The office sector will drive construction growth in 2015 with the number of major projects getting underway expected to pick up in the major metropolitan areas beyond London, according to Glenigan’s latest Construction Prospects report.

The company, which monitors planning applications, says the office sector will dominate industry activity with a 23% rise in project starts forecast for 2015.

Other non-residential sectors are also expected to gain. Glenigan forecasts retail and leisure project growth will spread widely across the UK as rising levels of economic confidence lead to an increase in both private sector investment and consumer spending.

Glenigan’s findings are supported by the Construction Products Association, which says growth in private house building, infrastructure work and commercial activity will power recovery in the industry over the next three years.

The CPA forecasts construction sector growth of 5.2% in 2015, with increases of 4.4% in 2016 and 3.8% in 2017.

Meanwhile, Experian says total construction output growth is projected to average over 4% in 2015 before dropping below 3% in 2016.

The credit information service’s Construction Forecast factsheet also reports private housing and infrastructure are expected to be the best performing sectors.

construction industry

While the rise in optimism in the construction sector is certainly welcome, an increase in the number of building projects will mean a rise in the amount of industrial waste that is sent to landfill.

One solution is Mission 2030, a global campaign designed to reduce building waste production to zero that has been launched by the Construction Resources Initiative Council.

The Canada-based body says that, on a global scale, the construction and operation of buildings consumes 40% of all resources, 25% of water, is responsible for 33% of all greenhouse gas emissions and generates billions of tonnes of waste annually.   

The CRI Council says that in Canada over 75% of construction waste in landfills has value and could be repurposed, reused or recycled. Materials that are reused help to reduce the demand for energy, water and the harvesting of virgin resources.  

CRI Council president Renée Gratton adds that the body is working towards decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation.

This is not the first time efforts to recycle waste have emerged from the other side of the Atlantic. The rise in energy costs in the 1970s led to US cities making significant investments in recycling.

In 1973, the city of Berkeley in California began helping residents recycle newspapers by starting monthly kerbside collections, while in 1989 the same city banned the use of polystyrene packaging for keeping McDonald’s hamburgers warm.

But the CRI Council’s aims go a lot further than that. Gratton says it is theoretically possible to reduce, reuse, recycle, salvage and recover for energy over 95% of all construction and demolition waste.

Gratton adds that it is theoretically possible to reduce, reuse, recycle, salvage, recover for energy over 95% of all construction and demolition waste. “For the zero waste initiative to succeed, we will all have to start thinking in terns of how to deal with the root causes and what we accept as an operating cultures or norms. Moving forward, we have to focus on our structures, systems, skills and technologies to address the processes that define and create our waste.’’   

Click here to discover how ProSkips is supporting the CRI Council’s aim to encourage industry leaders to measure their construction and demolition waste production and commit to a reduction to landfill of 35% by 2015, 50% by 2020, 75% by 2025 and 100% by 2030.

This long-term goal will require huge change in the way the construction sector in the UK views and deals with waste and resources.

The path to “zero construction, renovation and demolition waste to landfill” needs to consider waste and sustainable development at all points of a building project’s lifecycle from the project delivery method, the conceptual design, design and specification development, to the eventual demolition or deconstruction – and all steps in between.

Image credit: Thomas Leth-Olsen (flickr.com)

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