Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Site Waste Management Plans (SWMP)

Site Waste Management Plans (SWMP)

If you are in Northern Ireland or Scotland, you do not need to have a site waste management plan (SWMP) for your construction project. However, following the procedure could help you to reduce the amount of waste you produce and will help you manage your waste more effectively. SWMPs are being promoted as an example of best practice in the construction industry.

SWMP guide and waste data form

We have produced a simple guide to help you create a SWMP. You can also record your waste with our waste data form.

Site waste management plan - a simple guide (Adobe PDF, 1.1MB)

Site waste management plan - waste data form (MS Word, 170KB)

Each project should have one SWMP.

A SWMP is a live document. It must be updated through the course of the project.

Because it is produced at the very beginning of a project, the designer can consider ways that waste can be reduced and site-gained materials can be reused or recycled as part of the project. Identifying waste materials at an early stage that can not be reused on that project will make it easier to find other alternative uses for them.

Who's responsible for the SWMP?

If you are the client, you are responsible for:

  • producing the initial SWMP before construction work begins
  • appointing the principal contractor
  • passing the SWMP to the principal contractor.

If you are the principal contractor, you are responsible for:

  • obtaining relevant information from sub-contractors
  • keeping the SWMP on site during the project
  • ensuring that other contractors know where the SWMP is kept
  • allowing other contractors and the client access to the SWMP during the project
  • keeping the SWMP for two years after the completion of the project.

You should update the plan regularly to ensure that it accurately reflects the progress of the project.

In Northern Ireland what should the SWMP contain?

The level of detail that your SWMP should contain depends on the estimated build cost, excluding VAT.

For projects estimated at between £300,000 and £500,000 (excluding VAT) the SWMP should contain details of the:

  • types of waste removed from the site
  • identity of the person who removed the waste
  • site that the waste is taken to.

For projects estimated at over £500,000 (excluding VAT) the SWMP should contain details of the:

  • types of waste removed from the site
  • identity of the person who removed the waste and their waste carrier registration number
  • a description of the waste
  • site that the waste was taken to
  • environmental permit or exemption held by the site where the material is taken.

At the end of the project, you must review the plan and record the reasons for any differences between the plan and what actually happened.

You must still comply with the duty of care for waste. Because you will need to record all waste movements in one document, having a SWMP will help you to ensure you comply with the duty of care.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

In Northern Ireland when not to consider a SWMP

If you are working on a construction project within a site that has a Part A environmental permit you do not need to consider a SWMP.

If you are working on a construction project within a nuclear licensed site you do not need a separate SWMP if you have an Integrated Waste Strategy (IWS) that meets all of the SWMP requirements.

Good practice

If you are working as a sub-contractor, check your contract for requirements on:

  • purchasing strategies or methods of work aimed at reducing waste
  • the on-site reuse or recycling of site-gained materials
  • the disposal of waste
  • what information you need to report to the principal contractor or client, and when.

Watch our short videos:

Good practice on a construction site

How to manage waste on a construction site

Further information

Wrap: Site waste management plans

Zero Waste Scotland: Preventing waste in construction

More Storage handling and transport of waste topics

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