An independent Midlands housebuilder is challenging the UK construction industry to follow its lead by drastically reducing the number of plastic drinking bottles thrown in skips on building sites every week.
Karl Lockley, joint managing director of Lockley Homes, which is based in Warwickshire, said that it was seeing Wimbledon and Glastonbury watering points on TV which made them question their own approach to water for their onsite construction staff.
“It may seem obvious now, but it was only when I looked in the skip by the entrance to our latest development, Kingsbrooke in Colwall in Herefordshire, that I realised the extent of the issue.
“Our staff and visiting contractors had been throwing away around 200-300 bottles a week, ranging from 0.5 litre to 1.5 litre water bottles and also plastic energy drink bottles purchased from corner shops and supermarkets on their way into work.”
He said that material thrown in to skips is generally building waste so does not contribute to recycling and so the plastic bottles thrown away would simply bring added pressure on landfill sites.
“We decided we should do something about it and so, at our own expense, we bought and branded 250 Lockley Homes drinking bottles and offered them to all our staff.
“The response from our staff has been absolutely brilliant and the number of bottles now seen in skips at the end of the week has fallen off a cliff.”
He said that while many construction companies were keen to address recycling issues, pressure on time and space often meant good intentions never came to pass.
“We hope our example will be taken up by other construction companies, in the way that plastic bags usage from supermarkets has changed.”
The latest figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reveal that since a 5p charge on plastic bags was introduced in October 2015, the number of bags purchased has dropped by 90%.
The average consumer now buys just ten bags a year from the main supermarket retailers, compared to 140 bags a year in 2014 before the 5p charge came into force.
Karl Lockley said: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our example could lead to a change in plastic bottle use, similar to these figures?
“And our staff have soon cottoned on to the fact that they are saving money as well as the planet by refilling their Lockley Homes water bottle on site, instead of spending several pounds a week on bottled water. They can fill the bottles with drinks of their choice and of course fresh water is available on site.
“It’s a win-win, and has encouraged us all to look for further savings and recycling opportunities we can make on our sites.”
Now Lockley Homes is seeking further ways to cut waste.
Karl Lockley said the building industry is notorious for the amount of plastic waste it produces, particularly for product packaging.
“We are working with suppliers to see where else plastic use can be reduced, and we are also adopting more sustainable building methods.
“The industry is very concrete heavy and carbon heavy, but we are seeking to change this going forward.”
On its next project, where Lockley Homes is building eight properties at Marmalade Lane in Honeybourne, the company is using environmentally friendly timber frame construction across the whole site for the first time.
Karl Lockley said: “This is part of our fabric first approach to building. If you build a better, more air tight home in the first place, it requires less energy.”
Founded in 2010 by Tom and Karl Lockley, Lockley Homes is an independent housebuilder with a growing reputation for producing luxury accommodation, particularly for its bungalow developments which are bucking the industry trend for maximum units on every site.
On all Lockley Homes projects, during the course of construction, Build Control and Premier Guarantee independently survey each property and, upon satisfactory structural completion, issue a ten year Premier warranty. And for extra peace of mind, every new home comes with a two year Lockley Homes Customer Care period.
In nine years, since its inception, Lockley Homes has never had a construction claim.
Lockley Homes is currently developing Kingsbrooke, an exclusive development of just ten luxury homes in Colwall, Herefordshire, which includes four of its new “Sky Bungalow” concept.