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Site waste management plans

In England , from 6 April 2008, you must have a site waste management plan (SWMP) for all new construction projects worth more than £300,000.

If a project is planned before 6 April 2008 and construction work begins before 1 July 2008, you will not need to produce a SWMP.

If you are in Northern Ireland , Scotland or Wales , you do not yet need to have a SWMP.  However, following the procedure could help you to reduce the amount of waste you produce and will help you manage your waste more effectively. SWMPs are being promoted as an example of best practice in the construction industry.

What you must do

England -
If the project you are working on is costed at more than £300,000 (excluding VAT), do not start work unless there is a SWMP in place. 

The cost of the project is agreed between the principal contractor and client at tender.  If you are unsure of the cost of your project, you can get an estimated average price calculation for different building types using data available in BCIS online or by purchasing the BCIS Quarterly Review of Building Prices.

Each project should have one SWMP. 

A SWMP is a live document.  It must be updated through the course of the project. 

Because it is produced at the very beginning of a project, the designer can consider ways that waste can be reduced and site-gained materials can be reused or recycled as part of the project.  Identifying at waste materials at an early stage that can not be reused on that project will make it easier to find other alternative uses for them. 

Who's responsible for the SWMP?

If you are the client , you are responsible for:

  • producing the initial SWMP before construction work begins

  • appointing the principal contractor

  • passing the SWMP to the principal contractor

  • updating the SWMP at least every three months if you decide to manage the project yourself.

If you are the principal contractor , you are responsible for:

  • obtaining relevant information from sub-contractors

  • updating the SWMP at least every three months as the project progresses

  • keeping the SWMP on site during the project

  • ensuring that other contractors know where the SWMP is kept

  • allowing other contractors and the client access to the SWMP during the project

  • handing the completed SWMP back to the client at the end of the project

  • keeping a copy of the SWMP for two years.

What should the SWMP contain?

The level of detail that your SWMP should contain depends on the estimated build cost, excluding VAT. 

For projects estimated at between £300,000 and £500,000 (excluding VAT) the SWMP should contain details of the:

  • types of waste removed from the site

  • identity of the person who removed the waste

  • site that the waste is taken to.

For projects estimated at over £500,000 (excluding VAT) the SWMP should contain details of the:

  • types of waste removed from the site

  • identity of the person who removed the waste and their waste carrier registration number

  • a description of the waste

  • site that the waste was taken to

  • environmental permit or exemption held by the site where the material is taken.

At the end of the project, you must review the plan and record the reasons for any differences between the plan and what actually happened.

You must still comply with the duty of care for waste.  Because you will need to record all waste movements in one document, having a SWMP will help you to ensure you comply with the duty of care.

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