WRAP’S Recycled Construction Materials Research Will Set Benchmark

Dale Potts
Whole life value specialists at project and cost consultancy Faithful+Gould have been appointed by WRAP, (the Waste & Resources Action Programme), to conduct a study into the use of recycled materials in schools which could set the benchmark for future projects.

The consultancy is undertaking three inter-linked projects involving schools in Bristol and Glasgow and the development of an assessment 'toolkit' that will make the process of reviewing and selecting materials on the basis of their recycled content much simpler.

The Bristol project is focused on modifying procurement procedures so that incorporation of recycled materials is specifically included as part of the bid process for new schools. At Glasgow, Faithful+Gould will review completed schools, built to the same core design, in order to establish the typical percentages of recycled materials incorporated.

Data from Bristol and Glasgow will help provide the background for development of the assessment toolkit which, when complete, will be made widely available to construction specifiers. The toolkit will also draw on information compiled about the recycled content within commonly used construction materials so that specifiers can quickly build up a picture of how their building will perform against this measure.

The focus will be on looking at the percentage of recycled material by value, explains Ian Butterss of Faithful+Gould, "We believe it will prove fairly easy to achieve recycled content within the construction materials of around ten per cent without any cost penalty. It is likely that this figure can ultimately be increased to between 15 and 20 per cent through adjustment of purchasing priorities. Of course, such levels have to be attained without any impact on build quality. However, often simply opting for one product, or one manufacturer, instead of another will bring content benefits without any significant adjustment to price or product performance."

WRAP is funded through landfill tax and it is hoped the outcome will help to stimulate the market for products with a high recycled content and reduce landfill. Although the work is centred on schools, it is anticipated that the toolkit will also be applicable across a range of buildings and might assist the construction sector in demonstrating compliance with requirements for recycled content recommended last year by the Government’s Sustainable Buildings Task Group.