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All you need to know about Site Waste Management Plans

Are you overseeing a construction or demolition project in the UK? If so, you may decide to implement a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) as a key resource efficiency tool.

Those involved in a UK construction project worth £300,000 or more were once legally required to complete a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP), with those requirements becoming even more detailed when the project’s worth reached the £500,000 mark.

Failing to implement an SWMP therefore ran the risk of prosecution for both individuals and companies, resulting in £50,000 penalties or on-the-spot fines. Although SWMPs ceased to be a legal requirement in December 2013, they can still bring a wide range of benefits for construction businesses.

Below, we have answered many of the common questions that people ask us about SWMPs here at Able Skip Hire Ltd.

What is a Site Waste Management Plan?

SWMPs were conceived with three main aims. The first is to promote efficiency and profitability through the promotion of the reuse, recycling and recovery of waste instead of disposal. They are also intended to reduce fly-tipping, via the keeping of a full audit trail of waste removed from sites and compliance with waste duty of care regulations.

Finally, your use of an SWMP also helps to make your workforce and management more environmentally aware. You are therefore advised to incorporate SWMP information into induction or environmental awareness training to ensure that everyone involved in your project is aware of their responsibilities.

Do I need a Site Waste Management Plan?

It was once a legal duty to complete an SWMP if a UK construction or demolition project met the aforementioned criteria in terms of project worth. All aspects of construction work – including preparatory work such as demolition and excavation – were subject to this requirement, as were civil engineering projects and projects that involved existing structures being maintained, altered and decorated.

The requirement for an SWMP also applied to the installation, maintenance or removal of such related services as electrical, gas, water, telecommunications and sewage. While, however, the maintenance of a structure required the completion of an SWMP, mere routine maintenance operations like grass cutting or gully cleaning did not.

Although the SWMP requirements have now largely been dropped, such a plan must still be completed for certain projects where there is a need to comply with the BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) certification used in the assessment of the sustainability of buildings.

Who or what is responsible for a Site Waste Management Plan?

According to Defra’s guidance, it is the client’s responsibility to ensure the preparation of the plan prior to the commencement of construction work. The guidelines continue: “For many projects it will be appropriate for the designer to write the Site Waste Management Plan on behalf of the client, as this will assist in recording any decisions that have been taken at the design stage.”

The Principal Contractor should then be given this plan so that they can update it as work takes place, in addition to ensuring workers’ awareness of and cooperation with the plan. In accordance with this, appropriate site induction, information and training should be given. In turn, contractors should ensure that their employees and sub-contractors understand and achieve any waste management objectives that are laid out in the plan.

How can I implement a successful Site Waste Management Plan?

There is a wide range of elements that you may choose to include in your SWMP, ranging from a description of your project, address of the project and details of where your plan will be kept on site, right through to detailed waste estimates, waste records and a project overview.

Your plan may also include a cost savings estimate, along with information on any third parties that will be handling waste and what measures have been identified to minimise the quantity of waste produced during the project.

With SWMPs no longer a legal requirement, it may be tempting for your organisation to not implement one for its latest construction or demolition project. In practice, however, such plans remain of great use for a wide range of businesses looking to make more efficient use of their resources, while also ensuring the greater kindness of their waste management practices to the wider environment.

Contact our our team here at Able Skip Hire Ltd today for help with the creation of the right SWMP for your own construction or demolition business’s next project.

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