BIM and operational waste management in buildings
This research was led by Dr Ricardo Codinhoto of the University of Bath, with funding from the Royal Charter International Research Award 2018 – of which Dr Codinhoto was a co-winner. The Awards is supported by the BRE Trust and the Worshipful Company of Constructors.
With huge volumes of waste being generated in the UK and landfill space increasingly scarce, the project explored the potential for using building information modelling (BIM) to improve operational waste management in buildings. The use of BIM in building design and construction phases is well established, but its use in the operation and management of buildings is still at a very early stage.
Bath University – with its 118 buildings, 20,000 occupants and annual waste generation of 280 tonnes – was used by the project team to represent a mini-city, in which the flows of people, waste and waste services, and the geometry of the buildings, could be modelled.
The aims of this work included finding ways of improving the efficiency of waste collection, and of identifying waste generation ‘hotspots’ where interventions could most effectively be made to reduce waste.
Among the project’s conclusions were that a digital system could support the reduction of waste generation, and the Internet of Things could be used to increase the accuracy of waste management systems. However, the current waste information available is not generally sufficient to produce effective operational waste management models. If waste information collection was expanded, meaningful interventions are possible that could improve collection efficiency and reduce waste generation.