New guidance on helping to reduce waste in building projects

BSI has launched a new standard that can help reduce waste in the early stages of building or refurbishment projects. BS 8895-1 Designing for material efficiency in building projects – Part 1: Code of Practice, is part 1 of 3 documents that will enable designers, architectural teams, contractors and clients to make their building projects more materially efficient. It is linked to the RIBA Plan of Work parts A (appraisal) and B (design brief) which make up the preparative stages of a build.

  • The standard is intended to allow teams to consider the materials that they use, factoring in high recyclability, designing out waste and implementing recycling strategies before any work is undertaken.
  • BS 8895-1 offers guidance on what is required at both part A and B stages of the RIBA Plan of Work.
  • It states that the emphasis should be on identifying client aspirations and objectives on material efficiency for part A and identifying performance indicators and targets for part B.

Minimizing build time and project costs through intelligent material waste reduction is a key issue for building projects.

  • Material efficiency needs and waste reduction measures that are identified after strategies are set in place are very hard to deal with retrospectively – this is where BS 8895-1’s preventative approach to designing out waste can help.
  • An online BSI survey revealed that 74% of respondents identified the design stage as one of the key phases in a project where waste reduction is considered, and underlines the importance of having a standard that targets this point in a project.

Key features of the standard are:

  • A consistent and qualified approach for designing for material efficiency
  • Integration of principles of designing out waste at early stages and communicating them in a formal and referenced manner
  • Complements guides such as those produced by WRAP (Waste Resource Action Programme)
  • Early stages of Strategic Definition, Preparation and Brief, and Concept and Developed Design, the emphasis should be on ‘Identify’
  • At Developed Design stage, the emphasis should be on ‘Investigate’
  • At Technical Design stage, the emphasis should be on ‘Implement’


ECOS Environmental Consultants Limited