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Resource efficiency standard launched for construction sector

The British Standards Institution has launched a new standard dedicated to improving resource efficiency in the building sector by reducing and managing construction waste.

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has launched a new standard dedicated to improving resource efficiency in the building sector by reducing and managing construction waste.

The new standard, BS 8895-2, is the second of three instalments providing guidelines for the RIBA Plan of Work, a framework commonly used in the construction industry

It was developed with input from architects, designers, professional buildings services and NGOs, including the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and resource efficiency NGO, WRAP.

Material efficiency

The standard includes practical examples and best practice on building design and lifecycle planning for material efficiency, focusing particularly on reducing construction, demolition and excavation waste.

More specifically, it provides guidance to:

  • Help achieve higher levels of resource efficiency in building projects
  • Apply material efficiency principles to building design activities that might occur at the concept or developed design stages
  • Take into account material efficiency throughout the lifecycle of a building, not just one part of it
  • Prioritise the environmental impact of construction to help fulfil corporate social responsibility criteria
  • Ensure interrelated issues and processes work together to improve material efficiency.

The materials saving opportunity for the construction sector is significant. According to statistics from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), construction waste amounted to around 100 million tonnes in 2012, representing more than half of total waste generated in the UK.

‘Clear guidance’

As a result, the new guidance is expected to deliver cost savings to construction firms as well as reducing the environmental impact of the sector.

Anthony Burd, head of the construction sector at BSI, said: “In 2009 BSI’s Built Environment Design Advisory Committee had the foresight to identify design waste in building projects as a potential area for standardisation.

“It was felt that designers would benefit from clear and unified guidance to help them achieve their sustainable construction goals and see those much desired cost savings and reduced environmental impacts.”