The generation of building-site waste
To collect and recycle building-site waste as efficiently as possible, it is necessary to be familiar with the major principles that govern how work undertaken by professionals in the sector is organised. So it is worth looking more closely at the stages in the different types of construction site, the way in which they are operated and, in parallel, the management of construction-site waste.
Construction and reconstruction sites
1/ Structural works
After the nature of the work and the site's general organisation have been defined during the commercial and preparatory phases, the professionals in charge of the project start with the various civil engineering works before anything else. This means preparing the site in accordance with the construction plan, by preparing the ground for the future building's foundations (digging out, levelling, possibly water drainage, spoil removal, etc.). The main construction itself starts once these various operations have been completed and this is the moment when the main skeleton of the building is erected. Then come the various tasks involved in laying the foundations (the steel and reinforced concrete structures that the building will rest on), blockwork (construction of the external load-bearing walls, construction of floors and pouring the main concrete apron and the structure (floors and roof reinforcement). In short, all the work done to erect the structure, still rough and incomplete, but so necessary.
Different types of inert waste, i.e. non-combustible materials, not presenting any hazard to man or the environment, are produced during these operations; clean or mixed rubble, comprising the spoil from ground-works, concrete, bricks, wood and miscellaneous metals. These make up approximately 70% of the waste from the building sector. The management of this construction-site waste may be taken on by a construction-site waste recycling specialist, such as Paprec, offering its customer a comprehensive service comprising provision of skips (or big bags for rubble), waste collection, rubble removal rubble, construction-site waste treatment on its specialist sorting lines in accordance with regulations on construction and public works waste, and reporting on all these operations. The number of rubble skips on a site varies with the space available and some construction and public works companies take responsibility for pre-sorting site rubble, for both ecological and economic reasons.
We should also note that, on a renovation (or reconstruction) site, structural work is preceded by a demolition stage, which also produces inert construction-site waste (and routine industrial waste), but older and often mixed. During these operations, waste sorting can prove to be quite a delicate operation, if not completely impractical.
2/ Second fix and finishings
These two major phases in the construction of a building consist of the various types of covering and interior fitting work. This involves fitting the various insulation materials, ceilings and suspended ceilings, installing doors and windows, protecting the building against the weather by roofing it (once protected from the elements, it is said to be “weather-tight”), plastering and installing the electric wiring and fittings and the water supply and evacuation systems. Then come the finishing stages (or architectural work) during which floor coverings and external cladding are fitted, painting is done, plumbing and heating systems are installed, locks are fitted and the site is cleaned. In short, the final elements prior to the building being handed over.
These phases generate new types of construction-site waste, known as routine industrial waste. This consists of materials that are non-hazardous but may be combustible or subject to a range of chemical reactions while in storage (plaster and its derivatives, plastics, untreated wood, packaging films, pallets, cartons and drums) . These, too, are stored in movable skips then, after extraction of any rubble, transported to a waste recovery factory. Hazardous materials (a very low percentage of all the construction-site waste produced), must be stored in sealed containers and collected by specialist companies in accordance with the regulations applying to the management of public works and construction waste. These are mainly oils, glues and solvents.
The demolition of a building breaks down into several stages, always carried out in exactly the same order: suspension of utilities, securing the perimeter around the building, complete cleaning and sanitising of the building, then demolition using specialist plant.
A first level of construction and public works waste (coverings, plaster, joinery, bulky items, etc.) is produced, stored in skips and collected during clearance operations with a second stage occurring when the building is actually demolished. Heavy waste from these operations is then stored in skips, until specialist companies such as Paprec remove the rubble and building site waste and sort it.
Discover the different steps of the recycling of construction waste :
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