Material Waste in the UAE Construction Industry: Main Causes and Minimization Practices

Assem Al-Hajj, Karima Hamani

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113 Citations (Scopus)
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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is facing the challenge of achieving sustainability on construction sites. One of the main barriers lies in the increasing amounts of material waste generated from construction activities, dumped in landfills. This research examined previous studies about the sources of waste and the recommended measures to minimize it. The significance of these causes and frequency of implementation of adequate measures in the UAE construction sites were examined. Four construction projects were visited before a survey of contractors' perceptions was conducted of the problem, causes of material waste, waste minimization measures and their benefits. The research revealed that the main causes of material waste are lack of awareness, excessive off-cuts resulting from poor design, and rework and variations. The most frequent measures practiced to minimize material waste are: staff training, adequate storage and just-in-time delivery of materials. Waste measurement and waste segregation are areas that need more efficient implementation to achieve material waste minimization targets. Moreover, contractors' perceptions towards the benefits of material waste minimization revealed that this waste is primarily considered a financial problem and its minimization a cost-cutting activity. In contrast, the environmental dimension was neglected by surveyed companies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-235
Number of pages15
JournalArchitectural Engineering and Design management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2011


  • Construction
  • UAE
  • waste minimization
  • material waste
  • sustainability
  • waste management


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