Exploring sustainable practices around demolition projects

February 15, 2021

Traditional demolition projects often send a lot of waste material to landfill, but it doesn’t have to be this way. As more companies around the world are becoming increasingly aware of their environmental impact, there has been a growing push towards establishing a more sustainable way of doing things to minimise waste generation. Through careful planning, recycling and repurposing demolition techniques, it’s possible to successfully reduce the environmental footprint of demolition and deconstruction projects.

MACS Australia has remained at the forefront of commercial and industrial demolition for the last 40 years. Having taken charge of countless complex projects for a myriad of clients, we provide a comprehensive end-to-end service from planning through to execution. As we continue to grow and learn alongside our projects, we’ve taken steps to implement a range of sustainability focused practices into our demolition and deconstruction works.

Get in touch to find out more about our services and to receive a detailed quote about your upcoming project.

Demolition with a sustainable mindset

Although it doesn’t take long for many structures to collapse, you don’t want to rush into your demolition project. This is especially true if you’re looking to take sustainability seriously as there are many facets to consider before bringing in the heavy machinery to carry out the job. From understanding the makeup of your surroundings to choosing the most appropriate tools, most jobs will require careful planning to create the least amount of environmental disturbance.

The environment can be remarkably fragile. Therefore, it’s vital to know whether the structure you’re planning to demolish contains materials that will be particularly harmful if they escape into the wider world. In Australia, the most common examples include asbestos, lead paint, mould and polychlorinated biphenyl. By undertaking a thorough building inspection and assessing the surrounding environmental features before diving into your demolition project, you will have a detailed understanding of what materials and risks are involved. This way, you won’t send hazardous emissions into nearby waterways and other fragile landscapes.

Preserve suitable elements

Just because you’ve decided to undertake a demolition or deconstruction project doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything. In fact, you might be able to save considerable time, effort and waste by only removing the parts that simply have to go. To help you come to a decision, you should reflect on what the current purpose of the building is and how you hope to use it in the future.

You should also consider the physical condition of the structure and whether the technical changes you desire are within reach. Fortunately, MACS has a team of highly trained engineers who are ready to assess a range of urban and industrial structures to determine whether your goals are achievable within your budget. This will ensure you have informed advice about whether refurbishment or modification is the best approach for your business.

Salvaging and Repurposing

In conjunction with deconstruction, finding ways to salvage and repurpose materials from your structure will significantly improve how sustainable your project ends up being. As many buildings include clean materials that are perfectly suitable for reuse in other developments, there’s no point sending these resources to our already overflowing landfills. Keep in mind that the construction industry in Australia already contributes an estimated 20 million tonnes of waste to landfill each year.

One of the best ways to salvage and repurpose materials is by identifying off-site sources that can benefit from high-quality deconstruction waste. For example, recycled bricks can be used in low-grade roads and pavements, while steel and ferrous metals are often inexpensive to recover and turn into something productive. With a variety of organisations looking to take on materials recovered from demolition and deconstruction projects, it’s possible to form positive partnerships to divert waste from going to landfill and extend the lifecycle of these materials far beyond what was previously thought possible.

Choosing Greener Landfills

After assessing your building, securing the surrounding environment and making attempts to repurpose certain materials, you might still find that the structure simply has to come down. But even if that is the case, there are still ways to adopt sustainable practices that ensure you limit the negative impact of your demolition project.

For instance, choose a suitable landfill that is within close proximity to your worksite. This way, you can reduce unnecessary emissions created by trucks moving between places. Meanwhile, some landfills are equipped with advanced technology that ensures they can sort through waste and recycle certain materials. In turn, useful waste makes its way back into circulation to have another purpose.

Contact the Experts

Since 1974, MACS has led intricate demolition and deconstruction projects for many of Australia’s leading civic, commercial, industrial and resource businesses. As our talented team has the ability to conduct extensive feasibility and closure studies to effectively assess risk and costs, we know what it takes to deliver a successful project.