So we are asked this a lot. Can you do an effective job of cleaning a construction by being green? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”.
Your worksite says a lot about you and your construction company. General contractors are notorious for making a big mess and then just leaving it till the end for someone else to clean up. There is really no reason to be like other construction companies when it comes to being clean. As Steve Jobs and Apple most famously said “Think different”. It may take a bit more effort on your part, and you may have to get buy-in from your subcontractors and staff, but being environmentally friendly starts with a simple plan.
- The first step is to sort your waste. Be clear from the beginning as to what your policy is from the get-go. Remember that people do pay attention when you begin work on a construction site. When starting to build, the way your site is maintained leaves a lasting first impression. Education is key. Workers are used to a big dumpster for all materials. Have a separate bin for each kind of waste and then sort accordingly. Regularly empty out bins to avoid overflow. Drywall waste should have it’s own bin, as well as plastic packaging, wood products etc. and cardboard should all be separated.
- Inform the neighbors before you begin. This will go a long way toward building trust right out of the gate. Let them know what to expect.
- Use environmentally friendly products, or an environmentally sound cleaning service whenever possible. When cleaning commences, typically the cleaning company will do a “dry dusting” as drywall dust and sawdust will make a paste that is nearly impossible to get off if first moistened. This residue could last up to a year if not cleaned properly with the first pass ( think cement or clay) . This is a rookie mistake, and it can be a costly one. After the dry dusting is done, products with natural ingredients such as distilled water, vinegar and essential oils can be used to do final detailing.
- Put floor mats down and cover the carpet to protect it. This not only protects it from construction dust but it also helps to insure that any harmful paint or sealant odors will not be absorbed into the fabric of the carpet .
- Put recycle bins near where the work is being done so they are sure to get used. Make sure that you empty them on a regular basis.
Looking well organized, and put together as well as being environmentally responsible on your construction site, will set you apart from the other companies out there. This will translate into higher quality and value, and ultimately being able to command a more premium price for your work.