WRAP guide will help construction firms save cash on re-use

A guide to reclaimed materials for the construction industry has been launched in a bid to demonstrate the cost and environmental savings to be gained by using salvaged materials.

The Reclaimed Building Products Guide, written by BioRegional and published by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), gives advice on the most cost effective way of using reuse materials, as well as the embodied CO2 emissions savings (see table).

Mark Collinson, Wrap construction projects officer said there was a lot of information for the construction industry on recycled materials but very little on reclaimed. The most well received section was the reference section on the products most likely to be ecologically viable and economic, he said.

Reclaimed metals provided the best opportunity for cost savings with structural steel, metal cladding, fencing, and tubes, plates and bars all providing opportunities for savings.

Reclaimed timber was also a rich source of cost savings, with joists, doors and period doors all flagged as key money savers.

However, the report warns that the most cost saving reclaim materials are not necessarily the most easily available. Though fencing was considered cost effective and was widely available, it was very rarely traded, according to the report.

Ian Tennant regional co-ordinator of Eastex, an east of England online reclamation exchange, said that bricks and paving slabs were the most available and exchanged items on its network.

While concrete paving and crazy paving were considered cost effective reuse materials by the report, bricks were either cost neutral or more expensive that new bricks. But Tennant said the industry had become increasingly interested anyway.

“There has been more interest from people within the construction industry because they are under pressure to reduce waste,” he said. “It comes into effect when companies draw up their Waste Management Plans. We say to them that once they have measured their waste, we can show you what to do with it.”