N1200 t learn about how Recipro is innovating to reduce recover more resources for the benefit of the wider community.

 

SWMP’s – RIP?

This week marked the end of Site Waste Management Plans… or at least the legal requirement to complete one.

Site Waste Management Plans were scrapped as of the Sunday 1st December; the regulation which came into effect in 2008 was eradicated as part of the Government’s red tape review.

Site Waste Management Plans originally came into force to help drive waste minimisation as well as boost reuse and reclamation rates in the construction industry. They were a legal requirement on all projects with a value of over £300k and required contractors to document how they were going to manage waste through all stages of a construction or demolition project.

SWMP’s have been scrapped on the back of a consultation which ended in July this year which saw an equal split of responses (49% each) between maintaining the use of plans and those which wanted to be rid of them. 2% remained neutral. Despite this the decision was taken to terminate them as a requirement.

It remains to be seen whether the repeal of the legislation will have significant effects on the industry with a large volume of contractors surveyed suggesting that they would continue to complete SWMP’s despite no legal obligation to do so. From those that Recipro have spoken to they have also given confirmation of continuity.

Many believe that SWMP’s should have been improved but not scrapped as the principle is a good one and the need to manage waste in the industry better is key.

Reducing Green Levies could result in 10,000 jobs being lost

The UK Green Building Council and the construction industry has warned the Government to be cautious when thinking of cuts to “green levies” on energy bills as it could risks the loss of 10,000 construction and insulation jobs.

The body warns that there could be job cuts before Christmas if the Chancellor unveils measures to cut or scale-back Energy Company Obligation in the Autumn statement on 5 December.

Rob Lambe, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon Energy Services, said: “We have invested heavily in establishing a business to respond to the projected market opportunities of energy efficiency under ECO.  Over the next year we anticipated employing more than 400 tradesmen installing insulation to solid walled properties.”

“But if ECO funding is cut, this work will simply come to a grinding halt and these jobs will be lost, with thousands more at risk in the wider industry.”

The Association of the Conservation of Energy has estimated that there are currently 33,000 people in employment as a result of ECO and the Green Deal.

Prime Minister David Cameron has already given the impression he will be scaling back the green levies following the public debate on the cost they add to household energy bills, even though according to the Government’s own project the number of jobs will rise to 60,000 jobs in 2015.

Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: “The Prime Minister needs to realise that going after ECO in a bid to cut household energy bills could end up costing 10,000 construction and insulation jobs. That will decimate the very industry that is helping people – including some of the most vulnerable in society – reduce their bills in the long-term.”

Recipro sourced this article from Construction Enquirer.

 

Corruption rife in Construction Industry?

I read with interest on this week’s Construction Enquirer website an article which claims that corruption and bribery are still rife in construction.

With so many good things happening in the construction industry it is with disappointment that we read today that some of the traditional pitfalls of the industry still exist. Some specialist contractors are even threatening to quit the industry for good, fed up with alleged backhanders being the driving force behind contract awards.


A number of contractors have written to express their frustration at a culture of corruption; many now seem ready to turn their backs on the construction industry.

The letters detail some alarming accusations of project managers who have accepted brown envelopes, one stating that the winner of work is the one that hands over the largest brown envelope. Equally alarmingly many believe that head office have no idea what is going on.

One boss of a Civils firm stated “Head offices and government ministers would be horrified if they realised the amount of money going into people’s back pockets on these sites.”

It remains to be seen what steps will be taken to investigate and take appropriate measures to address these allegations.

Recipro sourced this from the Construction Enquirer

 

Sixth cyclist death in two weeks leads to calls for rush-hour HGV ban in capital

Six cyclist fatalities in a two week span has increased pressure to place a ban on HGV lorries using the roads in London during rush hour.

The latest fatality came after a collision between a cyclist believed to be in his sixties and a lorry in south-east London. This is the 14th cycling casualty on London’s roads of 2013, nine of which involved HGV’s.

The construction industry would be potentially severely affected by any HGV ban, with night constraints already placed upon delivery some believe that they simply would not have the time to meet supply for construction companies.

It is estimated that on average half of cyclists casualties in the capital involve lorries, with a high proportion of these (about three-quarters) being construction related vehicles.

The problem appears to be that construction lorries and tipper trucks have a high driving position with poor visibility, they are also not required to include sidebars or low skirts which can be life-saving. This is due to problems when the vehicles drive off road.

Calls have been made for these vehicles to be fitted with both sensors and cameras to assist the drivers, further calls have been made for cyclist awareness training for HGV drivers in London.

On the opposite side calls have been made for cyclists to be aware of the dangers, wear high visibility and reduce the use of head phones whilst travelling.

London has seen a boom in cycling with an increase of 200,000 journeys made by bike each day between 2002 and 2011. Whilst each fatality is a tragedy and unavoidable it should also be mentioned that during this boom the number of fatalities has not increased on London roads, in 2002 there was 20 fatalities compared to 16 in 2011.

Whilst this latest spate of cyclist casualties is alarming and has certainly highlighted a problem some are calling for blanket bans on Lorry use in rush hour whilst others are urging that knee jerk reactions are not the answer. The Mayors office will certainly be under pressure to react to the recent events.

Scotland showcase new eco-home

Here at Recipro we are always interested to hear about innovative projects in the construction industry, especially when they are tackling one of our favourite issues resource efficiency. This one comes from Scotland where they have delivered a scheme to produce the most resource efficient house in Scotland.

The project has been delivered by the Scottish Government’s Resource Efficient Scotland programme and the house is their first project.

The house which has been developed on the BRE Innovation Park in Lanarkshire and showcases a range of energy efficiency and waste reduction building techniques and products.

One area where significant were witnessed in the production of construction waste in the build process. On average this is thought to be about 13 tonnes for every three bed home built in Scotland. This project produced less than 5 tonnes of construction waste, less than 1 tonne of which went to landfill. These reductions have been achieved in part thanks to off-site building reducing the potential exposure of materials to potential weather damage.

Thought has also been given to the increase use of recycled and reused materials within the build itself; this includes the use of recycled paint used to decorate the house as well as other reclaimed materials to produce bar stools and kitchen tops. Thought has also been given to the reuse and recycling materials of at the end of the homes use and deconstruction phase.

It is hoped the learning from this development will not only showcase sustainable construction techniques but also lead to quantifiable improvements in both waste reduction and energy efficiency.

Recipro sourced this article from edie.com

 

 

Can more packaging mean less waste?

This is the first in a new series of blogs which will explore the environmental implication consumer choice and discuss how we can ensure that our consumer choices are green.

First up is that of packaging and in particular single portion packs and whether potential reductions in food waste are offset by increases in packaging. Packaging has two primary purposes, firstly to ensure that the product arrives without loss, undamaged and fresh (and prolongs the length of this ‘freshness’). Secondly to act as a medium for marketing, however let’s concentrate on the first.

So the question is can more packaging lead to less waste? Single serving packs are increasingly popular, I notice that my colleague has just received her latest Graze box, for those not familiar these provide a mail order box of four individually wrapped snacks. I comment to her that the box appears over packaged and arrives with a whole host of marketing materials and even napkins and plastic cutlery. But is this seeming excess of food packaging actually a good environmental decision when compared to the potential for increased food waste.

Single serving packs clearly ensure that we do not open a drink or packet that would contain more than we need or want at that moment in time, reducing the opportunity of materials to lose their quality and potentially ‘go bad’. I think most of us will admit to disposing of food at one point or another, I consider myself to be very environmentally aware yet I seem to end up disposing of food turned bad far too commonly. This obviously is disappointing from an environmental stand point but also from an expenditure view, I have paid money for something that I have transported home and then disposed of.  In the UK it is estimated that 18 million tonnes of food waste ends up in Landfill, approximately a third of this is from household waste.

So is the answer more packaging? It goes against an instinctive reaction to refute needs for greater packaging, however, I understand the argument, it has been shown that in the majority of instances the product uses more energy in the manufacturing than the equivalent in the product. With the growing increase of recycled packaging and smart packaging (modified atmosphere technology which can increase the shelf life of the product within, and packaging which can visually alter with the condition of the product within – much like the skin of a banana) then packaging it seems holds part of the key to becoming more resource efficient. Working in the reuse market I believe a much greater potential still exists for the design and manufacture of reusable packaging also. The Graze box sitting opposite used to protect the product from its postal delivery surely could be used more than once.

Whilst this discussion is focussed exclusively on food, I have heard reports in the construction industry where building materials are wasted as a result of minimum pack sizes

So perhaps the greener choice is the single portion pack and I owe an apology to the colleague with the Graze box?

Osborne Announces New Wave of Investment in Infrstructure

George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne this week has unveiled plans which include significant investment in major infrastructure construction projects as government shifts emphasis from cuts to ‘recovery’.  These plans could be great news for the construction industry.

The Chancellor has pledged tens of billions into major infrastructure schemes, including the Mersey Gateway Bridge, funding of High Speed 2 (HS2) scheme as well as broadband and green energy schemes. The plan also includes significant investment in road spending, claiming the largest investment in Britain’s roads in half a century. Further investment has been pledged in the education sector with a planned 180 new free schools in 2015/16 as well as a further 20 studio schools and 20 university technical colleges.

This new wave of spending will be highlighted as key spending that will boost the economy allowed by budget cuts and spending discipline elsewhere. This move comes following estimated cuts of £11.5bn agreed between cabinet ministers and the Treasury, of which £5bn is efficiency savings from public sector pay squeeze.

Osborne stated that this new wave of investment would ‘raise our national game’ with £300bn worth of capital spending guaranteed to the end of this decade.

 

Volunteers Urgently Needed

 

St Annes College

At Recipro we are committed to lowering the amount of surplus materials entering waste streams and instead putting them to good use to help out the local community. Thanks to our work many projects have been able to gather resource that their limited funding wouldn’t have been able to acquire. The only thing Recipro can’t provide is the work force to help the projects, so we’re calling for help from our users!

AAbacus is a charity that works with young people who are unemployed and with special learning needs. Through educational achievement they help each pupil to reach their full potential and take pride in their own progress. They are based in Croydon and are in urgent need of volunteers to help make the front of their college more presentable for the ofsted inspection in July.

If you live in the area of London, Croydon and can spare any time to help with brightening up the front of the building it’d be much appreciated, anyone with experience in the construction industry would also be very useful as some of the jobs may require trades experience such as:

  • Plastering of walls before painting
  • Plastering of Window sills before painting
  • Painting the front of the building
  • Generally tidying up the front bricked footpath to look nice and clean

Whether you have experience in the construction industry or not, all help is greatly appreciated and will go along way to helping out many children who don’t have the same learning opportunities as you and I!

If you would like to help out this worthwhile cause please get in contact with Carron Russell on carron@aabacusgroup.com or telephone No. 0203 667 2696 or 0208 240 1148.

Ucatt Appoint Rob Morris as Regional Secretary for Yorkshire


Construction union Ucatt have appointed Rob Morris as regional secretary for Yorkshire.

Mr Morris who formally takes over this month having been acting regional secretary since January 2012 and has also been a regional organiser in Yorkshire since 2001. Prior to working for Ucatt, he started in the construction industry as  a bricklayer working for number of differenct companies throughout the region.

Mr Morris said: “I am delighted to be the new Regional Secretary for Yorkshire. For too long construction employers have believed they can ride roughshod over basic employment practices. This must change construction workers must be treated with the decency they deserve.”

Mr Morris added: “It is vital that construction workers join UCATT. It is only by being a member of a trade union that we can ensure that they are not exploited or ripped off.”

Recipro reported recently about Andrew Fishers appointment as Ucatt Regional Secretary for North West.

Recipro sourced this article from Construction Line & Ucatt.org