Morgan Sindall: Newman University, Cofton Hall
Use of mixed construction wheelie bins achieved a 44% saving, compared with removal via traditional builders' skips
Through the careful segregation of core waste streams, 100% landfill diversion was achieved on the project
Waste costs reduced by 21% as a result of correct waste segregation, maximising recycling opportunities
With over 3,000 full and part-time students, Newman University offers degree courses in subjects ranging from teacher training and sports science through to the liberal arts. Founded in 1968, the University’s campus is situated in the suburb of Bartley Green on the outskirts of Birmingham. To accommodate a steady increase in course applicants in recent years, as well as meet demands for more on-campus student living, plans were approved for the construction of Cofton Hall – a new 5-storey student housing development.
Delivering 108 self-contained rooms, communal kitchen / living areas, and additional teaching spaces, the project was awarded to leading construction and regeneration company, Morgan Sindall. At the same time as overseeing construction of Cofton Hall, Morgan Sindall was also tasked with the construction of a new 2-storey teaching-wing, requiring the partial demolition and extension of an existing campus building.
As the project’s appointed waste management partner, Reconomy was brought onboard to influence wasterelated decision-making from the outset. Before any construction work began, a comprehensive Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) was agreed between Morgan Sindall and Reconomy to minimise wastage and keep costs down.
Based on the type of work being carried out, the SWMP identified 3 core waste streams that would require careful management throughout the construction process: inert waste, light mixed waste and plasterboard. Due to the demolition work required on the teaching-wing redevelopment, it was imperative that all inert waste (including brick and block) be correctly segregated and not mixed with general waste, as this would have significantly increased disposal costs. Additionally, due to the extensive process of fitting out Cofton Hall’s 108 bedrooms and communal areas, significant volumes of plasterboard and light mixed waste (including cardboard and packaging) were also expected, requiring careful segregation.
Segregating at height
The segregation of waste during the construction of Cofton Hall presented a logistical challenge due to a lack of ground-level storage space. This meant that only a small waste compound could be established at the site, making it difficult for waste to be efficiently managed. To overcome this, the decision was taken to collect light mixed waste, plasterboard and timber in 35 wheelie bins, spread across each of Cofton Hall’s 5-storeys. Once full, each wheelie bin was hoisted down to ground-level. Instead of then transferring the waste into skips, it remained stored in the wheelie bins until collection. This made the limited ground-level space easier to manage by keeping all collected waste in a moveable state, which would have been impossible to do had skips been used. It also proved to be an invaluable time saver, allowing the resources required to transfer waste into skips to be utilised elsewhere.
To ensure a best practice approach to waste segregation was maintained throughout the project, Reconomy’s team of Contract Managers carried out regular site visits to identify any waste minimisation quick wins. Toolbox talks were also offered to all site personnel to reinforce the importance of correct waste segregation practices. The Site Manager was also provided with access to the Reconomy Portal, giving full visibility and transparency of the project’s waste data, including tonnages and monthly spend.
Construction of Cofton Hall and the 2-storey teaching-wing extension were both completed on schedule. A total of 260 tonnes of waste were generated during the construction process, including 102 tonnes of light mixed waste and 74 tonnes of inert waste. The project proudly achieved a 44% saving on its projected waste costs by utilising wheelie bins for its light mixed construction waste instead of disposal via traditional builders skips. By also segregating other core waste streams, including the segregation of inert waste at source as opposed to disposal with mixed construction waste, costs were reduced by 21%. In total, the project diverted 100% of its waste away from landfill and saved over £5,800 by taking advantage of cheaper disposal costs for pre-segregated waste.