Construction Waste: It’s Toxic!

Waste is never considered a positive thing and while we know some types of waste are more dangerous than others, waste that occurs on a job site could be classified as downright “toxic.” Why do we say this? Well, first let’s define waste.  

 Waste is anything that the customer is not paying for. Construction waste occurs as a result of the processes and systems in place at any given job site and can be classified into 7 types of waste: 

  1. Waiting 
  2. Too Much 
  3. Too Fast 
  4. Talent 
  5. Transportation 
  6. Moving Materials 
  7. Rework 

Each of these types of waste lead to a loss of productivity, quality and/or safety and thus are toxic to the overall environment of the job.  

  1. Waiting  Waiting on a construction site can include waiting to be released, waiting for power, waiting for preliminary work to be completed, and any other time that work is delayed or postponed. Waiting can lead to: 
    • Lost man hours
    • Rework
    • Rushing to meet deadlines
  2. Too Much   Having the necessary materials and tools is critical to the success of any job, but having too much leads to waste. Too much detail, too many tools, too much material and other excesses lead to:
    • Distraction
    • Throwing away resources
    • Misplace resources
  3. Too Fast – Requesting fabrication before a job site is ready, crewing up before necessary, and early billing are examples of moving too fast. This can lead to: 
    • Missed Steps
    • Unnecessary pressure on shops and field
    • Rework and quality issues
  4. Talent Talent can be wasted when there is an inefficient or improper crew ratio, when the foreman is responsible for the wrong tasks or if the wrong skill level is assigned to a given task. Wasted talent and incorrect crew ratios can lead to: 
    • Lack of supervision
    • Poor morale
    • Unsafe conditions
  5. Transportation  Transportation waste can include things like multiple or excessive supply house trips, delivery schedule issues, failure to check permit requirements and inaccurate dimensions and weight of equipment.  These things can lead to:
    • Safety and quality issues
    • Missing schedule dates
    • Last minute filed stresses
  6. Moving Materials  Moving materials will always be a necessary task on a job site, but waste occurs whematerials have to be moved repeatedly or unnecessarily due to lack of trade coordination, no lay down yard or an extremely far away lay down yard, or excessively manual handling processes. These things can lead to:
    • Injuries
    • Lost materials
    • Damaged materials or equipment
  7. Rework – The leading causes of rework on job site include Owner changes, wrong information provided, lack of QA/QC and escalated schedule. Not only is rework expensive and wasteful, but it can lead to:
    • Safety hazards
    • Poor quality
    • Unhappy customer


Identifying and highlighting each of these types of waste on the front end may help to lessen or even eliminate their occurrence and thus make every job more efficient, more safe and more successful overall.  

McKenney’s is committed to eliminating construction waste and Moving Safety Forward. 



Have a question for our experts? Leave your comment below and check out our website for more information. 

About Jeremy Greenwell


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Jeremy Greenwell leads the Business Development efforts at McKenney’s, sourcing and managing solid relationships and a complex pipeline across a multi-market platform. Jeremy, an engineering graduate from the University of Kentucky, began his career working in project management for a prominent general contractor, then leading a division for a worldwide real estate organization focused on the acquisition, disposition and development of commercial properties. Throughout his career, Jeremy has been involved in over $900 Million of real estate, comprising 19 Million SF and spanning over 4,000 acres. At McKenney’s, he dedicates his time to relationship building and improving the connectivity between his colleagues and their diverse customer base.

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