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09 Jan 2019

Material waste in construction industry

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of Hong Kong (2000) defines materials 

waste as comprising of unwanted materials generated during construction, including 

rejected structures and materials, materials which have been over ordered or are surplus to 

requirements, and materials which have been used and discarded. Building material waste 

can also be defined as the difference between the value of materials delivered and 

accepted on site and those properly used as specified and accurately measured in the 

work, after deducting the cost saving of substituted materials transferred elsewhere, in 

which unnecessary cost and time may be incurred by materials wastage (Enshassi, 1996;

McDonald and Smithers, 1998, Pheng and Tan 1998, Shen et al., 2003). Furthermore, 

material waste can be defined as “any material, apart from earth materials, which needs to 

be transported elsewhere from the construction site or used within the construction site 

itself for the purpose of land filling, incineration, recycling, reusing or composting, other 

than the intended specific purpose of the project due to material damage, excess, non-use, 

or non-compliance with the specifications or being a by-product of the construction 

process” (Ekanayake and Ofori, 2000). Despite variations in construction projects, 

potential material waste is caused by similar inefficiencies in design, procurement,

material handling, operation or residual on-site waste such as packaging (Formoso et al.,

1993; Gavilan and Bernold, 1994).


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