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Sustainable planning and recycling onsite benefits JHL Civil

JHL Civil, a pipeline construction contractor working in the water industry, has had first-hand experience with reaping the rewards of eliminating waste on the construction site.

Sustainability is becoming an increasingly prominent consideration in the planning of a carbon budget for pipeline construction.

Plans for new carbon emission calculator

JHL Civil Executive Director Marcus van Enk is working with four Victoria University fourth year civil engineering students to establish a carbon emission calculator that will assist pipeline contractors to budget and improve their tracking of carbon emissions. JHL Civil has taken this a step further by working with an innovative, forward-thinking technology company, Autolync, to automate the capture process for plant and equipment using global positioning system technology.

This tool will eventually be provided for trial in the civil contracting community of the industry.

Furthermore, these studies have identified a number of reports that clearly articulate that the use of directional drilling and plough-in methods of pipeline installation produce less carbon emissions than traditional open-cut methods.

Driving sustainable initiatives

Sustainable initiatives such as these can be driven by the contractor, however, it is believed that much more can be gained by clients requesting and approving the trialling and piloting of recycled products and giving additional consideration to those contractors who are willing to purchase advanced, sustainability-improving equipment.

Until such time, sustainability will remain a niche benefit, with the majority of the industry missing out on the true benefits that could be gained by implementing a more sustainable plan of action.

The construction industry is accountable for a third of Australia’s gross waste. According to the Productivity Commission, the Australian recycling rate of 35 per cent is almost half that of Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, which recycle 61 per cent, 60 per cent, 56 per cent and 56 per cent of their waste respectively.

Waste elimination is not only one of the most effective ways of providing environmental and social benefits, but can also increase the profitability of businesses, where effective project management outcomes are systematically collected and reportable.

Application to Barwon Water project

JHL Civil first implemented its recycling strategy and sustainable planning with a recycled water pipeline project that was constructed through the Anglesea National Park for Barwon Water in Victoria.

The major client requirement for this project was the contractor’s ability to manage construction through the Great Otway National Park and the Anglesea Heath National Heritage Area with minimal impact to the surrounding parks, both of which are highly environmentally sensitive sites for pipeline construction.

Taking a strong approach to recycling in an effort to overcome the major constraints, the planning phase of the project produced a number of solutions, including:

  • Constructing the project with a single chain trencher rather than a number of large excavators to minimise disruption to the adjacent ground;
  • Re-using the spoil as bedding and backfill via screening and “˜losing’ any excess material over the road via a grader;
  • Changing the pipeline alignment to minimise detrimental traffic flows over the surrounding area; and,
  • Using recycled water for compaction and pressure testing.

All of these implemented solutions provided a 100 per cent recycling result of all project waste.

Application to City West Water project

Expanding on this approach, JHL Civil reduced the amount of landfill waste on another recycled water pipeline project for City West Water in Altona, Victoria.

The construction team in Altona undertook a detailed waste analysis of the project and, drawing on previous experience, deployed three recycling bins for plastics, timber and polyethylene pipe off-cuts. As a result, approximately 70 per cent of waste normally sent to landfill was saved and recycled on the project.

Due to these positive findings, JHL Civil is looking to manage this process in real time, and use this for industry benchmarking and client differentiation.

JHL Civil awarded waste-wise recognition

JHL Civil has been awarded the status of Bronze level in the Waste Wise Business program conducted by Melbourne Waste Management Group on behalf of Sustainability Victoria.

In accepting the award in November 2011, Mr van Enk commented that JHL Civil’s operations had for many years been operated using waste-conscious strategies and that to be recognised now as being waste-wise is a great achievement.

The award is for two years duration when JHL will have to undertake an audit to demonstrate continued improvement in waste management issues to maintain the title of Waste Wise Business.

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