Building: Level 34-41, Governor Macquarie Tower (GMT)
Building owners: Dexus, GPT Group and Lendlease
Address: 1 Farrer Place, Sydney
Project date: November 2014 – December 2014
Goal: Achieve an industry best practice defit. Dexus wanted to provide a new benchmark for reuse and recycling opportunities in future projects; to contribute to the growing body of knowledge around waste from strip-outs; and to encourage a rapid increase in the take-up of carefully managed defits in commercial spaces in order to reduce waste going to landfill.
Delivery: A collaborative approach was key to achieving the project’s goal. The parties involved were:
- Dexus (building co-owner and manager)
- Buildcorp (demolition manager)
- Demolition Plus (demolition contractor)
- Better Buildings Partnership (BBP)
- Sydney Industrial Ecology Network (founded by Edge Environment)
Initiatives: The defit of GMT was a trial project that entered uncharted territory. It set new guidelines for collaboration, planning, and the investigation of new methods to come up with an industry best practice approach to the utilisation of waste material.
An end of lease defit of eight floors in one of Sydney’s iconic office towers set a new standard for reducing waste and proved that at least 60 per cent of a commercial fitout can be reused or recycled.
When a business vacates an office space, as much as 80 per cent of the fitout might go to landfill. In other words, recycling rates in office strip-outs are often as low as 20 per cent.
Based on those figures, only around 5,000 tonnes of waste is recycled from the estimated annual churn of 400,000 square metres of leased office space in Sydney each year, with the remaining 20,000 tonnes going to the dump.The Better Buildings Partnership, formed in 2011 by leading commercial and public sector landlords including Dexus, aims to reduce this gross waste by encouraging greater reuse and recycling rates. It does this with better economic outcomes for owners in mind, as well as for sustainability purposes.
One of its exemplary projects to date, conducted in conjunction with the Sydney Industrial Ecology Network, has been a structured (well-managed) defit of eight floors in Sydney’s Governor Macquarie Tower (GMT).
The project tripled the industry standard for reuse and recycling to 61 per cent. Along the way there were lessons learned, and also challenges identified, which must be overcome in future projects.