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Last edited 09 Dec 2020
BREEAM Operational waste
Well-designed buildings provide convenient and well integrated waste storage areas in suitable locations, ensuring that building occupants have the facilities to enable them to sort waste at source whenever possible.
>> Optimization of occupiers flows.
 When to consider
This credit may be addressed during the whole design stage from its very beginning. During construction the most important thing to check is that the agreed surface in design stage is not diminished for the benefit of other surface requirements.There are also some issues to take care of at handover.
- Consideration in early design : for allowing dedicated space for waste locals and particular on-site treatments such as compost, compactors...
- Technical design : to consider the procedures and intern facilities for sorting operational waste
- Handover : check correct labelisation of the local
 Detailled process
Early design :
What kind of recyclable waste are to be collected ?
What type of sorting is required before collection ?
How often is the collection ?
Does the community/city/county/ gives bins ? If so, what are there size ?
- What kind of recyclable waste will the end-occupier produce ?
- What quantities of each categories are susceptible to be produced ?
- What kind of equipment is therefore needed ?
How many bins ?
- Are individual bins needed ? Of which capacity ? Is there a compactor/composter needed ? Is there enough room for such equipment ?
- Size of every equipment needed.
- Check carefully if all equipment needed will be easily accessible in the considered local.
- How many stairs/lifts there are for collecting recyclable waste
- What is the width of the doors and adjacent corridors (if internal)
- Is it far from the main entrance of the project ?
- You may also take a look at the different circulation flows in your building : occupiers flow(s) / building manager flow / car flow / delivery flow … The waste flow may be integrated in keeping with all the circulation flows of the building. It may not be blocked by any of the other flows and not block any other.
 Technical design :
Ensure that the dedicated space is available/designed in your building, and that water evacuation and water tap are included on technical plans. Encourage the team to choose the best location as possible (see above) : easy access, securisation of the local if needed, protection of external areas from weather.
Ensure that every local is correctly ventilated (if they are internal).
 Final Design and tender documents :
 Construction :
During its site inspection visit, the BREEAM Assessor must check that everything is installed and take pictures of relevant fixtures (water inlets/outlets/ labelisation/ flooring and wall protection/ if external : acces conditions and security of the local). If the recyclables are in the same local as organic waste, the dedicated space must be marked with floor painting in addition to the local labellisation.
 Questions to ask while seeking compliance
- That a waste management plan is in place which provides adequate storage for the frequency of collection
- That the space could reasonably be converted to comply with all BREEAM waste storage requirements if required
- That an on-going co-mingled waste recycling contract is in place
- The typical recycling rates from the waste management company
- Remember that BREEAM assesses the sustainability of the building itself rather than the management practices of the current occupier.
 Tips and best practice
 Accessibility of the facilities
Typically ‘accessible’ is defined as being within 20m of a building entrance. In some circumstances site restrictions or tenancy arrangements could mean it is not possible for the facilities to be within 20m of a building entrance. If, in the opinion of the BREEAM assessor it is not feasible for the facilities to be within 20m of a building entrance, their judgement can be used to determine if the facility is deemed to be ‘accessible’ to the building occupants and for vehicle collection.
In situations where direct vehicular access to the recyclable waste store is limited by logistics or if size is a problem, for example inner city locations, some flexibility to the application of the criteria is allowed.
>>The labelisation of the locals and features is often missing in tenders contracts. A lot of projects realise they need it at the end of construction. APs have to ensure that they are included into contracts. This can become a problem if labelisation was supposed to be realised by the tenant (explaining why its not in the tender contracts). If it is to be installed by the new tenant/owner, it could involve delays for the BREEAM certification process : the new tenant/owner may not be able to instal theses fixtures for several months.
>> When projects team involve labellisation at the beginning of the project, ensure that waste locals and features are not forgotten.
If the BREEAM space requirements aren’t met, the client and design team can provide a valid justification and propose alternative solutions. Compliance can be achieved provided that it is clearly demonstrated and evidenced that there is adequate justification for the type of facilities & size of waste storage provided.
The BREEAM minimum requirements for waste management facilities is 2m² minimum (for projects with a net floor area under or equal to 1000 m² for non-residential buildings). However, regarding the project use and main waste stream, designing a bigger local can really enhance the project in-use life.
If there is to be a catering/kitchen facility in the building : closely work with the kitchen designer (which may sometimes be a separated expert). Refer to the reglementation of the countries : localisation of the facilities may be subject to strict hygien rules. Countries regulation may also specify particular treatment of waste (e.g. compulsory composting) if the regulation thresholds are met.
 For mixed use buildings commercial/office buildings with surface constraints
Instead of going with only one big local for every use, think about the possibility of creating/ using two separated smaller locals. The total of the surface could meet the minimum requirements, but storing and waste management will be easier.
Projects with a lot of external land are often really willful to install external composting facilities on site. For these installations to be really used during exploitation, the design team must be sure that the final occupier is aware of the maintenance requirements of these. The precise use of compost (or collection by waste companies) may be known early. For projects with few land and a big compost-waste production, on site collection by public/private services can be a pretty good solution.
For projects with a lot of external space using composting on site, the design team must think about implementing several small point of use composting units across the its land instead of a big facility alone. This will help the person in charge of external spaces : the compost will be nearer the plantations where it is needed.
A good waste management includes educating the building occupiers to produce less waste. This can be done through the Building Users Guide, Information panels implemented on the project, workshops (for example for educational buildings)... It can also be done by providing water fountains in buildings and avoiding giving out water bottles (see credit HEA 09 in NC schemes). The best waste is a waste that is never produced. It is really efficient to teach that schools : educated kids will become aware adults.
During your visit of the site at the end of works, be sure to be shown technical locals. Take clear pictures showing the waste management facilities : labellisation on the doors of the locals, and picture showing the inside of the locals : floor and wall resistant coverings and protection, water outlet & arrival…
 Typical evidence
- Tender documentation, Drawings to demonstrate the location of the operational waste facility (and water outlet where applicable)
- Sizing study and calculation for the locals ; Client confirmation of type and volume of waste streams.
- BREEAM Assessor’s site inspection report : Photographic evidence.
- End of construction plans showing access to the facilities.
- Evidence of an off-site waste management plan and contract (where applicable)
 Applicable Schemes
The guidelines collated in this ISD aim to support sustainable best practice in the topic described. This issue may apply in multiple BREEAM schemes covering different stages in the life of a building, different building types and different year versions. Some content may be generic but scheme nuances should also be taken into account. Refer to the comments below and related articles to this one to understand these nuances. See this document for further guidelines.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BREEAM Construction waste management.
- BRE SMARTwaste.
- Circular economy.
- Definition of waste: Code of practice.
- Delivering waste efficiency in commercial buildings: A guide for facilities managers.
- Environmental plan.
- Landfill tax.
- Materials Management Plan (MMP).
- Recyclable construction materials.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle.
- Site Waste Management Plan.
- Waste management plan for England.
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