Barratt Homes: Partnership Approach
Over 0 Years
Long-term partnership with Reconomy spanning over 15 years as a preferred waste partner
Annual landfill diversion in 2021
61,843 tonnes of waste managed by Reconomy on behalf of Barratt Homes in 2021
Barratt Homes is an award-winning homebuilder, with an established reputation for creating homes of outstanding quality in locations across the UK. As the company’s preferred supplier of waste services for over 10 years, Reconomy continues to enjoy a successful working relationship with Barratt Homes to this day. Key to Reconomy retaining its status as Barratt Homes’ preferred waste partner has been its ability to add value over many years as the relationship between the two companies has evolved. For more than a decade, Reconomy has helped to transform Barratt Homes’ approach to waste, advancing the company’s waste management practices from basic protocols through to advanced, long-term waste minimisation techniques.
The group wide agreement between Barratt Homes and Reconomy formally began in 2006, encompassing over 420 housebuilding sites nationwide. Prior to the partnership, only minimal waste segregation was taking place on most Barratt Homes sites. A care-free attitude towards waste had therefore become commonplace among many trades, with any materials deemed as surplus to requirements simply loaded into mixed waste skips.
At that time, mixed waste skips were accounting for approximately 30% of all those used by Barratt Homes – equivalent to 1,000 per month. This approach was limiting opportunities for recycling and reuse, increasing overall disposal costs. To begin changing attitudes, in 2007 Reconomy implemented a step-by-step approach to waste management to underline the benefits of a proactive approach. The first step in this process was agreeing a formal, group-wide waste policy to introduce a basic-level of waste segregation for core materials such as timber and plasterboard. This immediately began reducing waste costs and also started acclimatising site personnel to the processes involved in separating waste.
To make it easier to manage segregation, another key aspect of the group-wide policy was the introduction of Reconomy’s standardised blueprint for site waste compound areas. Instead of skips being sporadically placed, a central location was identified on each site from which all waste could be managed. As part of this, all skips and containers for core waste streams were clearly labelled to reduce cross-contamination. The segregation of waste at source was also encouraged to avoid it requiring separation upon arrival at the compound. To further increase recycling, inert materials such as brick and block were also stockpiled for reuse instead of being disposed of in skips.
Site Liaison Officers
Also in 2007, Reconomy began the regular deployment of its Site Liaison Officers (SLOs) to Barratt Homes sites nationwide to help police each compound area. During each visit, the SLO would also carry out toolbox talks to trades to help educate them on the importance of waste segregation and flag any poor practices. Reconomy’s SLOs were also tasked with identifying any site-level waste minimisation quick wins. This helped to stop the misuse of Barratt Homes’ skips after it was identified that some trades and third-party contractors were putting their waste in on-site skips rather than removing it themselves, as per their contracts.
Within 12 months of the introduction of waste compounds and SLO visits, as much as 95% of all on-site waste was being correctly segregated. This reduced the number of mixed waste skips used across the Barratt Homes Group to less than 50 per month, representing a significant financial saving.
Once core waste streams were being correctly segregated, Reconomy switched its attention to more proactive areas of waste minimisation. In late 2007 Reconomy commenced deployment of a standardised hazardous waste station across all Barratt Homes sites. This allowed for the safe and compliant disposal of all hazardous materials such as paint tins, mastic tubes and aerosols. It also helped improve recycling and reuse rates for other waste streams by minimising the risk of cross-contamination, as any materials contaminated by hazardous waste must also be treated as such.
For tight inner-city sites where a lack of space prevented the establishing of a full segregation compound, Reconomy sought to introduce alternative waste management methods that would still ensure each site’s segregation levels were consistent with the rest of the Barratt Homes Group. These services included ‘wait and load’ collections, which involved skips being delivered to site, immediately filled with stockpiled waste and removed again. Site Liaison Officers also encouraged the use of one tonne dumpy bags to allow for segregated waste to be more easily moved around sites with space restrictions.
The Reconomy Portal has been another key component in Reconomy’s waste management offering to Barratt Homes. In 2011 access to the portal was made available to every Barratt Homes site manager giving them visibility of all their waste data, including segregation levels, landfill diversion and tonnages.
This data was also made available at regional and group-level, meaning that sites falling short of group-wide targets could be identified. These were then prioritised for visits by Reconomy’s SLOs so that any shortcomings could be quickly corrected.
Going it Alone
Though a clear majority of Barratt Homes sites have always welcomed Reconomy’s methodologies for minimising waste costs, a few have sought to buck the trend by going it alone and pursuing alternative money saving opportunities. In March 2015, several of Barratt Homes’ Scotland divisions took it upon themselves to source alternative services providers who were advertising cheaper up-front rates for skip and container hire.
Though they achieved a short-term financial saving, over longer periods their waste costs were considerably higher than other divisions. This was primarily because little care was being given to the correct loading of each skip. Consequently, they were leaving site under-utilised which increased the regularity of required exchanges. By April 2016 each of these divisions had returned to Reconomy and these examples of bad practice have subsequently been used to underline the benefits of Reconomy’s service offering to the wider Barratt Homes Group. This has helped to increase buy-in and support at group-level for Reconomy’s strategic approach to waste management.
Also in 2015, Reconomy developed Sustain-a-bale; a compacting system exclusively designed for construction site usage with the potential to significantly reduce light mixed waste (LMW) disposal costs. Aware of its potential, Barratt Homes played a critical role in helping Reconomy bring Sustain-a-bale to market. Barratt Homes committed to two separate six-site trials of Sustain-a-bale to establish a series of best practice protocols for the product’s use, which could then be rolled-out nationwide. Over the course of the trials, volumes of LMW across the six sites were reduced by up to 80%, contributing to a 75% reduction in vehicle movements.
When Sustain-a-bale was formally launched to the housebuilding sector in August 2015, Barratt Homes committed to an extensive rollout. During 2016 Sustain-a-bale was introduced to 25 Barratt Homes sites, in some cases reducing LMW costs by as much as £3,000 per month. Sustain-a-bale has proven itself to be particularly beneficial on tight inner-city sites where regular skip exchanges present a logistical challenge.
Improving environmental outcomes
Over the last three years, landfill diversion for Barratt has been at a consistently high level and increased to 97.9% in 2021.