GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES: China's construction sector
Although the annual average increase in China’s construction output will ease to 5% in 2015-2019, down from close to 9% in 2010-2014, China will continue to have the largest construction industry in the world. According to Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC), the Chinese construction industry is set to rise in value from US$2.0 trillion in 2014 to US$2.5 trillion in 2019, measured at constant 2010 US dollar exchange rates.
The pace of expansion in China’s construction activity has been weakening, in part owing to policy efforts to rebalance the economy, shifting away from a reliance on public investment - particularly in large-scale infrastructure developments - towards household consumption. The weakening trend also reflects the slowdown in the real estate market, given the huge unsold housing stock, and the high levels of local government debt.
Although still trying to rebalance the economy in the long term, the Chinese government is keen to avoid any major slowdown, and will therefore push ahead with large-scale spending plans in the next few years. According to Sina Zavertha, Economist at Timetric’s CIC: “The government is accelerating its spending on construction industry in a bid to prop up economic growth. In its 2015 budget, the Chinese government increased its expenditure for the infrastructure development by 4.4%. Moreover, 300 transport infrastructure and energy and utilities projects are in the pipeline that will support the overall construction industry.”
Residential construction is the largest market in the Chinese construction industry and will continue to be supported by the country’s urbanization, low unemployment rate and positive developments in regional economic conditions. The growth in the infrastructure market will be backed by the government’s plans to improve the current transport infrastructure, along with the ‘One Belt-One Road’ initiative to improve regional connectivity. Energy and utilities market will expand at the fastest rate in the coming five years, driven by the rising demand for electricity as a result of the industrialization, urbanization and an increasing population.
Environment Agency clamps down on plastic films and wraps
Businesses in the waste and construction industries must ensure they deal with waste plastic properly to stop illegal exports, the Environment Agency (EA) has warned.
The warning comes as the Agency is increasingly aware of plastic film and wrap from the construction and demolition sector being illegally exported.
Exports are frequently being classified as ‘green list’ waste of low risk to the environment, but are often contaminated with materials such as mud, sand, bricks and wood, posing a risk to the environment and human health overseas, and undermining legitimate businesses in the UK seeking to recover such waste properly.
During the last year, the EA has intercepted shipments to prevent the illegal export of this material on numerous occasions. The Agency inspected 1,889 containers at English ports and stopped 463 being illegally exported. This, combined with regulatory intervention upstream at sites, prevented the illegal export of nearly 23,000 tonnes of waste.
Those convicted of illegally exporting waste face an unlimited fine and a two-year jail sentence. But construction firms could also face enforcement action if contaminated construction and demolition waste plastic is illegally exported.
Malcolm Lythgo, Head of Waste Regulation at the Environment Agency, said it is seeing a marked increase in the number of highly contaminated plastic film and wrap shipments from the construction and demolition industry being stopped by officers.
“I would strongly urge businesses to observe their legal responsibility to ensure waste is processed appropriately, so we can protect human health and the environment now and for future generations. It’s not enough just to give your waste to someone else - even a registered carrier. You need to know where your waste will ultimately end up to know it’s been handled properly. We want to work constructively with those in the construction and waste sectors so they can operate compliantly, but we will not hesitate to clamp down on those who show disregard for the environment and the law.”
There are a number of simple, practical steps that businesses can take to ensure that C&D site waste is handled legally.
Construction businesses should check what’s in their waste
- Different waste types need different treatments and so must be correctly categorised to ensure it goes to a site that is authorised to handle it safely. Businesses can also check if their waste is hazardous as different rules might apply.
- If you are removing the waste yourself, you must be a registered waste carrier- registration can be carried out here. When a waste collector is transporting your site waste, you must check they have a waste carrier’s licence from the EA.
- You must also check that the end destination site any waste is taken to is permitted to accept it and has the right authorisations in place. Keep a record of any waste that leaves your site by completing a waste transfer note or a consignment note for hazardous waste which record what and how much waste you have handed over and where it is going.
Waste management industry must adhere to export controls
- Contaminated C&D waste plastic - including low-density polyethylene (LDPE) wrap and film - must be exported with prior consent from the EA as well as competent authorities in transit and destination countries.
- Those involved in the export of such waste must ensure that it meets the requirements set under the relevant export controls, such as being almost free-from contamination; the destination sites are appropriately licensed to receive and treat the waste; and waste is correctly managed once received.
The EA will continue to actively target those who export contaminated C&D plastic waste illegally, including any accredited packaging exporters who issue Packaging Waste Export Recovery Notes (PERNs) against such material in breach of their Conditions of Accreditation.
Businesses involved in the shipment of waste are required to take all necessary steps to ensure the waste they ship is managed in an environmentally sound manner throughout its shipment and during its recycling.
Anyone with information regarding the illegal export of waste including C&D waste plastics can contact the EA’s Illegal Waste Exports team at: [email protected] or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website