Conceptual image of a construction project, with a worked holding a safety hat

BAM driving down construction waste through supply chain collaboration

03 Apr 23

BAM Construction Scotland is introducing its small and medium sized enterprise (SME) designers and supply chain to the free support services offered by Zero Waste Scotland to help reduce overall project waste and improve financial performance.

Through a focused approach to waste BAM Construction Scotland has identified the following potential opportunities to date through collaborative working with four of its small and medium enterprise (SME) supply chain partners:

  • Significant material and waste cost savings;
  • Prevention of 120,184 tonnes of waste arisings;
  • Reduction of raw material consumption by 2,692 tonnes;
  • Carbon savings of over 176 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents.

BAM Construction Ltd. (BAM) designs, constructs, refurbishes and operates buildings for public and private sector clients, and for its own portfolio of properties. We started our conversation with them at a Supply Chain School event. They’ve had the foresight to recognise that improving waste practices through collaborative working with their SME supply chain and designers could potentially result in significant savings for not only itself as the lead contractor but also for their clients.

Our programme has already helped five SME designers identify significant financial, waste and carbon savings on BAM Scotland projects through our facilitated “Designing out construction waste” workshops. The workshops provided the framework for BAM Scotland and individual SMEs to examine the future requirements on each build and design solutions to prevent waste arisings throughout the intended life cycle.

Material optimisation strategies identified include material switching for 100% recyclable alternatives and using more robust materials to reduce the number of replacements required over the lifespan of a project. Additional significant savings were found in redesigning a building on one site to work more closely with the natural levels around it, preventing the need for large soil excavation and the associated disposal costs.

From the five SMEs currently supported, significant savings from avoided material purchase and waste disposal costs were identified. Across the five projects we’ve also identified ways to:

  • prevent 120,184 tonnes of waste arisings;
  • reduce raw material consumption by 2,692 tonnes and;
  • prevent 176 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents.

BAM Scotland has committed to repeat the designing out waste workshop activity at strategic points within the design process to ensure that the actions identified are being followed through.

Recognising that identifying waste opportunities at the design stage is just the first step, the company is now in the process of highlighting our free on-site opportunity assessments to its SME supply chain. On-site support can help identify where opportunities lie to improve general working practices, procurement decisions, material choices and material handling. In addition, we can help SMEs to identify savings not only for the project they are working on but also within their own organisations, extending all the way back to their own facilities and on future projects.

At a strategic level, BAM Scotland recognises the importance of waste data measurement, recording and comparison in trying to prevent and manage waste on projects. As such it will be looking at the commercial cost, waste and material and CO2 savings achieved as a result of all support activities in comparison to those predicted at the design stage. Future changes will be implemented across its sites based on the outcomes. Results will be compared with historic waste information held in a customised BRE SMaRTWaste programme BAM SMaRT – a database that enables the company to assess its efficiency performance against waste production targets and other strategic and project KPIs. As a lead contractor, BAM Scotland is committed to sharing its identified learnings with its supply chain and helping to drive improvement and efficiency on all projects.

BAM Scotland has found the knowledge and information available through our service to be a great asset to both itself and all the SMEs it works with. The direct support to its SME supply chain and the indirect support available through our website and free guides and tools have provided valuable guidance with removing all potential barriers to taking action. Our Waste Prevention Innovation Fund and SME Loan Fund may also help SMEs in BAM Scotland’s supply chain implement any identified solutions through loans and grants of up to £100k available per company.

"The support provided to our supply chain by the service has allowed us to drive efficiencies throughout our working practices and find the potential to make significant savings. We’d like our suppliers to share in this benefit too" says Michael Shields, Systems & Environmental Manager at BAM Construction Ltd.

How we can help underpin cost savings for your business

You don’t need to be a small or medium business to realise savings. By helping your SME supply chain partners and sub-contractors become more resource efficient, lead contractors can see improvements in cost, waste and carbon savings. Email the team to discuss how your business or project could work with Zero Waste Scotland to receive specialist support and advice.