5 Ways to Reduce Wasted Materials in the Field and in Your Shop
Written By EVOLVE
There is a lot of waste that can build up in the construction process. From physical factors such as unused materials, to nonphysical factors like time, money, and energy, production processes can often lead to a buildup of waste. While waste cannot be avoided at times, there are still things you can do to decrease the amount of waste. Continue reading for tips on how to reduce wasted materials in both the field and your shop.
5 Ways to Reduce Waste
  1. Cut down on-site time. 
One way to reduce your waste is by cutting down on-site time. When a lot of time is spent at the construction site, it leads to using more materials than are necessary. It also allows for more opportunities for materials to be misplaced or stolen which will require you to re-purchase materials. But you can minimize this loss by starting a fabrication shop which will allow you to work on construction products offsite. Because you are working on the project offsite, in a controlled environment, you can keep better track of your inventory and minimize the loss of materials. You will also end up saving a significant amount of time by building some parts offsite.
  1. Enhance knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer.
In the construction industry, many teams rely on one another to successfully complete a project. Miscommunication or a lack of communication can quickly increase time, money, and energy put towards a build. This is why it’s so important to communicate effectively with the entire sector. Start by bringing on team members earlier in the planning process. Make sure that there is a clear understanding of the communication hierarchy and agreed-upon means of communication. Communication from team leaders should be frequent and regular. Consider doing daily and/or weekly team calls or meetings. There are also a number of options for software that can help with sharing information and team communication. See tip #5 for more details.
  1. List all of the processes your team needs to carry out to reach the anticipated outcome.
Another way to reduce the time spent on a project is by listing out the processes needed throughout the project to reach the anticipated outcome. Work with your team to create a detailed timeline and list of tasks. Include the materials you will need and where those materials will need to be, and at what times. Although this may be extra work, putting in this effort before the project begins will help you stay organized along the way. When the whole team clearly understands the timeline, tasks, goals and the materials needed at each stage of the project, you will be more likely to complete on time and on budget.
  1. Look for any processes that need improvements and manage those.
It can be easy to follow a routine but always be looking for new ways to optimize your construction projects. While you’re putting together step-by-step processes, it is important to look for any processes that may need improvement. These are processes that may not have gone well in previous projects, or processes that may not be needed anymore. This can also include materials that are not helpful or necessary anymore. Identify ways in which you can make the most of your labor without cutting corners on safety or quality. By improving or omitting some of these processes you can help to cut down on time spent at the construction site and materials used on the project.
  1. Utilize technology. 
Technology is making its way into everything that society does. It has proven to improve organization, communication and knowledge transfer but it also has applications that are specific to the MEP industry that can help minimize waste. BIM design software has revolutionized the MEP industry. By using 3D design and modeling software teams can optimize the work of designing for architecture, construction, plant, civil, and MEP projects. Programs such as Revit help make better design decisions and improve building performance for greater predictability and profitability of workflows. This helps to minimize waste and maximize profits.
If you are currently using Revit, check out EVOLVE. EVOLVE is a software and service company committed to the construction industry. It helps improve profitability and visibility for trade contractors by aligning teams on a single platform. Schedule a demo today.

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