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3.6.3 Ice Arena Wales

Enabling Zero Waste (EZW) is a Constructing Excellence in Wales (CEW) initiative providing practical, positive and active intervention to establish if, and how, the construction industry can achieve the overarching Wales waste strategy target of zero waste to landfill for waste in Wales, together with identifying associated barriers by working with live construction sites. One of the EZW projects is the construction of the Ice Arena Wales.

The Ice Arena Wales is a £17.5million development of a two pad ice rink situated in Cardiff Bay on a remediated former municipal landfill site, built by Kier Construction Ltd (Kier) with the design from Scott Brownrigg. The Ice Arena is home to the Cardiff Devils Ice Hockey team with facilities capable of holding European and Olympic standard events. The development is a focus for ice sports in the UK and offers seating for approximately 3000 spectators along with a café and private event facilities. The building is a commercial template composite metal and backlit polycarbonite cladding on a trapezoidal steel frame51.

For the duration of the project, the Kier project team were provided by the CEW EZW team with:

  1. Technical waste management support and guidance for the duration of the site construction to assist with the pursuit of zero waste to landfill.
  2. A specific waste management resource allocated to provide hands on support with site waste management and to deliver potential zero waste options/solutions for site waste issues.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) was undertaken as part of the project to identify blockwork wall setting out and look at possible reductions in waste mainly through hypothetical design or material changes.

The project included the investigation of the following factors:

  • Design for Deconstruction (End of Life) - to investigate what materials could currently be reused and recycled at the end of the building’s life, providing a method to document the recyclable value of materials through BIM and to define a method that outlines the most opportunistic way to deconstruct the building to maximise savings.
  • Blockwork standardised dimensions - an investigation utilising BIM on the IAW project post design, to identify possibilities of reducing waste from repetitive items, standardisation and define processes for reuse on future projects.
  • Reducing pile waste – an investigation utilising BIM post design and construction to assess and compare the structural pile foundation designs to see if there were any possibilities of reducing waste.

 The main challenges around site waste were:

  • Lack of commitment to segregation
  • Changes in key site personnel
  • Large numbers of waste management companies used throughout the project
  • Material specification – difficulties when disposing of composite material
  • Infrastructure/ Technology
  • Inconsistencies from waste management services


  • Changes in staff can lead to a reduced focus on waste.
  • In addition, as a result of the staff changes it was difficult to keep the Enabling Zero Waste message embedded within site practices.
  • An understanding that all waste material that leaves site, whether it is carried out by the supply chain should be recorded onto SMARTWaste.
  • Site specific recycling/recovery rates from individual waste management companies should be reported rather than relying on generic rates.

Time: As is common in the rest of the construction sector, there was a client expectation to complete the project within the agreed timescale. This inevitably results in commercial pressures on principal contractors, and their supply chain and as a result can then impact on environmental and waste performance.

Design: The BIM exercise crosschecking the 2d information with the model identified that the concrete staircase design did not fit with the steel frame terraced seating – some stairs were cutting through the seating areas which is not allowed as it creates a trip hazard. This was amended in the design stage and the staircase redesigned prior to being cast. Savings have been calculated for time and material costs for rework had the incorrect staircase arrived on site, these are in the region of £30,000 - £40,000, half the original cost of the staircase. This was a partial BIM exercise, not all elements were identified through a BIM model.

Overcoming the challenges: Derwyn Pugh, Contracts Manager, Kier: ”From a personal point of view and from the team I worked with initially at the Ice Arena it was a privilege and a valuable learning experience to be involved with CEW looking at EZW. We went into the process with open minds and were more than happy to take advice from the experienced waste advisors and implemented most if not all the suggestions that were made. A whole life strategy is required to maximise the benefits of a coordinated approach to enable the minimisation of waste generated on site. Early involvement and continuous education starting with the client, the design team through procurement up to and including the operatives at the coalface is necessary if we are to meet the ambition of Enabling Zero Waste.”

Successes experienced during the project include:

  • Achieving 99% reuse, recycling or other material recovery, the construction phase of this project has met the 2015-16 and 2019-20 targets set in the Wales waste strategy, Towards Zero Waste (TZW. This helps to provide evidence that TZW presents achievable reuse, recyclingor other material recovery targets for the industry.
  • Overall the project achieved a 99% diversion of waste from landfill as Olivers Skip Hire reported that 9% of residual waste 40.62m3 produced from the project was sent to landfill at Bryn Pica, Aberdare. The Welsh Government aims for 100% diversion of construction and demolition waste from landfill by 2050.
  • Engagement with the supply chain and the implementation of a take back scheme working with Euroclad.
  • Waste prevention measures.
  • Four segregated waste streams including inert stones and tiles, non hazardous wood, metal and plasterboard.
  • Concrete pile offcuts and inert materials retained and crushed to be recycled on site.
  • 93 tonnes of wood waste were sent to Reseiclo, a community wood recycling scheme. Community Wood Recycling shows high records of both wood reuse and recycling.

Cost savings achieved on the project equate to approximately £40,000 through the segregation of waste; designing out waste and through the use of recycling schemes. Key lessons learnt include:

  • The importance of segregation of waste at source has been made clear, along with focussing on and discussing waste at all stages of a project, with all involved on site. Engagement with all members of the site team is important when attempting to maintain best practice and segregation during periods of pressure on site, especially during the final stages before handover.
  • It is important to identify the end destinations of all waste types through early discussions with the chosen waste management company, prior to engaging into a contract.

Packaging waste was a significant challenge on this project, as it often is. Suppliers can play a key role in reducing packaging as long as contractors communicate the problems they face with disposal with their suppliers. Often packaging takeback schemes can be organised with manufacturers or suppliers, but this requires foresight and planning so agreements are in place before the waste becomes an issue.

Client recommendations:

  • Assess infrastructure currently available for dealing with wastes that will be affected by the upcoming landfill and incineration material bans.
  • Consideration needs to be undertaken to assess specific products and disposal options, as some products used on the project were found to be problematic when disposing of.
  • Ongoing communication with design consultants and contractors is crucial.
  • Pressure applied to complete a project can cause a fall in adherence to site practices, such as waste segregation.

Designer recommendations:

  • Consideration to the standard sizes of materials during design.
  • Engagement with contractors to improve material understanding.
  • Awareness of how intricate design affects waste.
  • The importance of designing for deconstruction.
  • The importance of using Building Information Modelling to identify and prevent clashes from occurring and consequently saving time, resources and money.

Contractor recommendations:

  • The importance of segregating waste at source. Focusing and discussing waste strategies throughout all stages of the project to all members involved on site.
  • Ensure all skips are checked daily and inform site operatives to maintain waste segregation in the correct skips. This can be achieved through clear skip signage, maintaining a clean site and where possible fencing off all segregated skips.
  • It should be a priority for contractors to have a member of the site team who takes ownership for waste management. In addition, it is crucial that the person responsible for producing waste forecasts makes regular contact with the site team to ensure that forecasts are achievable, reasonable and based on previous performance.
  • The importance of identifying end destinations of all waste types through early discussions with the chosen waste management company, prior to engaging into a contract.