Client story

Over 98% waste recycling on Defence demolition

Recycled waste is to be used as road base materials and metal products as we set a new standard for sustainability on a construction site.


PDS Defence | Project and Development Services


February-March 2024


HMAS Harman, ACT


Three-storey brick building Total area 1,752m2 (approx.)

Under the Australian Defence Estate Works Program, a three-storey brick building at HMAS Harman in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) was due for demolition in preparation for a site redevelopment.

JLL was managing the demolition in our capacity as a project and development services provider within the Estate Works Program. With our Defence client, we agreed that this project would be driven with a sustainability mindset. It would be a best practice demonstration of building waste recycling.

We sought to achieve this within our scope of works which comprised removing and disposing of all equipment, furniture and fittings within the building; the complete dismantling and removal of the building structure and substructure, including footings and all foundations, the disconnection of services to the building, soil fill and compaction, and site remediation.

Balancing efficiency and sustainability in a demolition

We put out a tender for a contractor to undertake the demolition, with the requirement that a minimum of 80% of the construction waste would be recycled, aligning with Green Star ‘Responsible Construction Practices’. The construction waste would need to be transferred from the demolition site to the nearby facility, ACT Recycling.

The contractor also had to be comfortable with carrying out the demolition and sorting waste within a short timeframe. This would mean more machinery on site and truck movements per day, plus tighter supervision.

Clear goals coupled with JLL tech, a formula for success

We appointed the local construction company Serendia (AUST) Pty Ltd to carry out the demolition. Its team worked alongside us to collect weekly data and use a JLL construction waste tracker to submit monthly reports. The reports provided a breakdown of the waste diverted from landfill, capturing the volume of each material sent to ACT Recycling.

Fortnightly project meetings to discuss progress, including the recycling targets achieved, were crucial for keeping everyone informed and involved along the way. We also hosted the Directorate of Estate Works Program Office (DEWPO) and Directorate of Living Services (DLS) for a site tour to explain the processes that would achieve circularity of the construction waste.

Subsequently we toured ACT Recycling to observe how it receives and processes waste to turn concrete and brick rubble into road-base aggregate, or crushed concrete, which can be used in landscaping, and crusher dust, which is used as a compact fill in paving.

We had used such materials, and were proud to be involved in another circular project.

Exceeding targets to help Defence set a new standard

Our contractor was able to exceed our waste recycling target with a total of 98.16% of the demolished building diverted from landfill. This included more than 2,406 tonnes of brick and 947 tonnes of concrete, alongside other materials all captured through the JLL construction waste tracker. The brick and concrete was crushed for re-use as road base material, while the metal was recycled into new metal products.

A strong commitment to recycling is an increasing expectation in construction, and so we were proud to set a new standard for diverting waste and supporting Defence’s sustainability aspirations.