[This article was originally published in September 2018 and has been expanded and revised.]
Winter is coming but construction is still happening in many places. However, construction debris removal is challenging in cold weather. What can you do?
It's fall now, but winter is soon coming upon us. And, while the weather will be changing, in many locations the construction work continues.
Cleaning Up Construction Debris in the Cold - What Fun!
In many states, such as California and those in the Southwest, often the construction industry still manages to keep building through most of the winter months.
Regardless of whether it’s a large commercial project or smaller residential jobs, this also means that construction debris removal is still going to be needed for all the trash that to be hauled off.
This includes the trash from material packaging, cutoffs of material, scrap, demolition debris, and other types of waste materials. These are, or course, the normal by-products of any construction (or demolition) project.
And cleaning all this up, hauling it out, and disposing of it is something that you usually do grudgingly. In fact, debris removal is a not really a job anyone wants to do.
But it has to be done!
A Strategic Option for Your Construction Debris Removal
There are probably only a few options for most contractors when it comes to construction debris removal.
For those larger, enterprise level construction companies, it may seem far more feasible and economical to use their own resources and manpower to clean and haul away their debris. In fact, some large firms have people and equipment just for that task.
But it is still an undesirable chore.
However, not every contractor wants to be constantly stuck with doing their own construction debris hauling. This is because the task is time-consuming and takes resources away from the actual building work. In other words, anyone from his crew that's engaged in cleaning up the job site is not working on the building side of the job.
One common option is to hire a local person with an available truck ready to make a few bucks. It sounds great and local guys with trucks are often easy to find. It can, however, be risky for you and often inefficient. Depending on what's in your debris, there can be issues with hazardous waste and the added risk of improper dumping of your waste materials and potential liabilities.
The most efficient and cost-effective option is to outsource your debris removal and hauling to a professional junk hauling service.
What You Need to Know When Outsourcing Your Construction Debris Removal
Even though a business promotes itself as a professional junk hauling service, you need to know that not all junk haulers are the same. Not everyone offers or even really knows how to properly handle construction debris. And any contractor knows that there is more to it than simply loading a truck and dumping it somewhere.
With that in mind, here are some features to look for when hiring a junk hauling firm:
A free onsite estimate
One thing that a quality junk removal firm will not do is to simply give you an estimate over the phone for this type of work. Instead, they will come to your site and work with you to determine the scope of the work involved, the frequency needed, and the potential volume of debris that will be produced.
A proper estimate should include all phases of the removal work including any recurring pick-ups and removal. By the way, simply getting a flat fee from a company website is a good indication that the company is not experienced with removing construction waste.
Site clean-up services as well as debris hauling
It’s fairly simple to only pick up construction debris and haul it off. However, it is quite another thing altogether to clean up a construction site, as well. While you cannot expect a debris hauling company to "dust and vacuum" everything, a professional firm will make sure that the site is left in a state that is safe and clean.
This is important since one of the biggest safety hazards on any construction project is the loose debris lying around on the job site. In fact, clutter and construction debris on a job site is one of the major causes of trips and falls. These types of accidents can be costly on many levels. Sadly, most of them are also easily prevented.
Both one-time and recurring debris pick-up and removal
Contractors know that larger construction projects take longer to complete and, as a result, can generate regular amounts of debris over the length of the job. In addition, on a large job the trash and material is produced in quantities that cannot be left to the end of the job.
What this means is that you will probably need a number of scheduled pick-ups and removal throughout the life of the building process. In addition, depending on the location of the project and the nature of the work, some periodic clean-ups may be required for both aesthetic and public safety reasons.
Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle Construction Materials and Debris
As a contractor you know that the easiest way to get rid of your construction waste is to simply have it hauled off and dumped somewhere. And being dumped in a landfill is still the most straightforward approach to pursue, nonetheless.
But, fortunately, that's not the only approach.
Another option for contractors and job site managers is to reuse as much of the waste material as possible through deconstruction. No matter whether you reuse it, or it's processed to be sold or used elsewhere, repurposing your construction debris can be highly practical.
Much of the more common materials used in construction, or potentially recovered during demolition, can be reused. The market for a variety of refurbished or recycled building materials is huge and growing.
[Graphic courtesy of ResourceCentral.org]
In addition to being better for the planet, better for the construction industry, and better for a contractor's bottom line, deconstruction can help reduce construction debris disposal costs.
According to an article that has been cited dozens of times,
Deconstruction can help offset the disposal costs of building removal, in addition to reducing the volume of waste destined for landfills. Landfill tipping fees vary considerably around the United States, so the economic advantages of deconstruction will also vary. The U.S. Army’s Twin Cities Army Arsenal in St. Paul, Minnesota, saved over $70,000 in transportation and tipping fees while salvaging 1.5 million board feet (BF) of lumber from
the deconstruction of a large industrial building (Lantz and Falk 1999). More holistically, the reuse of lumber products will help conserve our natural resources and ease harvesting pressure on the existing forest resource.
Instead, as the EPA has reported, structures that are demolished each year in the United States are the source of over 90 percent of the total waste from construction, averaging around 534 million tons annually.
Here's a graphic snapshot illustrating some C&D waste statistics:
Construction Debris Removal: Keeping It Safe
While the idea that removing construction debris can help minimize the dangers of accidents might seem like obvious, it is too often a task that gets overlooked.
Conscientious contractors look for ways to reduce their overhead while maintaining worker safety and building quality. Much of this can be accomplished by lowering labor and material costs. However, the challenge is in speeding up the construction process without sacrificing safety since a hurt or injured worker can cost not only time, but money.
As a result, the best contractors are proactive when it comes to best practices in construction safety. And safety management includes a construction site that is kept as clean as possible.
A large part of site safety is keeping construction debris to a minimum. It may not seem like a dangerous thing to fall from a few feet, or simply trip over some loose debris, but it's exactly these types of "minor" accidents that make up the majority of fall injuries and even construction deaths.
The Number One Cause of Construction Accidents
While it is a given that someone falling from a tall building or structure is going to be badly hurt, if not killed outright. But the vast majority of injuries and deaths on construction sites don't involve tall building or excessive heights.
According to OSHA statistics, over 20 percent of worker fatalities were in construction and, of those, between 40 to 60 percent were caused by falls. And construction debris was to blame for a many of those falls.
OSHA also found that almost half of all fatal falls resulted from falls of 20 feet or less, and many of these were from heights of less than six feet! Part of the reason for this is that the average person’s reaction time is about half a second, which is about the time it takes to fall four feet. Falling six feet means it is almost impossible for someone react and possibly break their fall.
In addition to the speed of falling, when a person falls their impact force increases.
For example, if a 200-pound man falls a full six feet will hit the ground with almost 10,000 pounds of force. If he falls on clear, solid ground, this can even be fatal. Unfortunately, there can also be debris that the worker can fall on.
Broken concrete, rebar, metal cutoffs and lumber can often cause more damage than the fall itself.
Most of these potential hazards can be eliminated by regularly cleaning and removing construction waste, debris and rubble. Simply keeping a consistently cleared and clean job site can vastly reduce the potential for trips, falls, and other related accidents.
By minimizing work accidents on the job site you will also help
reduce paperwork, avoid losing costly labor hours, or incurring insurance and medical costs. And you may quite possibly save a life, as well.
Outsourcing Construction Debris Removal as a Business Tactic
One of the common problems for many contractors is that they don't have the time or the manpower to spare for continually cleaning up their job sites. The good news is that they don't have to. Maintaining regular construction debris removal is much simpler when it's outsourced.
For most construction projects, for example, the ideal set up is to have a series of debris clean ups and removal. When this is outsourced to a reliable, professional firm the clean-up and removal can be scheduled and carried out with minimal disruption to the construction job.
Not only that, but outsourcing your construction debris removal allows you to keep your crew working on the productive part of your project, which is building, not cleaning.
Trash hauling and site clean-up is normally considered “part of the job” for contractors and their crews, but it doesn’t have to be. One way to look at the benefits of outsourcing is to consider that every hour your crew spends picking up debris, cleaning the site, and hauling and disposing of the material, is an hour NOT spent generating revenue on a project. This is known as "opportunity costs".
The bigger your job, the more the opportunity costs add up.
Add to that the possible costs of required disposal training for your employees, the benefits of outsourcing these tasks become more attractive. There is often much more to construction waste removal than simply tossing it all into the back of a truck. Knowing what can be disposed of legally and where is a big part of what makes a professional firm a smart and cost-effective choice.
Simply having your guys take everything to the local landfill – assuming there is one – is not always the most cost-effective means of disposal either. In fact, construction debris recycling and the re-purposing of many construction items and materials is a more responsible approach for a business to take.
Your local agencies, as well as the Federal and State agencies, have specific requirements for the proper handling and disposal of various materials and substances. This means that whoever is ultimately removes and disposes of construction debris must be knowledgeable in this area.
All of which is why Junk King specializes in construction debris removal.
Junk King: Construction Debris Removal Done Right
New construction, renovations, and remodels can all result in large amounts of construction debris, waste and junk material that must be removed and disposed of.
And, unless you have a spare truck and the workers to spare, all this rubble and debris will have to be loaded and hauled off some other way.
Of course, winter weather and conditions also make this job that much tougher in many situations.
But there's good news" There is a better way to manage your worksite debris cleanup and removal. Simply call on the professional construction debris removal pros at Junk King.
The full-service approach is arguably the easiest and perhaps quickest solution for your construction waste removal needs.
Make an appointment with us and our crew will come out to your job site once when you're finished and remove all the piles of debris and waste materials. Or we can even make a few trips for you as you work through your project.
Additionally, you can also make use of one of our MINI Dumpster rentals.
Our large-capacity (12-cubic yards) but user-friendly roll-off dumpster rentals can be used to "stage" and contain all your construction debris until you're ready to have us come and pick it up for removal.
Either way, construction waste removal from your winter commercial or residential building project can be easy and affordable.
So, ready to get rid of construction waste? It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.
Our professional and insured junk removal team will call 15 to 30 minutes before we arrive at your job site and we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your debris will take up in our truck.
Make an appointment with Junk King today by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).