As Construction Material Costs Soar 26%+, Here’s How to Cut on Waste Expenses

Rising, unstable material costs have soared upwards of 26%, a jump in the construction industry. The price volatility on material costs is unprecedented for the industry, according to records that have been kept since the 1940s. Today, we’re seeing hikes upwards of 123% for materials like steel.

As demand for construction remains high, these cost hikes shrink profits. Stabilization for the entire industry is ideal, but until external stabilizing factors settle in, internal stabilizing factors must take precedent. Along with rising material costs, construction produces a lot of waste, which can add up financially, compounding the strains on a construction business right now. Construction-related waste is a growing problem, and construction site managers can help alleviate some of the pressure by taking charge of waste costs; here’s how.

Just in time purchasing of reusable materials that ship in optimized packaging
While just-in-time purchasing will help reduce the excess materials you have, your job site will still generate large amounts of construction waste. Find ways to reuse and recycle as much as possible to reduce your waste removal costs. Choose products that have less packaging and come in bulk containers. Not only will you cut down on the waste on your site, but you will also save money on construction costs as workers are able to unpack and use materials quicker.

When sourcing construction materials, where available, choose materials with less packaging or easily recyclable packaging to reduce waste haul costs. Sustainable building materials that last longer or are reusable are valuable to source, like reusable shipping crates that the construction company can keep or send back to the manufacturer, are becoming more widely implemented. Where possible, opt for the reusable packaging option, or inquire with your vendor if they are packaging options to lighten your waste load.

Better site management
According to Plan Grid, construction site labor inefficiency totaled about $177 billion in 2018. Implementing better construction site management helps on many cost-saving fronts, including waste and wasting of labor. Improving site management makes for more efficient workflows, procedures, communication, check-ins, training, equipment care programs, waste management practices.

Construction waste audit – implement on-site recycling to reduce costs
Implementing waste audits and diversion plans for construction and demolition projects can significantly contribute to waste reduction and diversion efforts, thus lowering waste costs. Essentially, a waste audit serves management to help understand the current waste being generated by all normal activities at a given construction or demolition job. What’s involved includes:

⦁ Measuring the quantity of waste and the materials involved.
⦁ Assessing how waste is being generated.
⦁ Addressing purchasing choices.
⦁ Helping to develop policies that can curtail waste production and increase diversion.

Reuse materials on other sites
Leveraging a reuse strategy from one site to another can help lessen material usage and can be seen in the practices already prominent, like pouring foundation and scaffolding systems that carry on from one site to the next. For example, excess aluminum sheets cut on one job can be used on another albeit smaller job to lessen raw material excess and reduce disposal fees. Habitually used items that can be carried over to other sites include carpet cuttings, drywall pieces, insulation, pipe cuttings, roofing shingles, tile flooring, and scrap wood. Implementing a reuse program for each major material is ideal for lessening waste and streamlining program strategies.

Recycle when not reusing
To the extent recyclable materials are used in construction, what cannot be reused can be recycled when proper management programs are in place. This requires a front-end examination of purchasing procedures to prioritize recyclable materials with viable post-use markets. Purchasing specifications can be identified for consistency across company projects, and identifying the primary raw materials used can be prioritized to make the biggest impact with fewer decisions. If recyclable materials aren’t easy to find, explore details with suppliers to better understand the material options they provide.

Donate materials for a tax right off – rather than landfilling
When over-purchasing and demolition results in an excess of usable materials, remove or disassemble items carefully to salvage for a charitable donation to places like Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Making construction donations of materials to places like the Construction Junction or the ReStore can serve as a tax write-off and lower disposal costs. If feasible and space permits, a quarterly sale can be advertised to the public on highly desired items like windows, molding, cabinets, bathroom fixtures, and appliances. Localized efforts and partnerships with other companies can help the distribution of materials.

Train workers on waste programs
When programs are in place to handle waste correctly, trained workers will act as directed. Leave no room for deviation by implementing simple, sustainable systems. Workers will ideally be provided with appropriate training on source separation techniques and supplied with the tools to perform these tasks on job sites.

Lower construction waste costs with results-driven providers like National Waste Associates
To get construction and demolition waste costs down, partner with National Waste Associates and get incredible, cost-saving results. We have an extensive network, and our team of experts works across all locations to help implement waste strategies that are effective, easily managed, and deliver on costs savings and waste reduction. Choose NWA for professional construction waste management to help lower construction waste costs and offset skyrocketing material costs.
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