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Construction waste research to 'change the industry'

An £800,000 grant has been secured by the University of the West of England (UWE) for a construction waste research project it says will “change the industry”.

The grant will enable the university to develop a computer program to forecast which materials can be reused or recycled once a building is ready to be pulled down.

It hopes the tool will cut the proportion of landfilled waste coming from the construction industry, currently 30-40%.

Professor Lukumon Oyedele, director of the Bristol enterprise research and innovation centre at UWE, believes the program could shave 10% off construction costs due to savings made on the purchase of new materials.

“At the moment, at the end of a building’s life, it is demolished. With our tool, from the design stage of the building, we want to look at the deconstruction plan. It will change the entire construction industry – it’s as simple as that,” he says.

“We want to develop this tool with the aim of having an impact on policy change, so new buildings that need to be constructed in the future must submit a deconstruction plan as part of the planning permission requirements.”

It is hoped the new intelligence-based tool will lead to savings being made on landfill tax and a reduction in landfill gases and CO2 emissions.

Oyedele said it would also support the Government’s industry targets and help to achieve greater competitive advantage in the sector to create low-waste buildings.

The research project has been named DRIM (Deconstruction and Recovery Information Modelling). It will be worked on for two years from April 2016 in collaboration with academics from Coventry University and industry partners Waste Plan Solutions and Sustainable Direction.

Oyedele will be the principal investigator on the project along with Dr Ismail Adelopo, Dr Vikas Kumar, Dr Ximing Ruan and Dr Bolanle Karimu. Funding for the project has come from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Innovate UK.

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