Select Committee on Environmental Audit Written Evidence


Memorandum from the National Federation of Demolition Contractors

  Whilst my comments may seem rather removed from "Building A Sustainable Future" I truly believe we must look at the whole picture and ensure the views of the Demolition Industry are considered.

  The Demolition Industry has had a long association with recycling and reclamation. Even during Roman times, materials from demolished buildings "bricks, tiles, timbers" were often reused in new construction truly achieving a sustainable future.

  However, today modern construction materials are not as readily recyclable as historic and traditional materials. Whilst average demolition recycling figures are high "between 70% & 85% by weight of structures demolished" the remaining fraction of un-recycled material would appear to be increasing, particularly when the more recently constructed buildings are demolished using modern deconstruction methods.

  For example, materials such as:

    —  Pre-cast floor beams with a polystyrene centre core which cannot be removed contaminating the concrete as it is prepared for crushing.

    —  Composite materials which cannot be separated for recycling, roof sheets, wall panels.

    —  Very high tensile reinforcement wire, which will not be accepted into the scrap process as it can cause damage to shear blades.

  All of the above materials would certainly not be classified as sustainable so far as Demolition Contractors are concerned. We would urge that consideration be given to the more widespread use of traditional building materials that are tried and tested.

  In fact, the Demolition Industry and The National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) would welcome legislation along the lines of the ELVD as an "End of life Building Directive" is considered the best mechanism to encourage and ensure a truly sustainable future for future generations.

  The NFDC, through its representation on numerous Committees, works tirelessly to encourage the development of more effective recycling methods and would welcome the opportunity to contribute to the "Sustainable Future" debate.

  The NFDC Membership is audited annually to determine and report the extent of recycling activities carried out, with a submissions made to the ODMP, WRAP and BRE and sets itself high standards with respect to informing and training its Membership and their Operatives on safe working and environmentally friendly initiatives.

June 2004

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