GN6.3: Site Waste Management Plans

Guidance Note purpose 

The purpose of this Guidance Note is to provide guidance to asset managers, property managers and facilities managers in relation to the development of a Site Waste Management Plan. 


A Site Waste Management Plan documents how resource use and waste arising from construction works will be managed throughout a project.   

The requirement for Site Waste Management Plans originally came into force in April 2008 for all projects valued £300,000 and over.  While the requirement for Site Waste Management Plans was subsequently reversed in December 2013, Site Waste Management Plans are often prepared on a voluntary basis, and can play a central part in property development as well as fit-out and alteration works. 


The development of a Site Waste Management Plan represents good practice in environmental responsibility for a construction project. 

Site Waste Management Plans provide a useful management tool which can contribute towards quantifying and qualifying the way in which materials and waste will be dealt with.  They are able to support property rating and certification schemes, such as BREEAM, for example, and may be considered by local planning authorities during the planning application process. 

Site Waste Management Plans can: 

  • Contribute to the management of costs associated with the use and disposal of waste.  This, in turn, supports the reduction of financial and environmental costs associated with a project. 
  • Save time in responding to questions from regulators by providing evidence that waste is being dealt with in line with the Duty of Care, and other requirements. 
  • Support engagement with all stakeholders, internal and external, so that they are aware of how waste is managed, from the first principles of waste being generated, through to the transfer from site and disposal. 

Responsibilities & Interests

The table below summarises the key activities associated with Site Waste Management Plans, and highlights where asset managers, property managers and facilities managers are likely to have a responsibility or specific interest. 

  • AM - Asset Manager
  • PM - Property Manager
  • FM - Facilities Manager

Step 1: Planning  


Step 2: Responsibilities 


Step 3: Waste profile  


Step 3: Waste profile  


Step 4: Waste management 


Step 5: Licenses and permits 


Step 6: Organisation of waste 


Step 7: Training and communication 


Step 8: Measuring and monitoring 


Step 9: Update 


Step 10: Review 


Show less

How to



Usually, the decision to prepare a Site Waste Management Plan is taken by the property manager, and instructed to the contractor either directly or via the stakeholder responsible for the construction project.  

A site waste management plan must contain the following core requirements: 

  • The client name. 
  • The principle contractor name. 
  • The person who drafted the plan (this can be either the client, the principle contractor or a third party). 
  • The location details of the site. 
  • The estimate of the cost of the project. 
  • Details of decisions taken which will reduce the amount of waste generated. 
  • A description of each waste type expected to be generated. 
  • An estimate of the weight for each waste type. 
  • The waste management action for each of the waste streams. 
    • Reuse (either on-site or off- site). 
    • Recycling (through single waste stream or comingled and sorted off-site). 
    • Recovery (where the materials energy is recovered through thermal recovery or biological recovery). 
    • Disposal (either through landfill, incineration or other means). 

Successfully undertaking a Site Waste Management Plan involves considering the following ten steps:   

Step 1: Planning


A Site Waste Management Plan relies on good planning before construction work is carried out, from the very start of the concept and design stage of the project. 

The outcome from the following areas of consideration should be documented and included within the Site Waste Management Plan: 

  • The packaging of materials being used. 
  • Materials purchased to specification of the job with no on-site modification required. 
  • Storage space for segregated waste ensuring that good quality is maintained. 
  • The extent to which re-use on site possible. 

Step 2: Responsibilities


The overall responsibility for a Site Waste Management Plan must be allocated to a single individual involved in the project, although as the project develops, the allocation of this responsibility may change.  For example, from the client during the concept and design stage to the principle contractor at the delivery stage. 

The responsible person must understand the purpose of the Site Waste Management Plan and be empowered to compel others to cooperate with the Site Waste Management Plan process.  

Step 3: Waste profile


A Site Waste Management Plan must include an estimation of the types and quantity of waste, and the disposal options. 

This estimation should quantify expected waste generated as well as providing targets for waste to be re-used, recycled, recovered or disposed. Both on-site and off-site options for waste processing should be considered, as well as special arrangements for hazardous wastes.  

Step 4: Waste management arrangements


It is important that waste management arrangements are considered at all stages of the project and documented within the Site Waste Management Plan.  This should include methods for removing waste from site in a manner that may contribute towards achieving targets, as well as the location, timing and way in which waste removal will take place.   

A system to documents waste removals through waste transfer notes and consignment notes must be established. A Site Waste Management Plan should document a storage and retrieval system which enables these documents to be stored for the prescribed legal storage time limits, i.e.: 

  • Waste transfer notes– two years. 
  • Consignment notes – three years. 

Step 5: Licenses and permits


A Site Waste Management Plan should document the licenses and permits required for waste disposal. 

This should include the legal registration of waste carriers as well as the final location where waste is to be processed, along with evidence that the location is appropriately permitted for the activities which will be undertaken at the site.  

Step 6: Organisation of waste


It is important that the way in which waste is organized, from the planning stage through to project completion, is documented within a Site Waste Management Plan.  This can include the following considerations: 

  • The design process, for example, ‘build-off site’ and modular construction to minimize waste generation. 
  • The procurement process, for example, the quantities of material required, phasing of delivery and specification of packaging. 
  • Site logistics, for waste storage and segregation activities. 

Step 7: Training and communication


A Site Waste Management Plan must be kept up-to-date and be stored in a location which is accessible to all project stakeholders.  It is important that training, instruction and communication is provided in a way that is relevant to project stakeholders’ roles and their responsibilities in delivering the project. 

A site orientation for contractors and sub-contractors should include the arrangements set out within the Site Waste Management Plan and the on-site infrastructure and equipment used to managed waste.  

Step 8: Measurement, monitoring


It is important that a system is developed to evaluate the extent to which a Site Waste Management Plan is being implemented as intended.  This may include, for example, audits, spot checks, monitoring waste receptacles and observing operating procedures.  

All waste removed from site must be documented in-line with the legal requirements using both waste transfer notes and consignment notes where required.  These documents can be referenced to calculate the weight and volume of waste generated and to monitor its destination. 

Regular reporting against waste targets should be established to monitor the performance of the project, to develop associated improvement actions, and to inform future works. 

Step 9: Update


A Site Waste Management Plan should be updated regularly throughout the project lifecycle, and in the event of a significant change in the project plan. 

Updates are usually co-ordinated by the principle contractor, due to their close proximity to the project and stakeholders  

Step 10: Review


When a project is completed a Site Waste Management Plan should be reviewed, including an evaluation of the generation of waste and extent to which targets have been achieved.  The principle contractor should provide the following information as part of this review:    

  • Confirmation that the Site Waste Management Plan has been monitored and updated throughout the project. 
  • An explanation of any changes made to the Site Waste Management Plan throughout its operation. 
  • A comparison between the estimates (made initially in the identification of waste) and the actual quantities of waste (monitored and reported throughout the project). 
  • An estimate of any cost savings realised through waste management. 

Following completion of the review, A Site Waste Management Plan can be circulated to stakeholders as evidence of the projects’ waste outcomes and to inform the waste plans of future. 

Site Waste Management Plans should be kept for at least two years after completion either on site and/or by the principle contractor. 

Related Guidance Notes 

The following Guidance Notes contain related information: 

Additional Resources