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Guidelines for Sustainable Management of Construction Waste on Construction Sites

22.03.2024

The Latvian Construction Association (LBA) has developed guidelines for the sustainable management of construction waste on construction sites. Although decisions made during the construction phase slightly affect circulation, the recognition, registration, and separation of reusable resources from construction waste can take place directly on the construction site.

The guidelines for sorting construction waste on construction sites for commercial projects and public construction projects have been developed by LBA within the framework of the European Commission's LIFE Integrated Project "Waste To Resources Latvia - boosting regional sustainability and circularity" (Life project). A number of construction and environmental stakeholders and organizations were involved in the preparation of the document. "We, as builders, are starting with ourselves! Yes, we expect that responsibility for sustainable, environmentally friendly construction, and real estate development will be taken on by both clients and project design and consulting teams. Likewise, we understand that during the construction phase, we can contribute to the process by responsibly, thoughtfully managing the available resources and separating them for recycling. In theory, even regeneration on construction sites is possible. However, starting with the practical section or the intermediate stage of the circulation cycle, we allow all process participants to see more clearly the obstacles in implementing circulation tasks," explains Brigita Ķirule-Vīksne, the leader of the Life project at LBA and coordinator of the guideline project.

In its statement "New Circular Economy Action Plan For a cleaner and more competitive Europe"[1] (AERP), the European Commission (EC) has committed to implementing a circular economy in six priority sectors, including construction and buildings. Unfortunately, by 2021, the EC had not succeeded in developing the Strategy for Sustainable Built Environment, as planned. Furthermore, the EC has not been able to reconcile and publish other AERP documents for the implementation of circular economy principles in construction within the planned deadlines[2]. However, it is expected that several AERP commitments will come to light after the European Parliament elections in the second half of this year.

Considering the EC's commitment to using the "Level(s)" [3] system to integrate the evaluation of the circulation cycle into public procurement and within the framework of EU sustainable financing[4], LBA has integrated the "Level(s)" methodology into the guidelines and offers to use templates of this European unified system for resource flow planning and management. "Perhaps if legal clarity were greater and our partners in this dialogue phase were more confident, we could set higher ambitions and provide the industry with more practical tools for sustainable construction waste management and secondary raw material flow management. However, LBA's work on this task does not end with the Life project. We hope that by working on the full construction circulation cycle, the European vision will become clearer, and together we will create a sustainable construction system that is sustainable in all aspects - environmental, social, and financially viable," estimates Edijs Kupčs, the head of LBA.

LBA's guidelines for sustainable management of construction waste on construction sites offer industry specialists:

  • mapping of construction waste fractions and codes;

  • summary of current construction and waste management regulatory requirements;

  • distribution of responsibilities among construction and waste management specialists in the management of construction waste on construction sites for commercial and public construction projects;

  • general principles for handling hazardous and non-hazardous construction waste and principles for recognizing them;

  • clarification of requirements for waste regeneration on construction sites;

  • as well as identification of unclear issues and definition of tasks for the full implementation of resource circulation in construction.

During the work process, the most significant further tasks and necessary changes in regulatory framework to implement sustainable management of construction waste on construction sites were clarified:

  1. Responsible participants in the construction and construction waste management process must have access to information about the possibilities of quality processing of construction waste - transparent IT tools (platforms) must be provided for determining the companies collecting waste fractions and their processing capacities.

  2. It is necessary to set a longer storage period for secondary raw materials obtained from construction waste - currently, it is 1 year, while by-products of production do not have such a term specified.

  3. Administrative burden should be reduced by consolidating the Construction Information System (BIS) and the Waste Transport Record System (APUS) reports - waste managers should be provided with the opportunity for APUS to read the data registered in the Construction Work Journal's construction waste management section in BIS.

  4. Environmental safety requirements for construction products need to be specified or regulations for the end-of-waste stage need to be developed for all construction waste streams with secondary raw material potential[5].

  5. The responsibility for the compliance of construction and demolition waste and secondary raw materials recovered during construction and demolition works should be assigned to the responsible authority.

  6. Specialists involved in construction waste management must be provided with training.

LBA will soon introduce the content and application possibilities of the guidelines to participants in the construction process. By the end of 2024, LBA will also develop a proposal for a standardized appendix to public construction procurement contracts to integrate circulation principles into procurement.

LBA expresses its gratitude for the cooperation in the development of the guidelines to the Riga Energy Agency and Ieva Kalniņa, "Pillar Capital" AS BREEAM auditor Ludmila Bernšteina, the State Construction Control Bureau, the Ministry of Economics, experts from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, the State Environmental Service experts, Kristaps Šveisbergs and Arnim Minikovičs from VAS "State Real Estate", Ingrīda Gubernatorova from SIA "ZAAO", Santa Vaivoda from SIA "CleanR Verso" and experts from "Passive House Latvia", as well as the most active members of LBA - "Saint-Gobain Building Products" SIA and SIA "Knauf".


[1] COM/2020/98 final, 11.3.2020

[2] COM/2020/98 final, 11.3.2020 ANNEX

[3] https://environment.ec.europa.eu/topics/circular-economy/levels_en

[4] AERP 3.6. article

[5] The priority construction waste fractions for which unified end-of-waste stage requirements will be determined within the EU will be clarified in the project GROW/2022/OP/0015

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