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Reducing Waste in the Construction Industry

Reducing Waste in the Construction Industry

While reexamining our civil infrastructure can ease urban water management and damage from environmental factors, looking closely at human and business processes can reduce industrial waste.

The construction and demolition sector is the largest contributor of waste globally. Dr. Marcelo Azambuja, assistant professor of construction, specializes in construction management and supply chain management. Working with industry partners, Azambuja looks at how process models, decision support systems and lean construction practices can create “greener,” lower waste processes.

In recent years, Azambuja has worked with the construction industry to develop and assess managerial approaches that reduce waste and create more streamlined practices. His current study, initially supported through SIUE’s Seed Grants for Transitional and Exploratory Projects (STEP), focuses on the development of an affordable cloud-computing tool to enable real-time information exchange about the construction project and reduce waste.

Azambuja’s team includes faculty members in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and undergraduate students in the Department of Computer Science. The team is currently working with a mechanical contractor to implement the new tool, and to track and manage the installation of parts as they make their way down the supply chain.

In further work, Azambuja is investigating the design of “reverse logistics networks,” seeking to reduce waste by developing complex process models at different stages of the construction lifecycle. These processes also aim to optimize economically- and environmentally sound  solutions for the recovery and

re-use of raw materials. In this he is working with colleagues from Heriot- Watt University in Scotland and the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.
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