Reducing construction waste in healthcare facilities: a project lifecycle approach

The NHS has one of the largest property portfolios in the UK, comprising hospitals, clinics, dental offices, out-patient surgery centres, birth centres and nursing homes. Additionally, it is experiencing historic levels of growth with the largest programme of investment the country has ever seen where 25 per cent of hospitals are being replaced or upgraded; 100 new hospitals to be constructed by 2010; and 3000 GP premises being built/replaced/refurbished. As a result, a significant number of environmental concerns and challenges need to be addressed, namely the reduction of water and energy consumption, and more significantly waste generation. In the UK, construction of healthcare facilities creates over 350,000 tonnes of waste, which is about 20 per cent of all generated waste in the UK. Construction waste generation is a global issue and several studies have been performed in different parts of the world to develop methods and tools for waste prevention, reduction, reuse and recycling. However, many of these studies adopted a linear approach by focussing on a specific project phase, such as design, procurement or construction, and a more integrated approach is required to holistically assess and evaluate waste causes and origins throughout the project lifecycle. Hence, this paper, part of a doctoral study, sets out to develop a life cycle construction waste mapping for healthcare facilities. An in-depth literature review has been conducted to identify the extent of the problem and provide a foundation for the PhD study that aims to develop a project lifecycle strategy for reducing construction waste in healthcare facilities. The paper concludes that construction waste is generated throughout the project lifecycle covering design, procurement, construction and demolition. However, literature revealed that there are a number of unique characteristics related to the construction and operation of healthcare facilities if compared with typical buildings, which is mainly due to their organisational and functional complexities. Hence, there is a need to develop a bespoke lifecycle waste mapping in healthcare buildings.