Client story

Using recycled concrete in Defence construction

We installed trenches using environmentally friendly concrete


PDS Defence |
Project and development services


September 2022


RAAF Base Richmond


The Australian Defence Estate Works Program invests in special projects to support and improve the capabilities of staff across military bases and buildings.

A 2022 initiative involved the installation of workstations at an air force base in Richmond, which would maximise floorspace and eliminate trip hazards by using in-ground cables.

To carry this out, trenches needed to be dug up and refilled with concrete before installing a floor finish above.

JLL was chosen to carry out the project. Having undertaken $550 million worth of projects across the Defence estate nationally over the previous year, our team had already built connections with stakeholders, and was well equipped to deliver the military’s refurbishments.


Before commencing works, we set up discussions with numerous universities to see if there was an option to use more environmentally friendly material than off-the-shelf concrete to build the trenches.

Off the back of research from Western Sydney University, we trialled the installation of 100% recycled concrete aggregate (as opposed to virgin aggregate).

The trial proved that the recycled concrete could perform the same way as typical virgin aggregate. However, prior to moving ahead, we shared test and lab results with our client to ensure we had their trust and confidence to proceed.

In collaboration with the university, we organised recycled aggregate, sand, cement, and other aggregates required for the concrete mixture, we treated it, and delivered it to site.


Not only did the use of the recycled concrete result in a 10% cost saving compared to traditional concrete, but our collaboration with Western Sydney University has also led to expanded use of the recycled concrete across commercial and residential construction projects in NSW.

We are delighted to have been able to challenge the perception that recycled and environmentally friendly products are inferior to typical construction materials.

The ACT Defence team is now also collaborating with the university to scale the manufacture and use of the recycled concrete across other Defence projects.