Canadian Contractor

John Bleasby   

Naikoon shows the way to conscientious waste management on the job site

Canadian Contractor

Vancouver contractor says site presentation and recycling is more than just a ‘feel-good’

Not only does award-winning Vancouver contractor Naikoon Contracting pride itself on the energy efficiency of the homes they build, they’ve made a major commitment to being conscious of the environmental impact of the actual build itself.

“Over the last few years we were realizing that site presentation was very important. Recycling just fell under that as well. It’s very important to our whole business approach,” Brent Mills told Canadian Contractor.

Mills not only looks after tool inventory and site presentation for this busy contracting firm, he designed Naikoon’s recycling program as well.  His first step was to determine how much waste each site was generating by monitoring how each site performed in terms of reusing and recycling materials. He then sourced out places to take away waste materials, sources which would actually recycle them instead of just throwing them in a landfill.

Separation of site waste is simple using well-labelled collection compartments

Naikoon’s has summarized their approach to a green job site in three-steps
Model the Attitude
“Our supervisors are the champions of their project’s recycling efforts, and proud to show off a clean site. Having the right attitude with your entire crew and sub-trades about recycling definitely results in a morale boost, as your team starts to take ownership of the site: they’re proud of how tidy & organized it is, and keen to keep it that way.”


Keep it Simple
“A place for everything and everything in its place. Each waste category has a labelled spot, making it easy for anyone working on site to understand the system. Proper labelling and a dedicated spot for all waste also makes it easy for pick up. Also, be sure to sort waste throughout the job, not just at the end. It’ll take much less time overall, and contribute to that tidy site and morale boost we spoke to in step #1.”

Monitor and Improve
“If you have in-house pickup, it’s quite easy to compare different sites and review how things are going across the board. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t encourage collaboration between crews: if one site makes an improvement, encourage them to share it with other sites. You’ll foster company-wide improvements outside of just the waste management arena, as well.”

Naikoon has a dedicated vehicle, nicknamed ‘The Beast’, to handle deliveries to the recycling sites; a 2017 Ford F550 6.7litre, 8-cylinder diesel, with 2500kg/250 cu. ft. load capacity.

More than just a ‘feel-good’. It’s good business!
Recycling materials fits in perfectly with the type of award-winning work typically undertaken by Naikoon. The benefits, however, go beyond the satisfaction of simply doing the right thing for the environment. “Clients and neighbors really appreciate the effort of keeping the sites clean,” says Mills. “It’s all part of the lifestyle our clients are seeking in their new homes.”

Although Naikoon doesn’t go out of its way to advertise their recycling program at the site, their attitude is made clear to visitors. Mills has posted a sign at every site alongside the standard safety signage that says, Please respect our recycling efforts. Your assistance is appreciated.  “Right away, any subs coming on site know something is going on,” says Mills. “Then the site supervisor will explain the program, and show them the collection area.” The recycling stations themselves are located close to the street, primarily for easy access to Naikoon’s dedicated waste vehicle. Their visibility also lets passersby know that site waste is being recycled.

As for costs associated to the program, Mills admits there are some and that recycling is time consuming. “However, it’s very small when you think about the environment and the working conditions on site,” he says, “especially once the guys buy into a clean site — not only recycling but looking at materials again and re-using some instead of chucking them all out.”

Brent Mills monitors and graphs Naikoon’s recycling success each month so the entire team can see the results of their efforts

Start your program even before you build!
Don’t wait until the build starts. After all, recycling and being environmental responsible shouldn’t be restricted to construction. For example, ask suppliers to deliver materials without any unnecessary packaging. Get the demolition contractor on the same page right from the start. Call it ‘De-Construction’, not ‘Demolition’!  Many materials can be salvaged, refinished, or reused in creative ways as part of the new building. Alternatively, some can be given to organizations like Habitat for Humanity, or sent to sites for proper handling and possible re-purposing: masonry, windows and doors, cabinetry, metals, lumber of all sorts, cardboard, vegetation, plastic crates and packaging; the list goes on.

Monitor your results!
While a recycling program starts with the education of your work force, it ends in monitoring the results. Mills is diligent about calculating and documenting the recycled waste, and tracking the numbers so their workers understand the effectiveness of the program.

Mills is proud of Naikoon’s green approach. “It rubs off on everyone. Visually, it’s a huge reflection of how we want to go about our business. It helps generate more interest in the site and ultimately perhaps more business for us as well.”

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