Up-scaling and mainstreaming sustainable building practices in western China
Up-scaling and mainstreaming sustainable building practices in western China 

Site Waste Management Plan UK

A good practice example of construction waste management is that of England where according to regulation projects over 300,000 £ are required to implement a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP). It must be prepared before work begins and is a prerequisite for receiving planning approval. This plan allows among others for:


  • A better use of resources - materials and products 
  • Minimisation of the amount of waste being produced
  • Recovery of valuable materials
  • Reduction of costs and increase profit
  • Planning for waste minimisation and management
  • Prevention/reduction of fly-tipping











SWMP Management and Review

Source: Lansdowne Road Site Waste Management Plan

This SWMP allows the industry to be more sustainable as well as cost effective. This throughout its value chain and in addition it discourages construction firms who do not comply through strict penalties. These can be from up to 50,000 £ for a summary conviction and an unlimited fine on conviction.

The whole value chain is part of the SWMP including architects, project managers, suppliers, clients, waste managers and construction firms, who must all act accordingly.

The SWMP requires that a responsible person, who must be named and who will maintain the plan. Any transfer of responsibility should be recorded in the SWMP. A clear chain of responsibility that confirms ownership of elements within the SWMP also needs to be defined. The responsible person must:


  • Define a chain of responsibility,
  • Monitor the SWMP requirements of individual contracts,
  • Ensure appropriate waste recovery and recycling at an authorised site,
  • Inform everyone working on the site of their responsibilities,
  • Agree to report back on progress,
  • Identify any compliance issues.


According to the Basic SWMP plan, for projects between 300,000 and 500,000 £, all waste must be recorded according to European Waste Catalogue Codes. The licensed operators who remove waste must be named and a record made of all transfers and consignment notes and where the waste is being taken. In addition, this must be monitored throughout the construction phase and be updated as needed.

The Advanced SWMP, above 500,000 £, sees further that the projects have a formal review every 6 months, data is collected for auditing and monitoring, a record is kept of the types and quantities of waste and how these are treated i.e. reused or recycled. In addition a comparison needs to be made between actual and projected waste and within three months of the project completion date a report needs to be made on any deviation as well as an estimate on cost savings.

In a responsible SWMP all actors should know about their wastes and how these can be reduced and where if not possible be disposed. In doing this it needs to be clearly stipulated in the terms of contract how waste management and waste minimisation can be implemented. This however needs an early and integrated planning where designers are responsible for using standardised systems and sizes and must plan for waste minimisation as well as an efficient building site process. Other methods are a planning for a sustainable deconstruction.

The SWMP is regulated by the Environmental Agency and Local Authorities.

For more good practice examples download our Training Handbook: Sustainable Construction.