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Getting trades to reduce waste & labour costs

2 min read: A site manager observed that his team were spending approximately £600 in labour costs per house to load out materials and clear waste from the tradesmen.

There's heaps of behavioural studies available that demonstrate increased use of bins when they are made more readily available and so it was not surprise when after learning a little bit about behavioural science and speaking to the guys he decided to make the behaviour of the tradesmen clearing up after themselves more likely by providing bins in every house.

Initially they introduced the bins for the tradesmen to put their waste into but still used the labourers to load materials and then to clear the bins. Whilst this worked and reduced the amount of time clearing we were still spending approximately £500 per unit. They then decided to test the impact of having the tradesmen start loading their own materials. Now that the tradesmen were loading and clearing their own materials they found that waste had reduced from 2 jumbo plasterboard bags down to 1 bag, or from 3 tip skips down to 1. Waste had been reduced as they found that the tradesmen didn't overload their own houses, only loading what they needed. They were also leaving units much cleaner for following trades.

An average project might consist of 100 units. At a £250 saving per unit, just by making some relatively simple changes to the work environment they identified the opportunity to save a potential £25k per project in labour costs.

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