Architects and engineers will be able to estimate the waste impact of design decisions under a new platform being developed at the University of South Australia (UniSA).

UniSA PDH candidate Gabriela Dias Guimaraes has secured a $3,000 grant toward a proposal to develop a computer framework which will calculate the end use waste component of all facets of the construction process.

Using her platform, architects and engineers will be able to estimate the end-waste impact of each  design decision they make and adjust their design accordingly.

This includes decisions from the specific materials used in a window frame to the size of a drywall.

Gabriela says the importance of designing out waste should not be underestimated.

As much as one third of overall construction and demolition waste is caused by unexpected design changes or poor decisions made during the project phase, she says.

“We all know there are strategies for waste recovery, including reusing and recycling, but these options involve transportation, energy, water and site space,” Gabriela says.

“So instead of dealing with the waste generated in construction, why not try to prevent it in the first place?”

“It’s time we made all players in the building industry more accountable instead of passing on responsibility to the next stakeholder.”

Gabriela Dias Guimaraes

Around 20 million tonnes of construction materials go into landfill each year, accounting for almost half of Australia’s overall waste.

Gabriela has already developed a conceptual framework that indicates waste sources and factors and identifies materials which are less environmentally friendly.