SBEnrc News | August 2019

Construction and Demolition Waste – A Big Issue!

Managing construction and demolition (C&D) waste is a national problem. It accounts for around 40% of the total waste generated in Australia. Despite this massive impact, C&D waste is a largely under-researched problem, with little funding provided towards finding a solution. It is further complicated by discrepancies and inconsistencies in regulations across each jurisdiction. 

SBEnrc Project Leader Associate Professor Tayyab Maqsood is leading the charge to develop a holistic national approach to managing C&D waste. Through our project 1.65 A National Economic Approach to Improved Management of Construction and Demolition Waste, the national team is exploring opportunities to create a national marketplace for trading waste. The project also seeks to develop an integrated supply chain model using circular economy principles to streamline waste management processes, while effectively reducing, reusing and recycling C&D waste. The project will also pursue avenues for national harmonisation of economic factors, drivers and barriers that dominate C&D waste management in a market-driven economy.

Issues such as landfill levies, incentives for recycling, and broken supply chains will all be explored as part of the project. An important outcome of this SBEnrc project will be recommendations to guide the industry towards a consistent and holistic approach to a national solution to this pressing issue.

Associate Professor Tayyab Maqsood is Associate Dean – Project Management at RMIT University’s School of Property, Construction and Project Management.

Welcome Gayle Sloan as new Project Steering Group Chair

Leadership of the PSG has recently been taken on by Gayle Sloan, CEO of the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) after the sad loss of our previous project steering group leader, Murray Wilcox AO QC late last year.

Gayle brings to the project a wealth of knowledge in the waste management and resource recovery industry.

She is an arts and law graduate from the University of Adelaide and spent a number of years working for the NSW Attorney General’s Department before moving into the Attorney General’s Ministerial Office in 1998. Following her time in state government, Gayle worked as a Director in various NSW local councils, primarily managing service delivery and assets. In her local council roles, she developed and delivered multiple waste management and recycling contracts, as well as managing environment and regulatory departments. Gayle worked for three years with Visy, where she gained first-hand experience of the challenges of effectively managing recycling and remanufacturing challenges in Australia and subsequently joined WMRR as Chief Executive Officer in November 2016.

We look forward to working closely with Gayle and Australian industry in realising practical benefits of this research.

2019 National Industry Research Workshops

The SBEnrc 2019 National Industry Research Workshops were conducted around Australia during July. They were attended by a range of industry and government professionals, who were invited to present research ideas directly relevant to their identified business challenges. Researchers were in attendance to listen, understand industry needs, and assist with suggesting research initiatives that can be applied in the real world. Attendance across the country was weighted 70% government and industry professionals to 30% researchers.

Five broad themes emerged from the workshops:

  1. Housing — as infrastructure and human service
  2. BIM/Digital Engineering across asset lifecycle
  3. Disruption to transport/land use
  4. Construction and demolition waste
  5. Sustainable procurement

Following SBEnrc Governing Board considerations later this month, workshop outcomes and selected project themes for 2020 will be posted on the website.

SBEnrc’s CEO announced as CIB Global President

The tri-annual assembly of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) was held on 19 June in Hong Kong, China, in conjunction with the 2019 CIB World Building Congress. During the assembly, the Board was elected for the 2019-2022 period. 

We are thrilled to advise that our CEO, Dr Keith Hampson was announced as CIB President for the next three years.

In accepting the role, Keith acknowledged his predecessor Richard Tremblay, from Canada’s National Research Council. Under Richard’s leadership, the CIB undertook a significant realignment of its operations, relocated its new operational headquarters to Ottawa, Canada and confirmed the selection of CIB’s new CEO, Dr Kevin Goheen. Keith also paid tribute to Dr Wim Bakens’ 25 years of service as Secretary General of CIB and Senior Program Advisor.

Keith has already set three key goals to achieve during his presidency:

  • Establish a strong and effective CIB member service team
  • Reinforce that quality, globally collaborative research is at the heart of the CIB
  • Expand the CIB network through membership growth

The next World Building Congress will be hosted in Australia in 2022 by the School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT University — one of the core partners of Australia’s Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc).

Where are they now?

Follow the journeys of past students and early career researchers who have worked with SBEnrc over the years. This newsletter, we feature the achievements of Vaughn Sheahan, who is now Head of Organisational Development and Analytics at BHP.

Vaughn Sheahan’s work with SBEnrc was primarily with the centre’s predecessor, the CRC for Construction Innovation (CRCci). He came to the centre after completing an Honours degree in Psychology and took up a role as research assistant on a project that explored construction site safety culture. The research was focussed on developing a competency framework for construction industry leaders. The goal was to build cultural and technical competencies to establish a consistent approach to safety across the whole industry. Vaughn worked on the project for two years, seeing it from design through to fruition and launching the framework into industry.

Vaughn has gone on to leverage his early career research within the construction and mining sectors, working in a range of organisational development roles.

“I’ve done a lot of work in the culture development space”, Vaughn says, “which is really what the CRCci work was about — developing a consistent, industry-wide safety culture. To this day, I still use the research and empirical practice skills that I gained in doing that work. It has helped me to bridge the divide between the roles of academic theorist and practitioner.”

Vaughn believes that the collaborative nature of the partnership between the CRCci and industry provided him invaluable experience working in industry and making the research approach and findings real and practical. He feels that bringing this research mindset into the commercial world has allowed him to have a point of difference and has been instrumental to his career success. His current work benefits from these skills to inform decisions around investment in workforce development and capability building.


CIB W062 Symposium 2019, Water Supply and Drainage for Buildings, 8-10 September 2019, Melbourne, Australia. 

World Engineers Convention Australia 2019, 20 – 22 November 2019. Known as the ‘Olympics of Engineering’ this international convention is held every four years and will attract global participants from over 70 countries. The convention program will offer three full days of content featuring six themes, with each aligning to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Hosted by Engineers Australia and World Federation of Engineering Organizations.

Beyond 2020, World Sustainable Built Environment ConferenceSustainable Cities and Communities, 9-11 June 2020, Gothenburg, Sweden.

From the CEO

The last quarter has been a busy and productive time. The new suite of projects that we kicked off in October 2018 are now really hitting their straps. This next period is about refreshing our research agenda based on the outcomes from the National Industry Research Workshops. As a Centre, we pride ourselves on continuously reviewing our viewpoint to ensure our research aligns with the most current and pressing issues in our industry. We prioritise building vital links with national and international leaders to help better shape our approaches to the needs of the Australian built environment industry. Our regular series of industry workshops coupled with reinforcing our global connections and partnerships is evidence of our commitment to making a difference. Our consideration of international themes in an Australian context delivers significant value for our national industry.

Best regards, Keith

Dr Keith Hampson, Chief Executive Officer

Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre

Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia

Our challenge is to continue growing the value and impact of our applied research more deeply and broadly across Australia.  The Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc) is acknowledged as an excellent example of a CRC that has graduated into an independent organisation delivering unique industry, government and research collaboration.
























































































































KeithHampsonImageDr Keith Hampson


John V. McCarthy AO
Chair, SBEnrc