If you are involved in a construction or demolition project, in the UK, worth £300,000 or more, you have a legal duty to complete a Site Waste Management Plan, often abbreviated to SWMP. If your project is worth £500,000 or more, the requirements become more detailed.
Prosecutions can result in £50,000 fines, or on-the-spot penalties, and
both companies and individuals can be held liable.
Individuals means YOU! So Site Waste Management Plans are very important!
Do Site Waste Management Plans apply to all demolition and excavation work?
Defra guidance is as follows:
"Site Waste Management Plans apply to all aspects of construction work including preparatory work such as demolition and excavation. They are required for civil engineering and engineering projects as well as projects involving the maintenance, alteration and decoration of existing structures.
The installation, maintenance or removal of all related services such as electrical, gas, water, sewage and telecommunications are also subject to this requirement. Routine maintenance operations such as gully cleaning or grass cutting, as opposed to maintenance of a structure, do not fall within this scope."
How does a SWMP work?
A SWMP is started before any construction activity begins (although you are advised to prepare one immediately if you have started work without one). You create an estimate of the types of waste that will be produced on a project, and the quantity of each type of waste.
Then, when the project works begin, each time waste is removed from the site its type and quantity are recorded. Reports can then be created to make sure waste is dealt with in the most effective and profitable way possible.
There are three main aims of a SWMP:
Improve efficiency and profitability
by promoting reuse, recycling and recovery of waste, rather than disposal.
by keeping a full audit trail of waste removed from sites and complying with waste duty of care regulations
Increase environmental awareness of your workforce and management
- Your environmental management performance is likely to improve the more your workers are aware of their responsibilities. Including Site Waste Management Plan information in induction training or as part of environmental awareness training can help with this aim.
How does a SWMP help my project to become more profitable?
Since you are legally required to use a Site Waste Management Plan, you are forced to think about how you will manage waste on your project. By thinking about minimising waste disposal and maximising re-use, reclamation and recycling from the very start of your project, you can save money on your materials, disposal costs and labour. This can add up to highly significant savings, when you consider that around 10% of any construction budget is waste (i.e. £30,000 on a project worth £300,000).
What are the waste actions that the SWMP covers?
The waste hierarchy consists of four methods of handling waste. These are:
- in other projects or another phase of the same project.
- such as turning the arisings from demolition into recycled aggregate for use in roads.
- for example recovery of mercury and other non-ferrous metals from end of life industrial sites, or the cleaning and re-selling of bricks during demolition.
- to landfill, the final and least preferred option within any waste management hierarchy.
What is the penalty for not having a SWMP?
There are four bodies which enforce The Site Waste Management Plans Regulations 2008: the Environment Agency; any local government principal authority, that authority; any district or county council; in the City of London, the common council.
A recent example: a contractor’s site was inspected by the local authority and was told he would be fined if he did not have a Site Waste Management Plan; he used
Safety Agenda Site Waste Management Plan
and was able to escape being fined a significant sum of money.
Prosecutions are up to £50,000. An individual person (that’s YOU) can be prosecuted, as well as the company itself being prosecuted!
Fixed penalties of £300 are now increasingly being handed out, indeed one contractor recently described them as "spilling out like parking tickets".
What is the DTI Site Waste Management Plan?
The DTI Site Waste Management Plan voluntary code of practice was an older piece of voluntary guidance, issued in 2004, which has now been superseded by the Site Waste Management Plans Regulations 2008. These are no longer voluntary, they are a legal requirement.
The Defra guidance for Site Waste Management Plans is shown on the right.
Responsibilities for the Site Waste Management Plan should be written into the terms of the contract, to avoid any misunderstanding.
Clients often engage the Principal Contractor to produce the Site Waste Management Plan as part of the contract; you need to check this if you are acting as Principal Contractor.
"The client is responsible for ensuring that the plan is prepared before construction work begins. For many projects it will be appropriate for the designer to write the Site Waste Management Plan on behalf of the client, as this will assist in recording any decisions that have been taken at the design stage."
"The plan should then be passed to the Principal Contractor, who must update it as work progresses and ensure that workers on the site are aware of the plan and co-operate with it. This will include providing suitable site induction, information and training. Contractors will in turn need to engage their employees and sub-contractors to ensure that any waste management objectives in the Site Waste Management Plan are understood and achieved."
What people in a business are responsible for the SWMP?
When you first start your project, someone will specify the waste minimization measures and the waste estimates. This person is likely to be the Project Manager or Contract Manager, or the person (or department) who priced the job.
After the project starts, quite often a different person will be put in charge of keeping the plan up to date (perhaps an administrator). This record keeper may be on the site where the project is taking place, or back at head office.
Where does the SWMP need to be made available?
The Principal Contractor must make sure that the Site Waste Management Plan is kept at the site office, or if there is no site office, somewhere else at the site. They must ensure that every contractor knows where it is kept, and must make it available to any contractor carrying out work described in the plan.
This can often be covered in an induction talk or toolbox talk. If you are using web-based software such as Safety Agenda Site Waste Management Plan, the plan will always be available on-site, since it can be accessed via the internet at any time.
How long do I need to keep the SWMP?
The Principal Contractor must keep the plan for two years after the completion of the project, at the Principal Contractor’s principal place of business or at the project site.
What are the main steps to take to create a Site Waste Management Plan?
Safety Agenda Site Waste Management Plan
- Begin by giving details of the location of work, the people involved, etc.
- Record the waste minimization methods you will use.
- Record estimates of the types and quantities of waste that you expect this project to produce.
- Once the project works begin, record each time waste is either transported off-site, or handled on-site (eg waste being crushed and used as aggregate).
- After the project ends, record an evaluation of the plan.
- At every stage, you should be able to generate reports to track your progress and make sure you are maximising the profitability of your waste handling.
is available to guide you through this task and make it simple.
How do you wrap Site Waste Management Plan and Waste Duty of Care Regulations together?
Waste Duty of Care code of practice
forms Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Duty of care goes wider than a SWMP, but your SWMP will address issues also discussed in the Duty of Care.
A good plan, that complies with the Site Waste Management Plans Regulations 2008, will address all parts of the legislation, and will be available on site at all times, either in electronic or printed form.
Site Waste Management Plan Example
is a good SWMP.
Is there Site Waste Management Plan software to help me?
Yes. Safety Agenda Site Waste Management Plan is the fastest and easiest way to be fully compliant at all times with the legislation. See
Safety Agenda Site Waste Management Plan.
It also produces real time reports and graphs with just one click of the mouse, helping you to prepare for management meetings and analyse your projects for maximum profitability.
FREE Site Waste Management Plan Example Template
to download your Site Waste Management Plan example. In this case, the PDF was automatically generated using Safety Agenda Site Waste Management Plan, a software tool that helps ensure legal compliance.
FREE Site Waste Management Plan Example Template
Safety Agenda Site Waste Management Plan is now FREE to use! No need wrestle with complicated spreadsheets or forms. The easiest way to create, share and report on Site Waste Management Plans. As well as staying compliant with SWMP 2008 and Waste Duty of Care Regulations.