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Radical Rethink Architects Must Lead
During a recent presentation to the Institute of Demolition Quarmby says that the demolition business’ livelihood
Engineers, President Terry Quarmby revealed that an has long hinged upon its ability to find a home for the
initial study suggested that the growth in recycling had materials generated by its activities, but that this ability is
been mirrored by a growth in reportable, on-site incidents. being undermined by the use of new-build materials that
While these were, thankfully, of the non-fatal or life- are either difficult or prohibitively costly to recycle or that
threatening variety, any increase in accidents needs to no-one actually wants.
be taken very seriously indeed. And in a hard-hitting
“Twenty or thirty years ago when we were demolishing
presentation, Quarmby also stated that:
Edwardian or Victorian properties, all of the materials
architects and designers are undermining sustainability could be passed on very easily for
initiatives by an increasing use of non-recyclable and re-use,” he says. “Today, we’re dealing with a very different
composite materials range of products including a large number of composites.
demolition industry waste return figures are combined
We need to go back to the drawing board to reduce the
with those of the construction sector to help bolster the
use of these non-recyclable materials, and it is the
construction sector’s less-than-impressive statistics
architects and designers that must take the lead. Designers
have a huge responsibility but, at present, they’re sitting
the construction industry is unlikely to achieve
on the fence, following client instructions, and not thinking
Government targets to reduce waste to landfill by 2012.
about the ramifications of the materials they choose and
“As an industry, demolition is bombarded with new specify.”
directives and recommendations from the likes of WRAP,
Ambitious Targets
the BRE and CIRIA and a multitude of non-Governmental
organisations, all of whom are keen to fight the sustain-
Quarmby is similarly critical of the construction sector’s
ability cause,” Quarmby says. “But I firmly believe that
still poor record on waste and recycling. “According to
what we really need is a radical rethink on the primary
current statistics, approximately 50 million tonnes of
use of materials on new build to facilitate the ease of
construction, demolition and excavation waste is sent to
re-use and recycling.”
landfill each year,” he explains. “According to figures from
the National Federation of Demolition Contractors, the
demolition sector is achieving recycling rates of more
ENVIRONMENT INDUSTRY MAGAZINE
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