Did you know that multiple studies show wastage in the UK construction sector falls between 30% and 38%, whilst the net profit margins of the 20 largest contractors average below 5%?

Here at Land & Water we have been passionate about doing what we can to protect the environment we work within for years now and our core values reflect this.

The average profit margin for the 20 largest contractors in the construction industry in 2020 was just 0.93% so reducing waste and optimising time is paramount to successful operations, helping to build a healthy balance sheet. What people don't always consider is that reducing waste also contributes hugely to reducing your carbon footprint.

We have made a commitment to becoming carbon net zero by 2030. As part of this our CEO James Maclean has launched a new campaign titled What a Waste. What a Waste has identified eight key areas that can be tackled in order to minimise time, energy and resources being wasted. The areas are:

  • Planning and co-ordination
  • How materials and resources are used on site
  • How the industry works with weather and against it to improve efficiency
  • Energy, idle time and fuel
  • Damage and abuse of equipment and working conditions
  • Quality in terms of getting it right the first time and avoiding re-work
  • Our time as human beings and as a resource, including understanding our responsibilities towards making sure we use our time as efficiently as possible
What a waste graphic

In James's own words, "We need to open the dialogue of attacking waste to drive down our carbon footprint. Our aim is to tackle these head on by putting the right solutions in place."

We wanted to create these videos to analyse our own practices and what we can do to improve them and we hope this honesty will educate and engage our supply chain and other contractors too.

James, with help from our amazing team, has filmed a series of videos exploring waste within Land & Water and the solutions we have already put in place. The videos, which can be accessed by the public, aim to inform, educate and get the dialogue going on waste.

Here is a brief overview of what you can expect to hear:

Damage & Abuse

When damaged equipment is used in projects it can seriously impact the environment and ecosystem that it is operating within. A culture of neglect and abuse also means that a machines lifespan greatly suffers. Every piece of equipment has carbon embedded in it and so shortening component lifespan inevitably results in wasted carbon, wasted money in order to repair the machine, wasted time carrying out the repairs and an increase in pollution to obtain parts shipped and flown across the globe. This is why, at Land & Water, we are taking the opportunity to re-engineer rather than replace and educate our teams on the use of equipment.

Energy & Travel

The last few years have forced us to make many positive changes when it comes to travel, however within our industry it is inevitable that diesel is used. So how can we reduce our carbon output? When looking at our own practices we found that efficient use of machines and machine control is crucial. Fleet benchmarking data shows us that the average idle time on 20-35 tonne excavators in the UK is a staggering 30-37% (*source Caterpillar and Hitachi data sets). At Land & Water we have introduced auto switch off after 5 minutes of idle time and this has bought our benchmark down to 23% therefore reducing the amount of carbon we are putting into the air. But there is a long way to go yet.

Planning & Co-Ordination

Co-Ordination can play a major part in carbon output. In our industry the weather can dictate operations and resource allocation is paramount to efficiency. At Land & Water our HSQE team use weather bulletins to help our site teams plan for increasingly freak weather events, so that projects can be effectively organised. Think ahead, read the weather, and drive out wastage.

People's Time

At Land & Water we believe it is important to recognise the responsibility that everyone has to work toward a more efficient, less wasteful goal. As an employer we have a responsibility to make sure that we work safely and efficiently whilst considering the environment and we trust our employees to use their time at work as constructively as possible. Everyone can attack wastage.

We invite you to join us on this journey toward a more efficient working environment and share our goals for our industry. Let’s work together to drive out waste and reduce our carbon footprint.

Access the videos here:

What a Waste introduction

Damage and abuse

Energy and fuel

Planning and coordination

People's time

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