Solutions for operating a sustainable construction site

Making sustainability count – how a number of small changes can add up to net zero:

Sometimes it’s the small things that make a big difference, particularly when it comes to sustainability. The small changes you make within a large construction project can add up…to net zero.

From off-site manufacturing methods to waste segregation, the methods a contractor can employ to hit sustainability targets are many and varied. One we’re deploying is electric equipment and machinery.

Our use of electric plant for steel erection offers a pollution-free solution for projects. The mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) – Genie all-electric cherry pickers – are emission-free and quiet, making them ideal for projects close to residential or rural settings. It is a technique we introduced as an initiative thanks to an idea from one of our trusted subcontractor partners, Braddan Structures Ltd.

Using this electric plant at the construction site of a school in Cumbria means disruption is kept to a minimum. Main contractor Wates Construction is carefully phasing work at The Whitehaven Academy’s campus so we are happy to complement this by using sustainable methods during the steel erection. The development’s proximity to the existing school site means the plant’s quietness and zero-emissions do not disturb children’s learning.

This project also incorporates a number of off-site construction methods, which also minimise disruption while keeping to a tight project schedule to complete the school by early 2022. The final build will be a bright, three-storey building, enjoying all the benefits of a steel structure with large open sports and performance spaces and natural light flooding in from views over to the Lake District.

We’re pleased to be delivering a sustainable solution that means the school’s location isn’t the only thing that makes the site ‘green’.

 

Collaborative problem-solving

Collaboratively developing solutions in this way is part of the construction sector’s commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. And this example demonstrates how sustainability is everyone’s responsibility.

As above, there are many ways site-specific net zero targets can be achieved:

Thinking beyond just the building being constructed and considering the environmental impact of any on-site offices, for example. Ensuring temporary cabins have good insulation or energy-efficient lighting has the potential to deliver benefits before construction has even begun.

As a development progresses, waste segregation will initially reduce spend on waste management, allowing for recyclable materials to go back into circulation and reducing on costly landfill taxes. And in the long-term, segregation and recording volumes will allow a site to evaluate where it potentially has an excess of materials, to ensure resource efficiency.

As these demonstrate, sustainability comes into play at all stages of a project and affects many areas of construction. Contractors who are conscientious, as well as with expertise and experience, will make achieving targets easier and perhaps even more creative.

Have a read of our other posts on sustainability.

Elland Steel team on site at University of Salford SEE building

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