Reducing construction waste in healthcare projects: a project lifecycle approach
2011-11-22T12:14:12Z (GMT) by
Construction waste generation is a global issue in the sustainable construction context and several studies have been performed in different parts of the world to develop methods and tools for waste prevention, reduction, reuse and recycling. Most of these studies adopted a linear approach by focussing on a specific project phase, such as design, procurement or construction. However, there is a consensus in the literature that factors causing construction waste span across the project life cycle and recent researchers emphasised the need for a more integrated lifecycle approach to holistically assess and evaluate causes of waste to suggest recommendations to reduce lifecycle construction waste generation. Over recent years, the UK government has been investing billions of pounds in new and refurbished healthcare projects, where the healthcare buildings are often referred to, in literature, as complex buildings. This large investment has created a number of sustainability issues including water consumption, CO2 emissions, energy consumption, and more significantly construction waste generation. However, no significant research has been undertaken to propose a systematic construction waste minimisation mechanism for healthcare construction projects. Therefore, this research aims to develop a lifecycle construction waste minimisation framework for healthcare projects (HC-WMF). In order to identify the research problem and construction waste generation issues peculiar to healthcare projects, nine preliminary interviews were conducted with healthcare clients (N=3), architects (N=3), and contractors (N=3). The findings revealed that healthcare projects generate high rates of waste compared to other building projects throughout the project lifecycle, identified complex features that have an effect on waste generation, and identified particular causes of construction waste in healthcare projects. A further in-depth study based on four case studies was undertaken to understand the impact of waste generation due to the causes of waste, the relationship between complex features in healthcare projects and the causes of waste, and best waste minimisation practices to be implemented throughout a healthcare project lifecycle to address construction waste causes. Three interviews (client, architect, and contractor) from each case study were undertaken during the data collection stage. A Healthcare Construction Waste Minimisation Framework (HC-WMF) and Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) were then developed based on the findings of the literature review, preliminary data collection study and case studies, and adoption of the key concepts of problem solving methodology. This HC-WMF comprised six waste minimisation strategies (project documents management, stakeholders waste awareness, communication and coordination, buildability, materials selection and procurement, and change management) to be followed throughout the lifecycle stages of a healthcare project. SAT provides a means to assess the effectiveness in implementing HC-WMF and to obtain feedback and learning outcomes for continuous further improvements. In order to validate the developed HC-WMF and SAT a validation questionnaire (N=26) and validation interviews (N=4) were conducted. The validation results showed that the HC-WMF and SAT would be very useful in reducing construction waste generation from healthcare projects. The research contributes to construction waste minimisation research introducing a novel approach to lifecycle waste reduction. Also, the research revealed the complex features in healthcare projects that affect construction waste generation, causes and origins of waste peculiar to healthcare projects, and best waste minimisation strategies to implement to reduce construction waste generation from healthcare projects. Most importantly, through HC-WMF, this research produced a set of guidelines to be followed throughout the healthcare project lifecycle to reduce construction waste generation. The study has made recommendations which, if adopted, will lead to significant improvements in sustainable healthcare construction due to construction waste minimisation. The content should be of interest to clients, designers, and contractors dealing with construction waste minimisation and sustainable construction in healthcare projects. Key words: Construction waste, Healthcare, Causes of waste, Healthcare complexities, Waste minimisation, UK.