SustainabilityChallenge for Civil Engineering
Theneed to use renewable resources at the expense of natural resourcesis one that has preoccupied engineers for a long time. Increasingwaste from construction and demolition has necessitated formulationof strategies that would see reduction of landfills in sustainablemanner. Deconstruction pertains dismantling and reuse of productswhile demolition and disposal are critical process duringdeconstruction. Sustainability pertains itself with use of strategiesand behavior that create sustainable solutions to the menace. Thispaper will extrapolate the obstacles that engineers face in their bidto create sustainability in deconstruction, demolition, and disposal.
Strategiesto create sustainability in use of renewable resources must bemulti-disciplinary to be effective. They must be robust in order tocombat a situation that is deep-rooted in traditional engineering.However, this does not imply that creating such designs would be aneasy task. The composition of landfill from demolitions presentsdiverse and evolving challenge to creating sustainability. Mostgovernments have been hesitant in enacting legislations regulatingmanagement of Control and Demolition Wastes. In countries wherelegislations are in place, they have been either weak or encumberedby lack of political good will. Countries lack Germany and Australiahave enacted regulations but enforceability remains a challenge (1).Secondly, different jurisdictions have applied differentcategorization of CDW. They have left it at the discretion of localauthorities, thus depriving the cause of unitary and concerted focus.The third challenge is restructuring of the waste to make itreusable. Lastly, lack of contingency plan jeopardizes safety ofworkers.
Tocreate sustainability, it is vital to formulate an easily applicabledeconstruction design. This would help reduce the impact of pollutionin an economical and efficient manner. The design should encompassall aspects of construction beginning from construction, demolition,and disposal. Economy plays into the process because escalating costmay make it untenable. Essentially, the aim is end a construction ina way that poses little or no danger while at the same timemaximizing the economic benefit of the entire process. If one were todeconstruct a building, the value of accrued materials would beobviously lower than the original material used in the construction.To maximize benefits and to be cost-effective, it is vital to have aseparation technique and process that do not escalate costneedlessly.
Materialselection is a very important aspect during deconstruction because itinfluences environmental sustainability. Use of nails and adhesives,for instance, reduce reusability of the material (2). Thedeconstructing process must unfold in such a way that preserves theusability of the original material. This helps in reducing the needfor other materials and conserves energy, further curbing pollution.The spiral effect is eliminating need for transportation, creatingemployment for local populace and saving energy. For engineers, it isprudent that recycling starts from the design stage of aninfrastructure. They should bear in mind that just like humanbeings, constructions have a life cycle. This would make demolitionand disposal economically easier, faster, and environmentallyfriendly.
Asustainable design is futuristic. It not only considers the health ofpeople living around certain infrastructures but also environmentalimpact and humanity. This has given rise to the interactive systemdesign that emphasizes on behavioral change and interactivetechnologies as means to enhance sustainability. The quality ofmaterial used for construction, if high, enhances utility of aninfrastructure and makes it usable by future generations. Thisenhances the humanity and social equality aspect of civilengineering. Furthermore, superior designs promote environmentalconservation and reduce health risk to people. Given that some peopleare unscrupulous, it is important to formulate standardizedstrategies that all architects and engineers must follow.Alternatively, governments and other regulatory bodies can institutebans on specific building materials and designs.
Theuse of bans are regulatory mechanism is not entirely new indeconstruction and disposal of landfills. Different jurisdictions,through authorities at different levels, have instituted bans onlandfill disposal. Such bans target disposal of materials detrimentalto public health ad environment. Example is the disposal of asphaltand certain metals. Bans are effective in reducing amounts and typesof disposed materials and compel individuals and companies to beinnovating in recycling and reuse. Moreover, it lessens the disposalburden that is often a responsibility of municipal authorities. Thisrelieves the authority to concentrate on other responsibilities thatimprove the lives of their people. It also saves resources that localauthorities can divert to other meaningful undertakings.
Inconclusion, deconstruction, disposal and reuse have not always beenan easy task. Traditional approaches and design have posed seriouschallenges to deconstruction efforts. This is because of the relianceon nails and adhesives, substance difficult to deconstruct and reusein future. Architects and engineers have in the past failed toconsider that constructions have a life cycle. This has exacerbateddeconstruction, further complicating the problem of landfilldisposal. However, with appropriate designs and constructionmaterials, deconstruction, disposal and reuse can be an easy task.Governments and regulatory authorities too need to tighten lawsgoverning constructions. There needs to be consideration for publichealth, environment, and humanity.
SustainabilityChallenge for Civil Engineering: End of Life-Deconstruction,Demolition, and Disposal. Research Centre, College of Engineering,Swansea University. 1-4.