Controlling dust from construction and demolition activity

Nuisance dust emissions from construction, demolition and other civil engineering activities are a common problem. Fine particles (less than 10 mm in diameter, known as PM10) from these sources are also now recognised as significant local sources of pollution. Owing to their small size, they can be carried long distances from sites even in light winds and may therefore have an adverse effect on the local environment and on the health of local residents, as well as on those working on the site.
Under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 and the UK Air Quality Strategy, Local Authorities are required to work towards achieving national air quality objectives. Construction site operators will therefore need to demonstrate that both nuisance dust and fine particle emissions from their sites are adequately controlled and are within acceptable limits.
In collaboration with the construction industry and regulatory authorities, BRE is developing best practice guides to help contractors reduce dust emissions from construction and demolition activities. The project which began in August 2000 is scheduled to run for two and a half years and will culminate in Spring 2003 with the publication of the guides. The project is funded by DTI (formally DETR) and industrial partners under the Partners in Innovation Programme.
As well as developing the best practice guides, the project also seeks to fill two important gaps in current knowledge. The project team has prepared a report of the numbers and range of particle generating equipment used in construction. It will also attempt to quantify the impact of particle generation by monitoring the processes and activities carried out on a construction site, including demolition.
Feedback is crucial to the success of this project. If the ensuing guidance is to be readily adopted, it must be practical to implement and not impose undue cost. To this end, a Steering Group, made up of contractors and other members of the construction industry, is providing strategic guidance throughout the various stages of the project. Delegates on the project’s training workshops will also be invited to give their views on how the problem can best be handled. The issues of noise and vaporous discharges are also being dealt with as part of a complementary BRE project.

Progress so far
  • Initial best practice guidance has been produced and is due to be published shortly.
  • The report of dust generating equipment has been compiled.
  • Monitoring of a construction site started in July 2001.
  • The first training workshop has been held.

Next steps

  • Further training workshops.

  • Detailed monitoring of a construction site for 6 months.

  • Publication of results from the site monitoring.

  • Publication of Best Practice Guides for dust, noise and vapour control.

Project Team to date

Cementitious Slag Makers Association
Marley Building Materials Ltd
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
Land Securities plc
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Casella Ltd
AMEC plc
ETI Group Ltd
Bristol Industrial and Research Ltd
Taywood Engineering
WSP Environmental

If you would like to join the project and thereby gain first hand knowledge of progress made, receive reports and influence the content of the best practice guides, please contact Dr Vina Kukadia at BRE:
Tel: 01923 664878
Fax: 01923 664443