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Create Site Waste Management Plans SWMPs in Easy Steps

Site Waste Management Plans Easy Steps


Construction Site Waste Management Plans were originally compulsory (in England only) and were introduced, in April 2008, by the UK government. As part of simplifying government regulation statutory enforcement, this has changed. Refer to UK government websites for up to date details on that aspect, however, this article still remains relevant otherwise. (Autumn 2014 update.)

These plans will assist the government in its determination to find ways to control the scourge of fly-tipping, and for the first time the SWMPs will have to be produced as evidence that the waste producer, in this case normally the principal contractor, has complied with their Waste Duty of Care, to ensure proper responsible disposal of the materials leaving construction sites under their control.

For the public this alone, if it works, will redeem the decision to introduce this measure.

For the contractor this is another chore to add to the list of statutory record keeping duties and another area in which he may fall foul of the regulations. So what will principal contractors get out of this?

Surprisingly, quite a lot! This is the message according to the research on the actual findings of the voluntary users of SWMPs.

The early adopters of SWMPs have found that by placing additional thought and energy into assessing their waste arisings from each project, and re-using, minimising, and even innovating new uses for their project generated waste, it has been possible to reduce disposal, and make significant savings in costs.

For contract valued at above £250,000 these benefits were found to exceed the cost of producing and maintaining the SWMP.

How to Comply With SWMP Regulations in 9 Easy Steps

Update: This article and video are now out of date from the point of view of statutory enforcement. Statutory enforcement has been relaxed. Refer elsewhere for the up to date statutory requirements. (Updated Autumn 2014)

We have compiled a 9 minute video (also available on YouTube), which you should watch by clicking on the image below, and explains the ‘9 Easy Steps to Prepare a SWMP’. We recommend that you watch it now.

Transcript of the Above Video commentary: for those without broadband

construction hat 4This is Steve from with my version of “How to Comply with the Site Waste Management Plan” requirements.

Production of SWMPs, which has until April 2008 been purely voluntary, becomes a statutory requirement after that date.Back hoe SWMP site

So, anyone who is planning construction project should watch this short video.

I am going to is to explain the new English Law that Requires all construction projects over £300,000 to have a Site Waste Management Plan in place and regularly updated and available for inspection.

Take heed. This is important. Don’t just listen to this. You must also refer to the official documents to ensure your compliance.

We are told that Local Authorities and the Environment Agency will enforce the regulations which relate to SWMPs and they will impose penalties for failure to make, keep or produce a SWMP.

The statutory legislation comes into force in April 2008. Depending upon when you are watching this the regulations are pending or will be in-force. So take care to with scarf and toque holding a sign 2

Just who needs to produce and maintain the SWMP is not something I am going to discuss in this video. It is explained on the official web sites and also on

Now here is the step by step guidance Guidance issued originally by  DTI (now BERR) roughly as published as a guidance document giving the nine important steps to producing a SWMP (pre-Defra’s consultation which took place between April and July 2007):

Step 1 – Identify who is responsible for producing the SWMP and ensuring that it is followed.

Every SWMP must include details of the person who drafted it, the person in charge of the project and (if one has been appointed) the contractor’s identity.

If there is more than one contractor, details of the principal contractor must be included.crane 10

The SWMP must be kept either at the site office or, if there is no site office, on site and it must be kept there for at least two years after completion of the project.

Step 2 – Identify the different types and quantities of waste that will be produced by the project at all stages.

Step 3 – identify the waste management options and note any changes in the design and materials specification that seek to minimise this waste. Consider how to re-use, recycle or recover the different wastes produced by the project.

Step 4 – Identify waste management sites and contractors for all wastes that require the companies to demonstrate that they are complying with the Duty of Care regime and recording the quantities of waste produced.Stack of bricks at Site Waste Management Plan site

Step 5 – Implement and carry out any necessary training of internal and external staff to ensure that everyone understands the requirements of the SWMP.

Step 6 – Plan for efficient materials and waste handling, and do this early enough bearing in mind any constraints imposed by the site and its location.

The Solid Waste management Plan must also describe the construction he site and its location.

It must also describe:

  • the construction works proposed, including the location of the site and estimated value, and
  • record decisions made before the SWMP was drafted on the nature of the project, its design, construction method or materials employed.

Step 7 – Measure the quantity and type of waste produced comparing these against the SWMP to ensure that the wastes are properly managed and lessons learned for next time a SWMP is produced.

Two girls reading a bookAll figures should be recorded on the datasheet. Every time waste is removed from the site the SWMP must be updated with further information, including:

  • type of waste removed
  • destination site
  • identity of the waste management contractor removing the waste.

The principal contractor must, within a month of completion, record on the SWMP a statement confirming that the plan has been monitored on a regular basis to
ensure that work has progressed in accordance with the plan.

Step 8 – Monitor the implementation of the SWMP to ensure that it is being followed and be prepared to update plans if circumstances change.

Step 9 – Review success of the SWMP at the end of the project, identifying learning points for future reference.

As I said at the start. Local authorities and the Environment Agency will enforce SWMPs and they will impose penalties for failure to make, keep or produce a SWMP.” Man dropping computer into bin

The statutory legislation comes into force in April 2008.

If you want to comment about the new rules or to say something about this video, please do. Click through to my YouTube membership area and use the comment box below the video player.

If you would like information about:-

 a) assistance with SWMP training for your company,


b) assistance with writing your SWMPs

from waste management experts who are highly experienced in waste minimisation, re-use, and recyling, and in the aspects of the UK waste management legislation and issues such as:-House under construction

  • when is a material a waste under the regulations
  • what comprises hazardous waste/special waste etc,

then do contact me via my email address on the contact page here at and I will be delighted to put you in touch with experienced experts


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