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Material Efficiency

Optimising performance with low waste design solutions in concrete

Material efciency

Why reduce manufacturing and construction waste? Concrete industry waste initiatives The components of concrete Low waste production and use of concrete Efciency through building design and optimising material potential Saving waste on site Optimising at end of life: deconstruction, re-use and recycling References and online resources 3 4 5 8 11 15 17 19

Denition and Scope

A signicant proportion of the environmental impact of construction arises from the use of resources principally energy, water and materials. Using materials more efciently (called materials resource efciency) is a highly effective sustainability strategy and involves a balanced approach, ensuring that at each stage in construction (which includes demolition), materials are used in an efcient manner [1]. Minimising the production of waste is an important factor in material resource efciency. The concrete industry is a net user of waste, thereby diverting signicant amounts of waste from potential land ll and reducing depletion of natural resources.

About this publication

Concrete is a low waste solution for the construction industry and by optimising its performance characteristics, such as sound, re and robustness, can be used to improve the overall material efciency of a building and lower its associated waste production. This document describes the material resources and waste issues of using concrete at different stages of its manufacture, design and construction. It provides guidance to designers and speciers on optimising performance and further associated benets, including projects successfully using fair-faced concrete solutions.

Benets of internal fair-faced concrete: Avoids additional nishing materials and associated cost, waste and programme time Visually attractive Variety of available nishes, textures and colours possible Optimises thermal mass effect Cost effective Durable Minimal long term maintenance requirements Non ammable with no spread of ame Inert material, so no off-gassing Resistant to mould and insects Water resistant Potential canvas for future nishes if desired Optimum material efciency: Structural material can provide the final finish Structural material often exceeds minimum re resistance requirements and potentially sound insulation.
Designing low waste buildings requires a holistic approach, through consideration of waste and material resource at each stage. Designing the fabric of the building itself to be as versatile as possible can reduce the use of materials by making the structure work harder. For example, choosing fewer materials for walls and selecting materials that can meet the designers aspirations for both visual appearance and performance requirements, such as structure, re and sound insulation. More Concrete = Less Waste. The concrete industry is a net user of waste Less is more. Exposed softs and fair-faced concrete reduces the need for expensive (and non recyclable) nishes, whilst optimising the thermal mass and visual benets of exposed concrete surfaces Concrete is 100 per cent recyclable Concrete is manufactured using efcient low waste processes Design strategies can maximise the benets of pared-down construction, making best use of concrete performance Concrete facilitates waste avoidance and minimisation Concrete mixes contain recycled materials diverted from the wastestream of other industries Long life and robustness facilitate the re-use of existing concrete structures, therefore reducing future demolition waste

Material efciency

Why reduce manufacturing and construction waste?

The waste associated with the construction industry as a whole has been identied as over a third of all waste generated in the UK. The Governments current target to reduce waste to landll includes a reduction of construction, demolition and excavation (CDE) waste volumes by 50 per cent by 2012, and to zero by 2020.
Reduction in waste and improved resource efciency is an important part of sustainable construction. For example: Energy use and CO2 emissions can be reduced by optimising resources and reducing the amount of transportation and processing of waste materials Decomposition of organic matter in landll produces methane gas which, according to the International Panel on climate change, is about 21 times more damaging than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) is a major Government programme established to accelerate resource efciency by tackling the barriers to waste minimisation and increase recycling. They have produced a number of useful guides and tools specically aimed at reducing waste arising from the construction industry. For further information visit www.wrap.org.uk.
Figure 2: WRAP guidance on Material Resource Efciency as part of sustainable construction [1]

Apart from the energy and CO2 considerations of sustainable construction, the UK is running out of space to store and dispose of waste. This is a challenge not only for Government, but also for the construction industry, who are likely to nd the availability of waste disposal routes decreasing and costs increasing.
Figure 1: Estimated total annual waste arising by sector.

Sustainability Goals




<1% Agriculture (inc. fishing) Mining and quarrying Sewage sludge Dredged materials Household Commercial Industrial Construction and demolition 13% 9% <1% 5% 32% 29% Efcient use of nite natural materials

Material Selection

Waste Management

Using local construction and demolition waste

Waste avoidance and minimisation

Using products with high recycled content

Returning surplus material

12% Total = 335 million tonnes Source: Defra, ODPM, Environment Agency, Water UK

At the time of writing, Site Waste Management Plans (SWMP) are required for all projects in excess of 300,000 with increased requirements for those in excess of 500,000. The SWMP provides a mechanism to plan, monitor and review the levels of waste generated on a site. They are also a mandatory element of BREEAM and the Code for Sustainable Homes for developments with construction costs of 300,000 or more. Credits are available for incremental improvements in line with best practice. Additional guidance can be found in the saving waste on site section of this document.

Minimising environmental damage

Use renewable materials from sustainable sources

Segregation and recycling

Specify materials with low environmental impact

Material efciency

Concrete industry waste initiatives

The vision is that by 2012 the UK concrete industry will be recognised as the leader in sustainable construction, by taking a dynamic role in delivering a sustainable built environment in a manner that is protable, socially responsible and functions within environmental limits.
The UK Concrete Industry Strategy for Sustainable Construction, published in June 2008, is an industry initiative aligned with the UK Government Sustainable Construction Strategy, to report, monitor and set targets for environmental performance indicators related to the production of concrete. The rst Concrete Industry Sustainability Performance Report [4], published in March 2009, brought together data from all parts of the industry and set out current activity and future actions against key sustainability indicators. Key targets for performance by 2012 in each sector have subsequently been set, including those for waste minimisation and material efciency. The concrete industry uses and recycles more waste than it produces and is therefore a net user of waste. It is committed to increasing the use of by-products and secondary materials from other industries in the production of cement and concrete and to reducing the waste produced in the manufacturing process. For further details refer to The Concrete Industry Sustainability Performance Report: 2nd Report: 2008 performance data and release of 2012 targets [5]. The UK cement sector actively seeks waste derived materials as replacement for natural raw materials and fossil fuels. In this way the industry is a major contributor to helping UK government meet its recycling targets. In 2008 the percentage of fuel comprising waste material used in the cement industry was 26.5 per cent, representing a ve fold increase from 1998 and exceeding targets set with government [2].

The concrete industry uses over 18 times more waste, by-products and secondary materials from other industries than the waste it sends to landll.

An example of alternative fuel: pelletised sewage sludge. Courtesy of Lafarge

There is research that indicates that there is actually very little hard demolition and construction waste sent to landll [5].

The concrete industry uses 5.01 million tonnes of by-products and secondary materials diverted from the waste-stream and produces 0.28 million tonnes of waste [5].

Material efciency

The components of concrete

Concrete uses materials from sustainable sources Concrete is an inert material created from natural minerals found locally in the UK. The relative proportions of cement, sand, larger aggregates, water and other materials vary, depending on individual product and specication requirements. Aggregates typically are the largest proportion, often comprising 80 per cent of concrete by weight. Further information on the sustainability credentials of concretes constituent materials is available in Concrete Credentials: Sustainability [8], published by The Concrete Centre.

Recycled and secondary aggregates in concrete

In addition to an abundance of local naturally occurring aggregates, recycled and secondary aggregates can be used in the production of concrete. The viability and practicality of their use will depend upon geographical location, but also the performance requirements. BS 8500 sets out allowable percentages of recycled aggregate for different concrete mixes and their use is summarised in The Concrete Centre publication Concrete Structures 7 [7]. In general, it is permissible to use high levels of RA and RCA in lower strength concrete. This tends to be mass concrete (i.e. not reinforced) used for trench ll, footings etc. Other alternative aggregates are available for use as part of the concrete specication, include stent and lightweight aggregates made from y ash. These are classed as secondary aggregates, or by-products of other processes. Concrete itself can also be re-used as recycled aggregate in concrete. High recycled content can affect the concrete properties and material behaviour and should be appropriate for its specication.

Aggregates are plentiful in the UK. Friends of the Earth estimated that minerals such as aggregates would last hundreds of thousands of years at current rates of extraction in the UK . [3]

One Coleman Street used precast concrete cladding and stent as a secondary aggregate.

Denitions of recycled aggregates: Recycled Aggregates (RA) aggregate resulting from the reprocessing of inorganic material previously used in construction e.g. brick, mortar, roof tiles Recycled Concrete Aggregates (RCA) recycled aggregate principally comprising crushed concrete Secondary Aggregates aggregates made from by-products from other processes

One Coleman Street, London Recycled concrete content credentials: 100 per cent secondary aggregate (stent) resulting in a reduction of 6,000 tonnes of tipped china clay waste and 6,000 fewer tonnes of virgin aggregates. 100 per cent recycled reinforcement up to 40 per cent y ash used as additional cementitious material

Stent is a by-product of the china clay industry principally located in Cornwall in the UK. It is the waste granite rock material that has been separated from kaolin (china clay) by high-pressure water jets and is usually tipped to form surface spoil heaps. It has had a long history of use in concrete in Cornwall and Devon and more recently has been used as recycled content in concrete for various high prole projects including the London Olympic Park, One Coleman Street office development and One Brighton residential development.

Material efciency

The current BRE Green Guide and other environmental prole methodologies reward the increased proportion of recycled aggregates in construction projects. It is worth noting that when available close to site, recycled aggregates can improve the sustainability of concrete. However, the increased CO2 generated by transporting recycled aggregates over longer distances by road, can result in a less sustainable solution than the use of locally available primary aggregates. The use of recycled aggregates is only a lower carbon option when used within 10 miles (15km) of their source. Detailed gures are provided in The Concrete Centre publication Concrete and the Green Guide [6]. Approximately 25 per cent of all aggregates used in Great Britain are either recycled or secondary aggregates. This is the highest for all countries in Europe [14]. In 2008 the amount of recycled and secondary aggregate used in the UK concrete industry was over 2 million tonnes, with the majority being used by the precast concrete sector [5]. The question of whether the diversion of larger volumes of recycled and secondary aggregates would produce a more sustainable result nationwide, taking into account transport, production and mix design is difcult to answer in simple terms. The feasibility and impact of their use needs to be assessed for individual contracts and will depend largely on scale and location. Nearly 100 per cent of hard demolition waste is already used in the UK and until demolition rates increase, this means that specication of recycled aggregates may not reduce virgin aggregate extraction, but simply change the location in which recycled aggregates are used. Truly sustainable construction solutions include the appropriate concrete design mix, balancing cost, environment, social and life cycle requirements.

The use of recycled aggregates is only a lower carbon option when used within 10 miles (15km) of their source.

Exposed concrete was used in the award winning Ideas Store, utilising the benefits of thermal mass. Architects: Adjaye Associates, Engineers: Arup

Material efciency

Cementitious Materials
Waste products used as cementitious content Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (GGBS) is produced from waste material from iron production and Fly Ash (FA) is waste material from electricity generation, sourced from coal red power stations. Both have been used with Portland cement in concrete, for many years. The percentage of allowable replacements in particular concrete mixes is defined by BS 8500-1:2006 but can be summarised as between the ranges of 6 - 55 per cent for fly ash and 6 - 80 per cent for GGBS, depending on the intended application. The reported percentage of additional cementitious material used in the UK is over 30 per cent [5]. In addition to diverting materials from the waste-stream and from landfill, the benefits of using fly ash and GGBS include reducing the embodied CO2 of a concrete mix, improved durability and a change in the inherent pigmentation of the nal concrete colour. Portland cement remains an essential component of concrete, and high replacement rates can alter its properties, such as early strength gain and therefore striking times for formwork. Further technical guidance of their use can be found in How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2, by The Concrete Centre.

Waste materials in cement production Waste derived materials are actively sought by the UK cement industry as replacements for natural raw materials and fossil fuels. The industry now productively uses over 1.4 million tonnes of waste in this way. Every cement plant in the UK is replacing a proportion of fossil fuels by safely burning alternatives such as solvents, tyres, meat and bone meal, sewage sludge, paper and plastics. The industry now replaces 26.5 per cent of virgin fossil fuels by waste derived materials and has a target of 50 per cent replacement by the year 2020. As a result, CO2 emissions from cement production have been reduced by nearly 40 per cent in the past 20 years [2].

17.3 per cent of the energy used by the concrete industry comes from the use of materials diverted from the waste-stream as a fuel source [5]

Hearth House. Fly ash was used to create a smokey grey colour to the central staircase feature and recycled parquet flooring was used as formwork.

Material efciency

Low waste production and use of concrete

Precast concrete: O ff-site solutions The use of precast concrete off-site solutions has the potential to signicantly reduce on-site waste and the manufacturing process produces on average, less than 1 per cent waste to landll [9]. Most building elements can be manufactured in concrete off site in factory conditions. These range from whole building structural systems such as crosswall construction, through to individual precast building elements such as columns, oor units or wall cladding. The waste associated with each precast product varies according to its size, nature of delivery and place of manufacture but in general off-site solutions offer a very low waste construction option. Many factories operate a close-loop system, generating very little, if any, waste at the point of manufacture. Additional benets of precast concrete off-site solutions with respect to waste include: Just in time delivery with installation direct from the delivery vehicle. This minimises wastage due to the lack of temporary works and pallets/protection etc. for site storage required Avoids waste resulting from damage during site storage and double handling Products are made to order, omitting wastage through adaptation to t Panels can be simply removed as part of demolition or for alterations High quality finishes are possible avoiding the need for additional nishing materials Multiple re-use of factory based formwork systems Blockwork The waste associated with the manufacture of concrete blocks is typically very low and they share many of the benets listed for off-site concrete solutions. Blocks are essentially pre-manufactured concrete of standard sizes with varying densities and, as for other precast units, some factories are reporting almost zero waste due to the closed loop nature of the manufacturing process. Highly repetitive, durable moulds result in very little waste. The recycling of waste materials within the manufacturing process makes good economic sense and is simply achieved due to the nature of the material. As well as recycling concrete as part of the manufacturing process, many concrete blocks contain high levels of other recycled materials, up to 90 per cent in some cases, including furnace bottom ash aggregates, industrial slags and returned concrete products. One third of blockwork in the UK is in the form of aircrete, a major use of y ash from power station waste-streams. Concrete blocks remain by far the preferred method of construction for the structure of homes in the UK. The familiarity with the material on site, its abundance and high value and also a simple, safe recycling process, has traditionally lowered the perceived priority of improving the waste management of blockwork construction. With the increased focus on waste reduction in general, improvements have been made in the industry to limit waste arising from blockwork on site and the standard practice wastage rate can be signicantly improved through very simple procedures. Take back schemes exist for unused or damaged blocks and these can be utilised to meet on site waste targets and reduce landll charges. Simple and cost effective, they encourage the recycling of block waste and offer a full audit trail for Site Waste Management Plans. As an inert waste product, rejected or damaged blockwork has many uses on site, such as in hard core or landscaping, so its journey to landll can be eliminated. In 2008 less than 0.5 per cent of concrete used in the precast concrete industry was disposed to landll [9].

Precast concrete sector low waste initiatives include: Use of recycled materials in concrete mix Extended use of returnable cradles and pallets Waste take back schemes Increase level of repair and reclamation of precast elements E-tagging or radio frequency identication devices (RFID) to encourage and facilitate the re-use of precast components.

Oundle School - Architects: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Engineers: Jane Wernick Associates. (c) Tim Soar Photography.

Material efciency

Ready M ixed Concrete Suggestions for improving wastage rates using blockwork: Design to modular sizes to avoid cutting and wastage on site Careful storage and handling to avoid damage in delivery / construction Arrange just-in-time delivery on site Consider thin joint techniques * Utilise take back schemes The wastage rates for cast in situ concrete depend upon the nature of its use and scale of installation but they are generally very low by comparison with other structural materials. The WRAP net waste tool assumes a range of 2-2.5 per cent under good site practice for installation of most types of in-situ foundations, frames and slabs. The relatively small amounts of unused concrete returned to batching plants is rarely wasted. If an alternative use for the returned concrete cannot be found elsewhere it is recovered into other batches and separated aggregates stored for future use. Alternatively wet concrete is allowed to dry and periodically crushed to create recycled concrete aggregate. Waste from production of ready mixed concrete is extremely low with most recent data (2008) being only 2.28kg/tonne or 5.40kg/m3 (0.22 per cent) of waste to landll as a proportion of production output. BRMCA have a target to reduce waste to 50 per cent of 2008 level by 2012 [1]. Formwork and falsework Formwork and falsework is an essential part of all concrete construction as it provides the mould in which concrete is cast either off site or in situ. It is standard practice to re-use form and falsework due its relatively high cost compared to the rest of the manufacturing process. The extent of its re-use will depend upon the type specied and this may of course depend upon the type of nal nish required to the concrete. Metal forms made from recycled steel, for example, are a common means of achieving good quality fair-faced concrete and may be re-used hundreds of times. Many falsework systems are highly efcient and are designed to incorporate health and safety barriers and xing systems, designed for repeated installation and dismantling for use by the specialist installer. They are designed to be used hundreds, if not thousands of times over. All formwork can be recycled. Whilst facing plywood on forms has a nite number of re-uses the formwork panels themselves are returned to suppliers to be repaired and resurfaced for re-use over and over again. The plywood can be recycled. On occasion it may be possible to re-use formwork for an alternative use, such as site hoarding, or plywood formwork cleaned and used as bespoke furniture. At the Millennium Village in Greenwich, London, for example, after many uses the formwork was broken down to use as mulch for the planting areas. Other options include the use of circular column formwork made from recycled cardboard. Waste associated with the manufacture and use of ready mixed concrete is very low. It is a unique material for use on site in that its raw materials can be simply stored at nearby batching plants until required, mixed for specic orders and then delivered directly to site for use. This made to order and just-in-time delivery process is inherently material efcient. Contractors are accustomed to the economic benets of accurate ordering. In the event of over ordering, ready mixed concrete suppliers offer take back schemes to reduce and manage waste on site, though in reality an alternative use on site is often found.

* Thin joint technology is classed as a Modern Method of Construction and is an alternative method of blockwork construction that uses less mortar, and by association, less mortar wastage.

The New Forest House. Formwork was lined with local timber. The formwork was re-used throughout the project and at the end of construction was used to line the garage walls. Courtesy of Perring Architects and Design.

Material efciency

Insulated and permanent concrete formwork systems There are a number of systems available which utilise formwork that is designed to remain on site following placement of the concrete, as part of the nal building design. Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF) is a generic term for systems that create concrete formwork using blocks or panels of expanded or extruded polystyrene. The formwork therefore remains in place as the insulation of the building. Waste rates are low, especially if the redundant or damaged polystyrene is returned to the factory where it can be 100 per cent recycled. Other permanent formwork systems include twinwall construction where thin precast units form the permanent shuttering, provide a high level of nish and dimensional accuracy. This system combines the benets of off-site solutions and cast in situ concrete. The precast concrete casing typically has good dimensional accuracy and nish, providing the option for minimising additional nishing materials. More information on both systems is available from The Concrete Centre. Visit www.concretecentre.com/publications

Foundations Mass concrete foundations and footings typically have a higher percentage of allowable recycled concrete than other applications. Hard core commonly comprises on-site demolition waste and is an energy efcient use for inert demolition waste since it requires no transportation and saves importing virgin material.

Considerations for further waste minimisation in foundations includes: Single, large diameter piles to support column loads instead of spread foundations, as this minimises spoil Precast sub-structure systems to minimise waste on site Geotextile formwork for in-situ foundations to provide a low waste alternative to shuttering Displacement piles to avoid excavation waste

Board marked concrete, the City and County Museum, Lincoln. Image courtesy of The Concrete Society.


Material efciency

Efficiency through building design and optimising material potential

Concrete is in general an inherently low waste construction solution, but there are still effective ways of further reducing the waste burden of projects through the design process.
Efcient at slab design Ways in which improvements can be made in the use of concrete by designers and contractors: Efcient structural design to avoid over-specication of materials Re-use of existing concrete structure on site as part of new design proposals Specification of low waste concrete products Specification of concrete with recycled content Design of structure and choice of construction to optimise material use and reduce wastage of concrete Use concrete structure to minimise use of nishing materials and therefore reduce waste in general Design structure for longevity and re-use The omission of downstand beams can result in a considerable saving in materials and waste. Bends in services are eliminated, and the installation of walls and partitions require less time, cost and off-cuts to install. The formwork is also simpler, and particularly suited for multiple re-use, and can be designed to bring waste to a bare minimum. A at slab is likely to be thicker than the slab in a beam and slab solution, unless it is post-tensioned. The relative waste and resource implication of each solution will vary according to specic details of project and needs to be evaluated as such.

Efcient design of new concrete structures Efcient structural design can avoid over specication and therefore material wastage. Guidance is available for structural engineers from The Concrete Centre through various publications and training courses for optimising the use of structural concrete. Regular plan forms can often result in more efcient use of materials, particularly in association with good dimensional coordination to avoid off-cuts. These aspects can make signicant savings to waste on large projects with repeated elements. Concrete is a unique building material in that it has the potential to act as support and enclosure for walls, oor and roofs; providing re and acoustic separation and decorative, robust surface nishes. Efcient design will optimise the performance benets of concrete. Examples include perimeter structural walls acting also as the internal facade or structural internal walls providing party wall separation. The Waste Hierarchy [11]: waste reduction; material re-use; recycling and composting; energy recovery; landll. A waste hierarchy is commonly used to illustrate the potential impact designers can have on material efciency and is an expansion of the reduce, reuse, recycle sequence. By reducing the quantity of materials used in the rst instance, material purchasing costs and waste are lowered as are subsequent handling and disposal costs.

Greenfields Community Housing head office. The soffits of the in-situ concrete frame are exposed and feature a circular recess that is accentuated by the pendant lights. Image courtesy of Richards Partington Architects.


Material efciency

Post-tensioned slabs Post-tensioned slabs can provide thinner, at soft slabs than traditionally reinforced slabs and are viable for spans from 7-13 metres. For longer spans, or heavier structural loads, post-tensioned concrete band beams can be used. Band beams are wide, shallow concrete downstand beams that can span up to 18 metres, thus providing a viable alternative to long span steel beams. Since they tend to be simple and repetitive, the formwork is suitable for multiple re-use. Voided slabs Voided slabs incorporate air voids into the thickness of the slab, reducing the weight of the slab, hence are able to provide longer spans for similar amounts of concrete material. For example, precast hollowcore oor slabs can provide a simple efcient ooring system for spans up to 14 metres. Alternatively, permanent void formers are an innovative solution where cast in situ concrete is placed over a matrix of recycled plastic balls. This could increase the overall thickness of the slab, but using signicantly less concrete. Hybrid systems incorporate a deck of precast concrete permanent shuttering to the soft side, further reducing the need for additional formwork. The use of voided oor slabs can reduce the design loads of a buildings and can therefore also save materials, costs and waste associated with foundations.

Using concrete to reduce use of additional nishes and wastage Concrete can be used to provide design solutions to optimise the materials function and reduce the need for other materials on site and therefore reduce waste in general. The use of concrete for oors, walls and or frame can meet the many performance requirements of a room or building enclosure without the need for many other materials to be used. These include acoustic and re separation, structural support, air tightness and thermal mass as well as a durable, attractive nish. Fewer materials and construction phases reduce the amount of waste produced and facilitate recycling by simplifying the process of segregating waste. Significant cost savings are possible through reduction in installation costs and construction programme by optimising the structure as a nish. The thermal mass benets associated with heavyweight concrete walls and oors are maximised by omitting subsequent wall nishes. Exposed concrete is very durable. Potentially less maintenance is required than for other wearing nishes. A wide variety of colours, textures and forms are possible either as standard products or bespoke requirements. Concrete is a robust material and is unique in that it is appropriate for long term use internally, externally, below ground, on roofs and in water.

Factors to take into account when using voided or post-tensioned slabs for waste minimisation: Any reduction in slab thickness will reduce the acoustic properties of the oor, which may then require a suspended ceiling to compensate, particularly in residential properties There may be a cost premium but this is offset by savings elsewhere i.e. programme, materials, labour Consider exposing softs to reduce the need for nishing materials and optimise thermal mass benets The use of slabs will almost certainly speed up the construction programme but sequencing needs to be taken into account. Post-tensioned slabs can save time on site due to the reduction in reinforcement required Specific training and guidance is often available from the manufacturers of voided precast systems Bonded post-tensioned slabs are easier to demolish at the end of the buildings life due to the reduction in embedded reinforcement. Unbonded PT slabs require specic sequencing for demolition

Floor nishes, in particular carpets, are a major contributor to landll waste due to their manufacture, but principally through the frequency of their replacement over the life of the building. They can also have a very high embodied CO2 content. The specication of exposed concrete oors can therefore make a signicant impact on waste reduction of a project. Exposed concrete oors provide an attractive hard wearing oor nishes that is particularly cost effective over large areas. Exposed concrete softs are an excellent means of distributing comfort benets of thermal mass across spaces, particularly deep plan areas. They are therefore frequently an essential part of a low energy strategy, which has resultant waste advantages through the reduction of the mechanical and electrical installations.


Material efciency

Design considerations for exposed concrete walls, structure, soffits and floors
Solid concrete walls, either cast in situ, blockwork or other precast units, can provide structural support, re and sound separation with out the need for additional nishes, signicantly reducing waste levels on site. Exposing the surface of concrete will optimise the thermal mass benets, which can be used to control daytime peak temperatures and therefore reduce or minimise the need for external ventilation and air-conditioning. It also has the potential to reduce space heating requirements by acting as a fabric energy store.

Design coordination
The strategy for distribution of services and subsequent setting out requires consideration at early stages of design in order to minimise or avoid the amount of surface mounted conduit. The robust self nish enables services to be installed before the building is completely water-tight, with consequential programming benets. Under oor heating works very effectively without carpet or timber oor nishes. While it is possible to integrate heating pipes into a structural slab it is commonly installed, to good effect, within a screed nish; which can of course be self nishing. Setting out of precast components and formwork should be considered by designers at pre-tender stage and then reviewed and agreed with specialist contractors before construction or manufacture. Concrete walls provide strong support for any future xings or wall mounted furniture. Consideration should be given to providing pin boards or permanent battens in order to accommodate fixtures. Holes in fair-faced concrete can be more difcult to conceal. Sound reverberation will increase in rooms with hard nishes and can be controlled to suit the specic internal environment using soft furnishings, and hanging or wall mounted acoustic panels. Separating floors between dwellings with require a resilient layer below the screed to reduce impact sound if exposed oors are proposed.

Exposed concrete is often more durable than potential nishing materials and requires little long term maintenance saving future waste production. Paint or thin render are alternative low waste nishing options for concrete if a different aesthetic is required. There is some ongoing maintenance as a result of adding these nishes. A range of colours and self nishes are possible and should be considered at the early stages of design to ensure correct specication and programming on site. These can be proprietary or bespoke. Finishing textures include polished, honed, grit blast, acid etched and inlaid. More uniform oor nishes can be provided by using dryshake pigments during the curing process, combining pigment into the upper few millimetres of the concrete or screed. Decorative nishes can be installed at a later date if requirements change.

Quality control
Correct specication, quality control and appropriate protection on site are essential to minimise variations in concrete appearance. Repairs or adaptations to large monolithic areas are sometimes difcult to conceal. Design the layout of expansion joints to avoid cracks from shrinkage and to facilitate pouring schedule on site.


Material efciency

Speculative ofce t-outs: Exposed concrete nishes to minimise waste

Significant waste and expenditure is incurred through stripping out existing nishes in new ofce t-outs, in order to meet the specic requirements of new tenants, which can be avoided by the use of fair-faced nishes. Over and above the previously noted advantages of exposed concrete, it is common to provide a developers nish in the construction of new ofces. This includes all nishes, suspended ceilings, raised oors, carpets and the extension of mechanical and electrical services into the ofce area. The level of provision varies slightly from developer to developer. With the provision of a more stripped back or lean nish, or shell and core development, the rst t-out of the development can be tailored to meet the new occupants requirements. The use of concrete structure has the advantage of meeting all necessary re and sound requirements of the building regulations without the additional costs, time and waste associated with nishing trades and therefore ideal as a shell core. Flat concrete softs provide robust surfaces for xtures and facilitate simple services installation with the potential to be exposed with all associated long term maintenance benets. The benets of using thermal mass as part of the energy efcient strategy for the heating and cooling of buildings, are well documented e.g. reduction in the installation costs of mechanical and electrical (M&E) installations and running costs together with associated reduction of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the building. The use of fair-faced or visual concrete can therefore be incorporated into the whole building low energy strategy saving additional waste from reduction in service installations. In summary, potential waste benets of using a concrete structure for speculative ofce space include: Saving waste and resource from initial fit-out (materials and trades) Saving waste and resource from second phase of fit-out materials and trades Saving waste from stripped out unwanted fit-out materials and trades on future occupation Saving waste and resource associated with future maintenance Saving waste and resource associated with reduced M&E installation through use of thermal mass for energy efcient strategy.

Van der Meij College precast cladding. Courtesy of Decomo UK Ltd.


Material efciency

Saving waste on site

Low waste construction systems can save cost and time on site.
A principal benet of low or zero waste projects is the reduction in time and cost associated with wasted materials, transport away from site, landll costs etc. Re-using materials on site can save money, but also saves time and money in sourcing alternative products. It is therefore highly benecial to both client and contractor to keep wastage rates low, to re-use materials on site where possible, and to adopt design strategies that minimise waste when the building comes to be refurbished or replaced. Concrete, in its various forms can full these criteria, simplifying the achievement of waste targets and the resulting cost and programme benets. Site Waste Management Plans The Site Waste Management Plans (SWMP) regulations set out two levels of SWMP to be produced before work commences on site. Basic - for projects with estimated project costs of between 300,000 and 500,000. Detailed - for projects with estimated project costs greater than 500,000. The SWMP provide a mechanism to plan, monitor and review the levels of waste generated on a site. Both levels require a waste champion to be identied and estimation of the predicted volume of each waste type. The detailed plan also requires records of the types and quantities of waste generated. Through the SWMP, designers and contractors are able to demonstrate ways in which waste has been avoided or minimised through design or procurement decisions and site practice. Improvements over standard practice are designated as either good or best practice. The framework supports the dialogue between designers and contractors to ensure targets of waste minimisation are achievable. Predetermined estimates of associated waste generation and recovery rates are listed by WRAPs Net Waste Tool [10] and the BREs SMARTWaste plan [12] . The recovery rate of waste concrete, as stated by WRAP, for good practice on-site processes is 95 per cent and for best practice onsite processes is 100 per cent [11]. Both are relatively simple to achieve as this document illustrates. For further information on SWMP see the NetRegs guidance, Site Waste Its Criminal www.netregs-swmp.co.uk, or for practical guidance on how to complete a Site Waste Management Plan, WRAPs designing out waste guide: www.wrap.org.uk/construction/tools_and_guidance/ designing_out_waste.html. Use of demolition waste on site Samuel Rhodes School, Islington. Concrete from the demolished existing school was crushed on site for use as hard core and construction of the piling mat. Once redundant, the piling mat was broken up and used as an aggregate nish to the roof. Brown roofs encourage local ecological biodiversity. Architects and Engineers: BDP Waste of construction materials on site occurs largely due to: Over ordering Poor design brief resulting in off-cuts from varying sizes of materials and products Changes in the construction programme, e.g. materials delivered too early Changes in design specification leading to rework Storage and movement of materials Site clearance Packaging Inefcient working practices e.g. using incorrect materials (because it is easier to do so) or wasteful cutting of materials

Image courtesy of: Sanna Fisher-Payne, BDP


Material efciency

SWMP and Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) It is mandatory for projects with estimated construction value above 300,000 to have a SWMP under Waste Category 5 of CSH. Up to two credits are awarded, each point awarded for improvements broadly in line with the requirements of a Basic and Detailed SWMP. For more information refer to the latest CSH technical guide [13]. SWMP and BREEAM A key requirement in BREEAM is best practice performance in the planning and commitment to a SWMP. In order to score points under BREEAM the amount of non-hazardous waste predicted in the SWMP has to be demonstrated within the amounts specied below.
Table 1: Amount of waste generated per 100m2 (gross internal oor area)

SWMP and CEEQUAL The SWMP is a critical element in demonstrating the performance requirements to gain points under the waste management section of CEEQUAL. The implementation, monitoring and achievement of targets within a SWMP all gain points under this scheme. The demonstration of waste minimisation requires evidence form the client brieng, design and construction stages of the project, which supports an approach to the management of waste. Similar to BREEAM, points are awarded depending on the reduction of waste to landll that has been achieved and the re-use of demolition waste. In addition CEEQUAL also includes points for the re-use of unused materials delivered to the site. In the materials efciency section of CEEQUAL; the re-use and recycling of the key raw materials is considered, as well as the design attention to deconstruction. Ordering and storage on site Concrete is typically a robust material and therefore less prone to damage from the elements on site than other materials. Careful handling and storage on site can however assist in reducing waste through damage, primarily caused by impact. As with all building materials, this can be further reduced by an organised site layout and just in time deliveries. Cost and programme benets can be achieved through careful calculations and estimations of materials required. The benets of local concrete production and storage are that additional materials can often be obtained quickly, promoting more efcient ordering practice and therefore less waste.

BREEAM credits One credit Two credits Three credits

m3 13.0 - 16.6 9.2 12.9 <9.2

tonnes 6.6 - 8.5 4.7 - 6.5 <4.7

An additional credit is available where at least 75 per cent by weight or 65 per cent by volume of waste has been re-used or recycled. This is also an area where innovation credits can be achieved where 90 per cent by weight or 80 per cent by volume of waste has been demonstrated as re-used or recycled [17]. The use of recycled or secondary aggregates over 25 per cent of the total will gain a credit under BREEAM: the recycled aggregates need to be available on site or within 30km radius. This provides the option to gain credits for waste used on site or exchanged between sites in the same area. There are also BREEAM points for re-use of existing buildings under section MAT 4. One point is awarded for facade retention if it exceeds 50 per cent of the total facade by area and 80 per cent by mass. One point is also awarded for re-using 80 per cent of the primary structure provided it is at least 50 per cent of the volume of the nal primary structure.

Concrete waste is simply segregated and recycled On new build projects it is easy to segregate concrete waste for return or recycling on site as few other materials will be on site at this stage in the programme. With demolition waste, brick and block waste can be stored together. This combination is useful for hard core and use as general ll, highway sub-base or landscaping. Separated concrete waste is a higher grade product which can be crushed for use as recycled concrete aggregate in the production of new concrete.

Concrete is dened as inert waste which means it does not harm or cause adverse affects to the environment if disposed of and does not decompose when buried.


Material efciency

Optimisation at end of life: deconstruction, re-use and recycling

There is research that indicates that very little hard demolition and construction waste is sent to landll [15]. Most concrete waste is generated from the demolition of exiting buildings. This is almost always due to the structure itself becoming redundant and not that the concrete has come to the end of its life. Re-use Re-using an existing structure is often the optimum sustainable solution for a redundant building or structure since relatively little energy is required in the process, either for transportation or adaptation of form, and little waste produced. Concrete structures are durable and robust and frequently able to be adapted for re-use. This extention of the life of a building is a highly effective measure to reduce waste and resource depletion with many other added potential benets including, cost effectiveness, site pollution and respect for historical context. This potential extension to the life of a building highlights the benets of designing in concrete when new build is the only option, reinforcing the long term benets and halving the carbon footprint after each re-use. The concept of fully remountable and reusable concrete structures is also being developed, facilitated by effective tracking and documentation of the life cycles of a precast concrete unit through, for example, E-tagging or similar technologies. Some concrete elements, such as panels, pipes and units can also be re-used in their original form on other sites. 55 Baker Street, London The 55 Baker Street project was the extensive re-invention of a 1950s concrete framed building, re-inventing the large site into a new ofce, retail and residential centre. Instead of demolishing the existing structure, it was stripped back to its original concrete frame and a simple yet innovative interior design solution ensured massive reductions in demolition waste, tonnes of construction material savings and reducing the time required to complete the overall construction programme. Engineers: Expedition Engineering, Architects: Make.

90% of concrete products are estimated to be reused or recycled. [16]

Courtesy of photographer Zander Olsen, Make.

From Ashburton Court to Elizabeth II Court Ashburton Court, one of Hampshire County Councils office buildings, is a project where the re-use of concrete has signicantly assisted in meeting the designers challenge to address the sustainability of the structure, whilst maintaining its required functionality. The existing concrete frame was retained, signicantly reducing the demolition waste of the project, whilst the concrete cladding that was removed was re-used as aggregate in other materials. The concrete frames thermal mass capability has also been utilised, improving the energy efciency of the entire structure. Architects: Bennetts Associates, Engineers: Gifford


Material efciency

Demolition and recycling Concrete as a material is 100 per cent recyclable. The rubble from a demolished structure can be relatively simply segregated and crushed for re-use. The feasibility of whether this takes place on or off site will depend on various factors including scale of operation and intended reuse of the material. A common, cost effective use of concrete demolition waste is as rubble for hard core, ll or in landscaping, on site, especially if still mixed with other inert materials such as brick. This process of recycling is sometimes referred to as downcycling, since the resultant materials are deemed less valuable than when in their original form. This rather negative term does not reect the broader sustainability benets of avoiding energy and CO2 emissions associated with transporting the potential waste, or the material efciency of using a recycled material in place of virgin materials. As discussed earlier in this document, the crushed material can also be used as recycled aggregates for general use, or use in new concrete. Durability combined with its inert in-use state, makes concrete a highly resource efcient material and a highly versatile, low waste material either in its original form.

Recycling post-tensioned slabs Contrary to popular understanding, post tensioned (PT) concrete slabs can be no more difcult to alter or demolish than other structural forms. For example, alteration permits the re-use of redundant ofce space for residential use. Alternatively if demolished, the concrete and reinforcement can easily be separated out for recycling. Bonded post-tensioned slabs are easier to demolish at the end of the buildings life due to the reduction in embedded reinforcement. Unbonded PT slabs require specic sequencing for demolition. Further guidance on post-tensioned concrete can be found in Post-tensioned Concrete Construction, published by The Concrete Centre.

The Lean O fce Tooley Street, London

Sustainable speculative office development. Features include use of hollow concrete columns as air ducts and exposed concrete soffits to reduce cooling load of building. Perimeter panels provide robust internal finish and structural support. Architects: AHMM, Engineers: Arup.


Material efciency

Summary : Considerations for designing out waste with concrete

Ensure efcient design and modelling to optimise structure Specify concrete to permit use of recycled aggregates and cement additions (e.g. GGBS and FA) by suppliers Consider low waste concrete solutions Design and co-ordinate to modular sizes Expose structural surfaces where possible Ensure accurate estimation of materials when ordering Re-use or recycle waste materials on site where possible e.g. brown roofs/ landscaping Establish clear communication for specication and manufacturing to minimise mistakes Ensure careful handling and storage on site

[1] Designing out waste: A design team guide for buildings, WRAP [2] Performance 2008, A sector plan report from the UK cement Industry, MPA Cement, 2009 [3] McLaren, Bullock & Yousef, Tomorrows World: Britains Share in a Sustainable Future, Earth Scan, 1999 [4] The 1st Concrete Industry Sustainability Performance Report, 2009, TCC/05/16, MPA-The Concrete Centre, 2009 [5] The Concrete Industry Sustainability Performance Report: 2nd Report:2008 performance data and release of 2012 targets, MPA-The Concrete Centre, 2010 [6] Concrete and the Green Guide, TCC/05/17, MPA - The Concrete Centre, 2009 [7] Concrete Structures 7, The Concrete Centre, 2006 [8] Concrete Credentials: Sustainability, TCC/05/20, MPA-The Concrete Centre, 2010 [9] Sustainability Matters. Fourth Annual report on the precast industries progress on sustainability, British Precast, 2009 [10] WRAP NW net waste tool data - available on-line Jan 2010 [11] Site Waste Management Guide and templates for effective site waste management plans, WRAP / NHBC, 2008 [12] Building Research Establishment (BRE) SMARTWaste www.bre.co.uk/page.jsp?id=5 [13] Code for Sustainable Homes -Technical guide, CLG, available from www.comunities.gov.uk [14] The Cement Sustainability Initiative Recycling Concrete, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), 2009 [15] Survey of Arisings and Use of Alternatives to Primary Aggregates in England 2005, Construction and Waste, DCLG, 2007 [16] Agreed waste management routes for the Green Guide to Specification, quote from: Be Aware- Improving resource efficiency in construction product manufacture, Sector report Precast concrete, BRE [17] BRE Environmental and Sustainability Standard - BREEAM Offices 2008 Assessor Manual, BRE Global, 2008

Online resources
Defra Waste Data Hub - www.defra.gov.uk/environment/statistics/wastedatahub/index.htm WRAP www.wrap.org.uk/construction/ National Industrial Symbiosis Programme www.nisp.org.uk/ Envirowise www.envirowise.gov.uk/uk/Sectors/Construction.html Guidance from The Concrete Centre can be downloaded at www.concretecentre.com/publications


The Concrete Centre, Riverside House, 4 Meadows Business Park, Station Approach, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey GU17 9AB Ref. TCC/05/21 ISBN 978-1-904818-93-9 First published 2010 MPA - The Concrete Centre 2010

The Concrete Centre is part of the Mineral Products Association, the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, lime, mortar and silica sand industries. www.mineralproducts.org


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