Friday, July 22, 2011

what you don’t see

Notice the conspicuous absence of a dumpster.

One big advantage to prefabrication is that it significantly reduces construction waste. The primary structure is nearly complete, and so far the crew has only had to dispose of a few tiny pieces of scrap steel. The foundation and slab were poured with a minimum of waste (most of the wood forms were taken away to be reused) and the utilities were roughed in with only a couple of cardboard boxes worth of scrap pipe needing to be carted away.

The benefits of minimizing waste are pretty easy to see. Less scrap means less virgin material needs to be felled, mined and drilled. It means less finished material needs to be manufactured. It means less material needs to be buried or burned. And it means a lot less trips by truck, train and ship to move around materials that were never needed in the first place.

We’ll start producing waste once we begin installing the exterior wall panels, which need to be field cut, and start installing the interior partitions, which are conventional metal-stud-and-drywall walls. At that point, we’ll begin sorting the off cuts into recyclable and non-recyclable piles. It is possible we’ll complete construction without filling an entire dumpster.

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