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Warp It's Guide To Sustainable Building Clearances

by Becky

This article is all about how to maximise the opportunity that building decommissions, or decants, present when it comes to the reuse of surplus assets.


Why should you read this article?

If you want to maximise the value of the surplus assets that are generated as part of relocations, decants, decommissions or building rationalisation you will enjoy the next 5 mins!

We explain how you can find new homes for those assets internally and externally- way in advance of any clearance date. Doing this will 

  • Reduce the waste disposal financial liability
  • Reduce waste generated from a sustainability standpoint
  • Reduce the procurement budget by redistributing internally
  • Show civic leadership by doinating assets to charities and schools in a legal effective manner
  • Track all of these financial and environmental savings so that you can demonstrate the value that your department brings to this process.


What do we address?

In this article we talk about the best ways to maximise the reuse of surplus assets, as part of the building decommission process.

We offer advice on how to get the relocation or capital development team, who are usually responsible for building decommissions, involved with reuse.

We provide techniques about how to do all of this in a nice pain-free manner, and give you access to a communication download template for building clearances.


Here is the rough plan!

1) Get the inside track on the capital development building schedule. You may just need to talk a space planner who can then let you know who has that info.
2) Find a small clearance project that is happening soon. Prove the model. (Use this guide)
2) Catalog the items well in advance of the clearance date.
3) Comms launch here is a standard template for building clearances at the above link....but also consider these various activities which do not take that much time but have a big impact.
4) Once you have done that let us know and we can actively match assets to charities schools. 
5) Then develop a departmental case study and repeat the process on an incrementally larger project!
6) 2 policy changes to consider tweaking as this will drive ongoing reuse..


Getting things right to make reuse happen

Traditionally reuse of surplus assets is very much an afterthought in the building decommission process. There are so many different critical factors that need to be right to make the building decant or decommission process happen in an effective manner. There is always a critical timeline that the project manager has to manage. Dates change, buildings don't get sold, departments change their minds and strategy changes.


The reuse often concept comes too late

Often, when a staff body moves out the building, that is the first time that the reuse of surplus assets is thought of. By that time it is often too late because perhaps the staff move out on a Wednesday and the building is demolished the week after, or the building is sold the very next week. This means the time opportunity is really limited in getting those assets reused in an effective manner.

What often happens is those assets get left behind and then the clearance contractor gives a price to come and take those assets away and scrap them. That leaves the client in a really poor negotiation process, often paying over the odds to get assets scrapped.

Those assets still have a value to the organisation but because of the timeframe they're going to get scrapped and that's a huge missed opportunity.



In an ideal world…

On the building vacancy date those assets should already have found a home to move to another point of reuse within the estate.  

Our software supports this, so that those assets have new homes to go to within the organisation, or to third parties.

The benefit of that is that there is no waste liability left at the end of that building move.


Watchit working in action: Sunderland City Council decantec from 14 buildings into one. Case study right here.


The watch list

We ensure this happens by listing assets right at the start of the building clearance procedure so that we can get those assets matched to new homes by the time the clearance date comes.

Our system has what we call a ‘watch list'.

Staff  and external partners can get visibility on assets that are going to become available on the clearance date. 

They add them to their own watch list.

This means that on the vacancy date, those assets are transferred internally for reuse or alternatively, they can be transferred for reuse externally as well.



See more here.



Making a change

This is a case of moving from an old procedure to a new procedure. There is going to be less work for the internal logistics team and there is going to be less work for the contractor because currently those assets are getting taken out the building, scrapped and sent off where there is no value.

The new procedure is where internal logistics come in, move those assets from A to B internally, or a third party comes in and takes those assets away and reuses them anyway.

How do you implement this new procedure?

First of all you need to liaise with your capital development team or whoever is looking after the process, early on. You need to find somebody who is open to this new procedure in the relocations team or capital development team, and you need to start small.

Start with a small project, it might just be a room, it might just be one floor of a building, but start small and use our software to manage that process.

Then analyse how it went, look at what worked and what didn't work, and do a case study (template here) on that small project. With that case study you go to the rest of the capital development team, and you say, "Hey, look what we did, this what we saved, this is how it worked." Then, look for a project a little bit bigger, and repeat the process.

Then, grow the case studies in increments, to the point where you then embed this into your building decant procedure.

This way, one of the first things that is done when you decide that you are going to decant a building is, you spend some time/money to catalogue the assets and add them to the reuse system, and you start that procedure.

You are tracking the benefits in terms of cost, carbon and waste savings- and you can show at the end of the project that the new way saved time and money. (See here)

After each project...

After every project you should be demonstrating what the benefits are by doing a case study, and then after you've got through that process three, four or five times, you are starting to get it into actual corporate practice so that this becomes a normal procedure. You have moved from that old scrapping procedure to the new procedure where you are maximising the reuse of surplus assets.


More case study...




We've got a guide to communicating building clearances for you to download, to help publicise your building decant and the associated surplus asset opportunity to your internal staff. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your building clearances.

warp it building clearance template guide decomission reuse surplus assets


Here's another Warp It hack

Use our templates to save time and get ideas!

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Reuse is a simple solution for a big problem. I am here to help you understand the story and participate!


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