Resource Positive

Resources are vital to all our lives - whether it’s the water we drink, air with breathe, or materials we use to make our buildings. But buildings use large amounts of materials in their construction and generate lots of waste over their whole lifecycle. That is why as part of our net positive approach we will:

  • Eliminate wasteful construction practices and deliver projects that produce less waste in operation, aspiring to zero construction and office waste (to landfill and incineration) by 2025
  • Procure materials from certified responsible sources, including procuring 100% certified sustainable timber
  • Be part of the circular economy, by using products and materials that can be easily maintained, reused or repurposed in the future, avoiding low grade recycling

Eliminating waste

We aim to eliminate wasteful construction practices and deliver projects that will produce less waste in operation. BAM, and the industry as a whole, is more efficient than it ever used to be. We are an industry leader: we share our experiences and drive the performance of the construction industry by working with the UK Building Council, Supply Chain Sustainability School and Build UK. 

As a priority, we try to prevent waste through the way we design and build, but we also continue to track the quantity of waste removed from sites. We always aim to maximise reuse and recycling, and as a last resort, recovery and landfill. This is done by using specialist waste transfer stations that achieve the highest possible value from the waste materials taken from our sites. There are also a growing number of suppliers offering takeback schemes for their materials, using our waste as a feedstock for the production of new product. 

To align with new targets across Royal BAM Group, BAM Construct UK is now recording waste removed from our sites in tonnes (we previously reported in m3), making use of data from our waste management contractors. We have also set a new target against a new 2015 baseline. In 2015 the three year rolling average has been calculated as 40 tonnes/£1million turnover. The three year rolling average for 2018 was 32.0 tonnes/£1million turnover, a 20% reduction. If this performance is sustained, a 25% reduction should be achieved by 2020. The proportion of waste diverted away from landfill in 2018 was 93%.

Our waste reduction journey

The right materials

We aim to choose safe, healthy and natural materials to create spaces and buildings that are good for people and the environment.

When purchasing materials, we focus on the positive impact we can have by selecting suppliers with high standards. We will always have a preference for sourcing products which are natural, safe and ethical; taking into consideration their impact on the environment and people, both locally and internationally. Increasing the use of digital construction will help us evaluate the environmental life cycle costs of the materials used in our buildings. This will help influence the construction sector as a whole, as a greater understanding of a product's environmental impacts will allow more informed product choices.

In 2003, we made a commitment to procure 100% certified legal and sustainable timber by 2020 (current UK chain of custody schemes are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification). In 2018, more than 99% of new timber delivered to our sites was from verified legal and sustainable sources, with more than 94% having full FSC or PEFC chain of custody. We also have experience delivering partial and full project certifications, including 30 Broadwick Street, which was certified with FSC Full Project Certification (TT-PRO-006105, 2017). We proudly support the UK sustainable timber market by procuring Grown in Britain certified timber when it is available.

Of new timber from legal and sustainable sources

Driving forward the circular economy

Focussing on waste reduction will not deliver a net positive future. That is why our aim is not to just do things better, but to do new things. We need a shift in the way buildings are designed and made, taking steps towards a circular economy. Achieving this step-change needs more collaborative working between designers and contractors, supplychain and clients.

To drive the circular economy forward, we are were one of 16 partners working on the 'Buildings as Material Banks', an EU Horizon 2020 project to develop industry tools, which hopes to catalyse a move to circular buildings. During 2017 we worked with our supply chain through a series of four workshops to upskill and engage on circular economy opportunities within their businesses. In 2018, one supplier, Whitecoft lighting, worked with us to refurbish instead of replace old, inefficient lighting. This has led to a new service and also new 'circular' lighting solutions that can be offered to existing and new projects.

Read about our work with Whitecroft lighting here